VU University Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands
VU University Amsterdam is an internationally renowned university located in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Amsterdam is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, boasting 179 different nationalities. It is also the city with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands and English is widely spoken. At VU University Amsterdam some 78 nationalities work and study closely together, creating an international and dynamic academic community.

About VU University Amsterdam

VU University Amsterdam is a leading European research university with about 25,000 students and 2,500 academic staff.

Eleven faculties share a single campus and cover a wide spectrum of arts, sciences and medicine. With almost 50 Bachelorís degree programmes (of which 4 completely English taught) and over 100 Masterís degree programmes (over 70 English taught), VU University offers a wide choice of study options.

Unique identity

VU stands for Vrije Universiteit, which translates literally as Free University. VU University was the first university in the Netherlands established in 1880 by Abraham Kuyper, with no interference from the church or the state. This heritage is still very much part of who we are. From the very beginning, the university has determined its own areas of research, created its own study programmes and practised its own didactic methods. The teaching style can be described as student-centered: we stimulate students to develop their own opinion through independent and creative thinking.

Types of programmes

VU University Amsterdam offers four types of programmes:

  • Bachelorís degree programmes (leading to BA/LLB/BSc)

  • Masterís degree programmes (leading to MA/LLM/MSc/MPhil)

  • PhD/Doctorate programmes (leading to PhD/Doctorate)

  • Non-degree programmes (Exchange and Study Abroad in Amsterdam)

VU University Amsterdam

  • is consistently listed among the worldís top universities in various rankings;

  • is located in one of the most dynamic and fastgrowing business districts in the Netherlands;

  • is a modern campus university with student housing just a five-minute bike ride away;

  • helps you with housing, visas and the administrative side of studying in the Netherlands;

  • offers an international environment. A quarter of the students in our English-taught programmes come from abroad;

  • provides high-quality education in small and highly interactive classes;

  • is located in lively and multicultural Amsterdam, the city with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands and where English is the second language;

  • is open to all cultures, nationalities and religions.

Accreditations of VU University Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is fully recognized by the Dutch Ministry of Education as a research university. All degree programmes at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are either accredited by or in the process of being accredited by NVAO, the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders. This body was established by international treaty and guarantees the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium through the accreditation of study programmes.


  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Services
An International Student Advisor (ISA) assigned to the faculty you are interested in will help you with the application procedure and any other information you may need. Once you have been admitted to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdams programme, the Services-teams at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam International Office can help you find accommodation and apply for a visa and residence permit (if applicable). The International Office offers orientation periods for international students in August, consisting of social events, sports activities and a cultural programme.
  • Facilities and Activities
As a student at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you will have a wide range of facilities at your disposal. You will have access to an extensive library, a university-wide wireless network and numerous computer and reading rooms. The universitys sports centre offers more than 35 different sports and the Griffioen cultural centre organizes a variety of courses in the arts as well as other cultural activities.
  • Finances
Students from the EU or EEA pay the same tuition fees as Dutch students. The tuition fees for most programmes are set by the Dutch government on an annual basis and vary per programme. Experience shows that it costs between 800 and 1,000 a month to live and study in the Netherlands, excluding tuition fees and other non-recurring expenses. Some students manage to spend less, but of course that depends on your individual lifestyle.
  • Scholarships
With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer strongly motivated students with excellent study results the unique oppurtunity to pursue a Masters degree with financialsupport provided by the university. The VUFP scholarship covers tuition fees and provides an allowance towards study and living expenses. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Masters programme in the Netherlands. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.

Student life at VU University Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a welcoming and centrally located city campus, with excellent facilities for teaching and research. It is a hub where people feel at home, meet each other and engage in new forms of collaboration. The campus offers an inspiring and lively range of related services, making it a pleasant place to be. Such as:

  • A variety of shops, cafés and restaurants, including a grocery store (more information further).

  • A cultural programme of film music and dance at the Griffioen Cultural Center. The center also has a wide range of courses to choose from, greatly reduced in price for students.

  • Sports Center with good facilities, many types of classes and a gym. Provides cheap entrance for students and the possibility to subscribe for a short period of time.

  • A basketball field, multiple beach volleyball fields and tennis tables are located on the campus ground, free to use for students any time of day.

  • The campus is located in the middle of the most dynamic and fastest growing business districts in the Netherlands.

  • Great public transport connection: 15 minute tram or bike ride to the historic city center, 8 minute train journey to Schiphol Airport and 5 minute tram or bike ride to the student housing.

  • The Main Building has a permanent exhibition space, which showcases work of beginning and established artists. All over the campus you can view the universityís art collection, including an art route through the public areas.

  • The campus has its own bike repair shop, which also sells reasonably priced second hand bikes.

  • A number of academic and cultural events are organized on the campus throughout the year. For example the opening of the academic year and an enticing public event programme including the VU Summer Break Festival, On the Roofff Film Festival and the Open Air Festival.

Food and shopping

From the first cup of coffee in the morning to a delicious hot meal at the end of the day: the campus has a wide variety of cafés and restaurants to satisfy any craving. The Doppio coffee corner recently won the audience award in the coffee top 100. You can enjoy your food and drinks indoors or outdoors at one of the numerous picnic tables or on the steps. Books and other study materials can be find at the VU bookshop. Furthermore there is a Fair Trade shop and a student supermarket. The latter with a wide range of products.

IT and study facilities

Free WIFI is available for all students and employees on campus. There are several computer rooms, a notebook study room and internet work spaces to study comfortably and quietly. All faculties have their own study and computer rooms, often combined. Students can also study in the faculty libraries. The buildings are generally opened from 7AM to 11PM on weekdays and from 8AM to 6PM during the weekend. For opening times for each building, click here.

Student associations

There are several types of student bodies at the university, mostly linked to a field of study. ESN VU Amsterdam is an organization for all international and Dutch students at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. It brings together students from around the world to introduce them to the university, to Amsterdam and to make them feel at home. ESN VU Amsterdam organizes a host of activities, including cocktail parties, weekly get-togethers (borrels), weekend trips and social gatherings every two weeks.

International Office

The International Office is located on the ground floor of the main building. It provides support to incoming and outgoing students in order to help make the transition to a new country easier. Students are supported in finding accommodation, with immigration matters and in applying for scholarships. The International Service Desk is open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 12 and 2PM for any general questions you may have. Keep an eye on the International Office Facebookpage for the latest news, promotions and activities.

Personal Supervision

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam devotes considerable attention to personal study advice. There are study advisors that can help you plan your study, choose any extra courses that may be useful, discuss personal matters which may affect your study and advise you with career choices. In some cases, the study advisor may refer you to someone or somewhere else if he/she thinks this is better suited to help you. VU Amsterdam also offers support for students with a disability. Student counsellors and a student desk are available to answer any specific questions.

Course and Career Information Centre

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers career services to both international and Dutch students at the information centre in the main building. Services include personal advice and assistance in finding a job, and for instance workshops on how to write job applications.

Dutch courses

The Dutch as a Second language Department offers various courses in Dutch. Whether you are new to the language or speak it reasonably well, they can help you learn Dutch fast and effectively. Taalcentrum-VU is an independent translation and language-training agency with its roots in Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. They provide a broad range of services in the field of Dutch and major European languages, such as language courses. They also organize the VU University institutional TOEFL test. This test is much cheaper than the official TOEFL test, although it is only recognized at VU Amsterdam.

Master's Programmes at VU University Amsterdam

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Many organisations offer scholarships or grants. Some of these might help you to study for a Master at VU University Amsterdam!

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS we offer you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.

Other Degrees by VU University Amsterdam

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