University of Groningen

University of Groningen (UG)
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG)
Latin: Academia Groningana
Motto Verbum domini lucerna pedibus nostris
Motto in English
"The word of the Lord is a light for our feet"
Type Public research university
Established 1614 (1614)
President Prof. Sibrand Poppema[1]
Rector Prof. Elmer Sterken[2]
Academic staff
5,608 employees
Students 30,041
Postgraduates 1,758
Location Groningen, Netherlands
53°13′9″N 6°33′46″E / 53.21917°N 6.56278°E / 53.21917; 6.56278Coordinates: 53°13′9″N 6°33′46″E / 53.21917°N 6.56278°E / 53.21917; 6.56278
Colors Traffic red     

The University of Groningen (abbreviated as UG;[3] Dutch: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, abbreviated as RUG) is a public research university in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. The university was founded in 1614 and is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands as well as one of its largest. Since its inception more than 200,000 students have graduated. It is a member of the distinguished international Coimbra Group of European universities.

In April 2013, according to the results of the International Student Barometer, the University of Groningen, for the third time in a row, has been voted the best university of the Netherlands.[4] In 2014 the university celebrated its 400th anniversary.[5]

The University of Groningen has ten faculties, nine graduate schools, 27 research centres and institutes, and more than 175 degree programmes.


Ubbo Emmius was the first rector magnificus of the University of Groningen

The founding of the University in 1614 – at that time still a college of higher education – was an initiative taken by the Regional Assembly of the city of Groningen and the Ommelanden, or surrounding region. There were four faculties – Theology, Law, Medicine, and Philosophy.

The coat of arms of the university was confirmed by the States of the City and County of Groningen in 1615. It consists of the provincial arms, charged with an open book inscribed with the abbreviated words VER/BVM/DNI LV/CER/NA, short for Verbum Domini Lucerna Pedibus Nostris. The shield is surmounted by a golden crown of five leaves and four pearls.

The first 75 years of its existence were very fruitful for the University with about 100 students enrolling every year. Almost half of the students and lecturers came from outside the Netherlands – the first Rector Magnificus, Ubbo Emmius, came from East Frisia in modern-day Germany, for instance – but at the same time there was already a close relationship between the University and the city and the surrounding region.

The development of the University came to a standstill at the end of the seventeenth and during the eighteenth century because of theological differences of opinion, a difficult relationship with the Regional Assembly and political problems that included the siege of the city by ‘Bommen Berend’ in 1672. On average two to three hundred students were registered with the University at any one time during this period. Petrus Camper, though, was a shining academic example during the second half of the eighteenth century and was famous far beyond the city limits as an anatomist, a fighter against rinderpest and the founder of the first outpatient’s clinic for surgical medicine.

The 19th-century main building in 1858

Opportunities and threats followed on each other’s heels during the nineteenth century. In 1815, at the same time as Leiden and Utrecht, the University gained recognition as a national college of higher education, but this was followed by discussions about closure. The situation improved markedly when a new main university building, the Academiegebouw, was constructed in 1850, a building that was largely financed by the people of Groningen. This made the fire that completely destroyed this building in 1906 even more poignant.

In the meantime, the Higher Education Act of 1876 had radically improved the position of the University, which was renamed the "Rijksuniversiteit Groningen" (RUG). Teaching now took place in Dutch as well as in Latin and the University was given a research as well as an educational duty. This laid the foundations for the present research university.

The 20th-century main building in 2009

The University of Groningen developed apace during the first decades of the twentieth century. The number of faculties and courses grew steadily while the number of students showed an explosive growth. When the University celebrated its first 300 years in 1914 there were 611 registered students; this had already grown to 1000 by 1924. After a drop back during the Depression, and in particular during the Second World War, the number of students grew rapidly from 1945 to reach 20,000 in 1994. At the present time there are about 30,000 students registered at the University of Groningen with the number of foreign students again growing steadily, and following the tradition set by the first Rector Magnificus, the number of German students and researchers has grown strongly in recent years.

In 2016 the Dutch chemist Ben Feringa, who worked most of his career at the university, won the Nobel prize for his work on molecular motors.

Facts and figures

As of September 2016
University rankings
ARWU[6] 75
Times[7] 74
QS[8] 90
Times[9] 27
QS[10] 35

Key facts and figures about the University of Groningen are:[11]

Students numbers

The University of Groningen is in the top 3 of European research universities in the fields of: Ecology, Material Sciences, Chemistry and Astronomy. Other strong research groups are in: Nanoscience, Physics, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Medical Sciences, Neurosciences, Sociology, Philosophy, Theology, Archaeology and Arts. Every year more than 5,000 research publications go to print and an average of 260 PhD students are awarded their PhD degree.

The university's Center for Information Technology (CIT) houses an IBM Blue Gene/L supercomputer and data center of Target used by the LOFAR project as well as a Virtual Reality and 3D-visualisation center.[21]


Duisenberg building (Faculty of Economics and Business
Harmonie building of the Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Medical Sciences
Linnaeusborg (Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences)
Bernoulliborg (Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences)
Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Donald Smits Centre of Information Technology (CIT)
Kapteynborg (Astronomy)
KVI-CART Research institute

The University of Groningen is organized in ten faculties that offer programmes and courses in the fields of humanities, social sciences, law, economics and business, spatial sciences, life sciences, and natural sciences and technology. Each faculty (cf., College in the USA or School in Europe) is a formal grouping of academic degree programmes, schools and institutes, discipline areas, research centres, and/or any combination of these drawn together for educational purposes. Each faculty offers Bachelor's, Master's, PhD, and Exchange programmes, while some also offer short certificate courses.

Degree programmes


Research schools, centres and institutes

Humanities and Social Sciences


Economics & Business

Life Sciences

Science & Technology

Graduate schools

The University of Groningen’s Graduate Schools are organized somewhat different from its international counterparts.[41] The main difference is that the Graduate Schools do not contain all Master’s programmes; Graduate Schools manage and facilitate the two-year Master's programmes: top master's degree programmes and Research master's degree programmes.

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of the University of Groningen include:[51]

See also


  1. Carlien Bootsma, "Opnieuw werknemer RUG op non-actief" (in Dutch), Dagblad van het Noorden, 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  2. Patriecia Koltho, "RUG wil meer diversiteit onder hoogleraren" (in Dutch), Dagblad van het Noorden, 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  3. "Rug wordt 'joedzjie'". Universiteitskrant. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  4. International Student Barometer: University of Groningen nr. 1 in the Netherlands! (Press release)
  5. University of Groningen turns 400! (website)
  6. "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  7. "World University Rankings 2016-2017". Times Higher Education. 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  8. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  9. "Best universities in Europe 2017". The Times Higher Education. 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  10. "QS World University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  11. "Kerncijfers". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  12. "CHE ranking (2010)". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  13. "Internationale positie". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  14. "University of Groningen World University Rankings | THE". The Times Higher Educational Supplement. 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  15. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016". Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  16. "No data records!". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  17. "University of Groningen Rankings". Top Universities. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  18. QS World University Rankings
  19. "Europe". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  20. "UK". UK. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  21. "The Cave". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  22. Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  23. Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  24. Faculty of Law, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  25. Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  26. Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  27. Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  28. Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  29. Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  30. Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  31. University College Groningen, University of Groningen. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  32. Research School of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCN), University of Groningen.
  33. Research Institute BCN-BRAIN, University of Groningen.
  34. Cancer Research Center Groningen (CRCG), University of Groningen.
  35. Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), University of Groningen.
  36. Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE), University of Groningen.
  37. Research Institute SHARE, University of Groningen.
  38. W.J. Kolff Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Groningen.
  39. "institute for Artificial Intelligence & Cognitive Engineering". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  40. "The Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  41. "PhD programma's". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  42. "Graduate School of Behavioural and Social Sciences". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  43. "Graduate School of Economics and Business". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  44. "Graduate School for the Humanities". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  45. "Graduate School of Law". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  46. "Graduate School of Medical Sciences". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  47. "Graduate School of Philosophy". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  48. "Graduate School of Science". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  49. "Graduate School of Spatial Sciences". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  50. "Graduate School of Theology and Religious Studies". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  51. "Prominente Groningse hoogleraren". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  52. Klaas Knot wordt nieuwe president van DNB

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