Internationals call out UG and municipality over corona video

‘Wording suggests we don’t adhere to the rules’

Internationals call out UG and municipality over corona video

A poorly worded start to an Instagram video by the municipality of Groningen and the UG has angered international students.
By Sara Rommes
8 October om 17:46 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 13 October 2020
om 13:56 uur.
October 8 at 17:46 PM.
Last modified on October 13, 2020
at 13:56 PM.

The video is part of an online collaborative campaign between students, the university, the municipality, and the Safety Region in which they call on students to obey the corona rules.

The video, which has been published on both the UG and the municipality Groningen Instagram pages, shows an international student. He starts the video by saying: ‘I am an international student, as many of you are. But this is not a reason to not follow the rules.’


The post, which went up on Tuesday, has been responded to by dozens of outraged international students. They feel the wording suggests that particularly international students don’t adhere to the corona rules, and they don’t like it.

‘This is a colossally clumsy and condescending message to international students. It is insulting to the many of us that have gone above and beyond the pitiful responses made by the Dutch authorities’, one person writes, adding: ‘Delete this video and apologize to the students that had to deliver such an embarrassing message on your behalf.’


Two weeks ago, UKrant reported that international students are concerned about how indifferent Dutch people are to the corona policies. They often travelled here from countries where the rules are much stricter, and they feel the Netherlands’ rules are lax.

The municipality of Groningen says the campaign isn’t aimed specifically at international students. This video was the first one to be posted on Tuesday, but the city will be posting other videos addressing students.

The idea for the campaign originated with the students themselves, emphasises spokesperson Natasja van ‘t Hooft. One of the partners closely involved in the production is medical study association Panacea.

Best of intentions

The university said it still supports the campaign. ‘The student spoke from the heart; the video wasn’t scripted’, says spokesperson Jorien Bakker. ‘We wanted to let the students speak for themselves.’

According to Van ‘t Hooft, everyone who participated in the campaign only had the best of intentions. ‘It’s unfortunate that some people were offended by it, but we genuinely didn’t mean it to be offensive.’