‘The Dutch don’t place emphasis on food’

A group of mostly international students regularly give their opinions about food in the canteens. Changes should be made by September.

More and more international students are coming to Groningen each year, and those students have different requests when it comes to canteen food – just as Dutch students do. ‘So we are making some big changes’, says catering expert Edwin van der Scheer from the University’s Hospitality Services. ‘But we need to know what students want.’

No breakfast

As a result, Ritwik Swain, who represents the SOG student party on the University Council, arranged the first Food & Drinks Committee meeting last week. Surprisingly, only one of the 15 students (plus one staff member) on the committee isn’t an international student.

‘More Dutch students were invited’, claims Edwin, ‘but the Dutch don’t place as much emphasis on food as the rest of Europe. One of the changes we are planning is to implement some new options for breakfast, but the Dutch typically don’t eat breakfast; they just have a quick coffee in the morning.’

Food committee having lunch

Food committee having lunch

‘The international students are used to more variety’, says Alexandra Crisan, the newly elected University Council member. ‘The Dutch are not as concerned by the lack of variety.’


There were also complaints from students about the lack of hot meals and the high prices in a RUGnews questionnaire earlier this year. The students attending the meeting also complained that the canteens close too early for students who are working late. Again, the prices are an issue – ‘especially when nearby stores, such as Hema, have very varied and reasonably priced food available’, one of the students claimed.

Will the committee be effective? Edwin is adamant that it can be, ‘as long as the committee remains unchanged and members avoid talking repeatedly about the same issues and meet every so often.’