When all the trains have left

By Anna Severinenko “It was always my dream to have my own bar. 8 years ago, it was finally about to open, everything was ready. But then the smoking ban came and killed everything.” Since last year Jack cleans the toilets and picks up garbage three times a week at the central train station in…

A very intangible heritage

By Marijn Thijs, Ines Mette, Matthew Richards and Emily Howard A sausage roll. Clog making. Indonesian rice tables. Student societies. Mid-winter horn blowing. Four of these are recognised as fundamental aspects of Dutch culture, according to the Centre for Dutch Intangible Cultural Heritage, whilst one had to withdraw its application following reports of violence during…

Alcohol intoxication just a phone call away

By James Field, Antonella Serrecchia, Frans Snackers, Migle Vaisnoraite A technical loophole is allowing underage drinkers in the Netherlands to get alcohol delivered to their doors almost free from age checks, and delivery companies can sell free from fines. The student city of Groningen provides a telling example, with local authorities passing the buck as…

“When we have an emotion, it takes over”

By Anna Portella “How many of you in the last month have not washed your hands when you left the bathroom?” with that question, behavioural economist Dan Ariely struck his audience’s weak point. He was in Groningen last month to give the lecture “The problem of self-control,” and during his hours long stay in the…

A normal life, made to order

By James Field When Layla Koopal, 66, does a good job you won’t have any idea. In fact Layla’s work has been so good at going unnoticed that she has an award from the King to prove it. Layla points to the walls of cupboards in her shop ‘Frans Koopal’ in Groningen, “60,000 wigs” she…