Fellow blogger Lior Steinberg (26 years old) grew up in Tel Aviv, lived for a year in Berlin, then moved to Sweden to study Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Stockholm and has now arrived in Groningen as an exchange student. He is fond of pizzas from Domino’s and incredibly nice.
Why did you choose to study and live in Groningen?
‘I wanted to study more about cycling infrastructure, so I decided to move to The Netherlands. After hearing about Groningen’s cycling culture, I knew that it’s the right destination.’
What kind of bike do you own? Where did you buy it?
‘I bought a decent second-hand bike at Bikes in Groningen. Nothing fancy, but takes me from A to B. Luckily, they haven’t got stolen yet.’
What are your first impressions about town?
‘The first thing I noticed, obviously, were the bicycles. It was quite overwhelming. Since then I got to know also the vibrant street life and the pride that locals have for their city.’
Do you see things that need to be improved?
‘In Tel Aviv, Berlin and Stockholm one can go to a grocery store at 3am, or drink a beer in a bar virtually anytime. Groningen is different, despite having so many students around. I might got spoiled by big cities, but I miss having never-endless possibilities all day long. It’s a pity the beautiful canals are hardly visible due to the parked cars and heavy traffic. There’s so much potential to do something about it. Give the canals back to the citizens and add some livability! Last but not least: it’s insane how long it takes to get from Groningen to Amsterdam by train, or even worse in the direction of Hamburg, we’re living in 2014!’
Do you have favorite places here?
‘Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat is my favorite street, I like sitting at PS! | Oude Kijk in’t Jatstraat 24 or Bij Britta | Oude Kijk in’t Jatstraat 27. Also, really close by, there is a great spot called De Uurwerker | Uurwerkersgang 24.’
You run a great blog about cities, what is it about?
‘Sascha Benes, a good Dutch friend from Stockholm, and I started a blog called LVBLCITY. We write about cities, and what can make them better. Most importantly, the blog is written in plain manner and intended for everybody, not only to planners or architects.’
You are organizing a Janes Walk at the Let’s Gro festival in November. What’s it about?
‘Jane’s Walk is a movement of free, locally led walking tours inspired by the urban planning legend Jane Jacobs. If you are interested in cities, and haven’t read yet her book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities“, wait no more. As part of Let’s Gro festival, I will guide a walking around Groningen, in which we will look around and try to understand what makes Groningen such a great place. The tour is free, and we will finish it in a café and talk about how we can improve the city. I hope to meet locals and international residents, and hear what they think about Groningen.’
Can you give us some insiders tips for Tel Aviv?’
‘I guess it is valid for many cities, but when you visit Tel Aviv, try to avoid the big stores and restaurants, they are usually artificial and expensive. Always try to go to that small street at the corner, you might be surprised by a local hummus restaurant or a tiny neighborhood bar. Grab a coffee at Cafe Sonya, they got wonderful interior garden, and drink a beer and Arak at Har Sinai or Kuli Alma. Almost everybody in Tel Aviv agrees that the “Great Synagogue” is one of the ugliest buildings in the city. Yet, the streets surrounding it have turned into a hipster night life spot, that we use to call “the hipster triangle”. The contrast between the synagogue and the bars around shows the variety in Tel Aviv.’
Klik hier voor de Nederlandse vertaling