“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…

The Reluctant Remainer

By Matt Richards Hamish Mardell opens the door to his student room. Crammed inside: a sofa, armchair, coffee table, bed, wardrobe, chair, desk, golf clubs, shelves. A Union Jack hangs prominently on one wall. The eighteen-year-old British student arrived at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands two months ago, and will stick around for…

“Brexit, what’s happening?”

By Frans Snackers At the start of the Grote Kromme Elleboog street in Groningen, one shop stands out because of its remarkable window display. A large board built to look like a ruined battlefield is covered by two factions of miniature warriors, ready to engage in combat with each other. Their life-like paint jobs are…

Rejecting a Fortune to Build a New One

By Tommaso Lecca Imagine that you were born rich. You are the first child, and your family owns a construction company that rebuilt entire neighbourhoods in your hometown, which was bombed during the Second World War. You don’t have to worry about your future because you already have one: managing your family business. You are…

An introverted campaigner

By Bala Chambers “Catalonia didn’t exist as it does now. Institutions and civil liberties were abolished in 1714. That had long-lasting consequences. In the 18th, 19th century living conditions were hard. Life expectancy was below 40 years old. The first thing people had in mind was food and survival,” quietly explains pro-Catalan independence supporter, Sergi…

A Peruvian star on the rise

By Bala Chambers Peru are 1-0 down to Argentina in Lima. 19 year old Luiz ‘Beto’ da Silva enters the field for the second half, making his debut in the South American World Cup qualifiers. His pace and dribbling are outlets for the counter attack against Argentina. Defender, Zabaleta can’t live with his direct attacking play and quickly…

A head strong Mexican’s view from afar

By James Field Claudia Cañedo is adaptable. She’s travelled half way across the globe yet her Dyslexia frequently causes her to see maps in reverse. She’ll dare you to mention a job she hasn’t done to pay for tuition, often hampered by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) to complement her Dyslexia. Her town of Mazatlan at…