Anyone who has moved abroad knows how hard it can be to get a network of friends in a new country. In an effort to help newcomers to the region feel at home, the provinces of Groningen and Friesland are each hosting an Welcome Day Internationals event.
By Thomas Ansell and Traci White
This is the second edition of the Welcome Day in Groningen, but this year marks the first time that Leeuwarden is hosting such an event.
The province and city of Groningen have by far the most foreign inhabitants in the north – 25,218 altogether – but in 2017, there were 15,197 non-Dutch people living in Friesland. As those numbers steadily grow each year, the regional higher education and knowledge institutions, the municipalities of Leeuwarden and Groningen, the provinces of Groningen and Friesland, IWCN and Connect International want to give professionals who have moved to the region in the past year a chance to get to know their new home and their fellow internationals.
“International students have their own welcome ceremonies at their universities,” says Karen Prowse of IWCN, “So we wanted to provide new international employees with a similar opportunity to meet each other and learn more about what the region has to offer.”
Alderperson Joost van Keulen will give the opening remarks during the Groningen event, which will be held on Friday the 5th of October at the Pathé cinema, followed by presentations and information courtesy of the International Welcome Center North (IWCN).
During the Leeuwarden event on Friday the 12th of October in the Blokhuispoort, Michiel Kastelijn from IWCN will welcome the attendees, followed by a presentation from IWCN and a guided tour of the former prison which now serves as an events centre.
At both Welcome Days, attendees will have the chance to mingle with other foreign newcomers living in the north during activities, including traditional Dutch games like gansbord and a quiz, and the after parties.
Are you a newcomer to the north? Registration for both Welcome Day Internationals is live, so follow the links below to sign up and get more information about the event nearest you.