StudyQA — Free University Amsterdam — Amsterdam — Netherlands: Fees, Rankings, Courses, Admissions

Free University Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Site: Founded: 1880 year Type of University:Private StudyQA ranking: 5855 pts. No. Students: 23656 No. Staff: 4500 Languages: Dutch, English Phone: +31205989898 Fax: +31205989899
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About VU

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (abbreviated as VU, Dutch: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) is a university in Amsterdam, Netherlands, founded in 1880. VU is one of two large, publicly funded research universities in the city, the other being the University of Amsterdam(UvA).The literal translation of the Dutch name Vrije Universiteit is "Free University". "Free" refers to independence of the university from both the State and Church. Both within and outside the university, the institution is commonly referred to as "the VU" (pronounced somewhat like "vew" as in "new").

Although founded as a private institution, VU has received government funding on a parity basis with public universities since 1970. Over the past decades, VU has transformed from a small institution into a broad, research-intensive university attended by a wide variety of students of diverse backgrounds. While the Netherlands does not have an official ranking system, according to the "CWTS Leiden Ranking", the Vrije Universiteit was recognized as the second best university, nationally.

The university is located on a compact urban campus in the southern Buitenveldert neighbourhood of Amsterdam and adjacent to the modern Zuidas business district.

The official university seal is entitled The Virgin in the Garden. Personally chosen by Abraham Kuyper, the Reformed-Protestant leader and founder of the university, it depicts a virgin living in freedom in a garden while pointing towards God, referring to theProtestant Reformation in the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th century. In 1990, the university adopted the mythical griffin as its common emblem. The position of its wings symbolizes the freedom in the university's name from both the State and Church. The bright and blue postmodern symbol has been the focal point of the university's Main Building ever since.


Teaching is organized within the several faculties. Together, the faculties offer 50 bachelor's, almost 160 master's, and a number of Ph.D.programmes.

The language of instruction for most bachelor's courses is Dutch. As of fall 2015, the university offers five bachelor's programmes fully in English: Business Analytics (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration); Computer Science (Faculty of Science); International Business Administration (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration); Liberal Arts and Sciences (Amsterdam University College), Literature and Society (Faculty of Humanities); and Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Faculty of Humanities). In addition, the university-wide VU Honours Programme is taught in English.

About 80 master's programmes at VU are offered entirely in English. In some master's programmes, international students outnumber the Dutch students by a large margin. The university also maintains a number of bilateral exchange agreements with foreign universities, allowing foreign students to spend one or two semesters at the Vrije Universiteit.

As with all publicly funded universities in the Netherlands, bachelor's and master's students pay tuition fees determined by law. For the academic year 2015/2016, regular tuition fees for bachelor's and master's programmes amount to € 1,951 per year for students from the European Union or European Economic Area and € 9,000 to € 12,000 per year for students from non-EU/EEA countries. Most Dutch students and long-term Dutch resident EU citizens are eligible for government loans or grants to cover tuition and living expenses.

Ph.D. programmes are organized differently. Rather than applying to the university for admission, prospective students must find a (full) professor who has a position for a Ph.D. candidate, called a 'promovendus', and contact him or her directly. Most faculties advertise open positions on their websites. As is common in Dutch universities, 'promovendi' are paid a salary and are considered university employees, therefore they do not pay tuition.

  • Faculty of Dentistry/ACTA

    ACTA is a collaborative venture involving the Faculties of Dentistry at the University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam. ACTA conducts scientific research, provides educational programmes, and delivers patient care in the field of dentistry. In international circles, ACTA ranks among the leaders in teaching and research. 

    Besides training students to be dentists, ACTA provides postgraduate courses for dentists. ACTA has a workforce of approximately 950, and also approximately 950 students are enrolled in its Dentistry programme. 

    Every day we deliver dental care to approximately 300 patients. In addition to its headquarters in Amsterdam, ACTA has a branch at Almere. 

  • Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

    Mission Statement

    Committed to Excellence
    It is our mission to attrahighly motivated, capable students and to build their talents through a challenging and at times very demanding curriculum. All with the ultimate aim of producing excellent graduates who can make a difference to the world.At the same time we strive to make high-quality research contributions, both theoretical and empirical, to the fields of Economics and Business. Contributions which lead to publications in top-level journals but also have impact on policies and practices in the professional world, government and society in general.ct 

  • Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences

    Organization of education:

    The Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences (FALW) offers a wide range of programmes, including earth sciences, biology, health, environment and neuroscience. Its teaching activities are accommodated within the graduate schools. 

    • Undergraduate School for Earth Sciences

    • Undergraduate School for Health & Life Sciences 

    • Graduate School Earth, Environment & Ecology 

    • Graduate School Health & Life Sciences 

    The Programme Committee is responsible for:

    • advising on teaching and education, including the Academic and Examination Regulations;

    • conducting an annual evaluation of the way in which the Academic and Examination Regulations are implemented;

    • making recommendations, either on its own initiative or on request, on all matters relating to teaching in the degree programme in question. 

  • Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

    The Faculty of Behavioural and Human Movement Sciences (FGB) stands for innovative and ambitious education and research. FGB's research and teaching makes it an active player in societal development. 
    The faculty has approximately 2,500 students and 900 employees. The academic staff consists of professors, lecturers, researchers and doctoral candidates, which come under the departments. The support staff and management come under the Faculty Office. The faculty is run by the Faculty Board. 

  • Faculty of Humanities

    Welcome to the Faculty of Humanities of VU University Amsterdam. A university with a special character: Abraham Kuyper, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905, founded the VU in 1880 with the idea of developing an independent institution for the Christian society. Nowadays we welcome students from all cultural and religious backgrounds, but our Christian roots are still expressed in the emphasis placed on social involvement in the university's teaching and research programmes.

    VU University Amsterdam is a broad-based university in which education and research are closely intertwined. As a student you will benefit from small-scale classes that allow you to have in-depth discussions with professors and fellow students. And since all our faculties are located on one campus, we find that our research and education is becoming more and more interdisciplinary. Another advantage is that the campus has an intimate atmosphere with a café, basketball and beach-volleyball courts in the middle of academic life. And all of this is located no more than 15 minutes from the vibrant city centre of Amsterdam.

    Our high level of research and education has caused VU to be one of the fastest rising universities in the Shanghai ranking, now in the top 3 in the Netherlands. The Dutch Elsevier survey shows that several programmes in the Faculty of Humanities are actually the best in the Netherlands. For international students we offer the possibility of joining us as an exchange student. We also developed various International Master's programmes, completely taught in English. If you are interested in studying at a high-quality and socially involved university, with good facilities and an informal atmosphere, we would like to welcome you at the Faculty of Humanities of the VU University Amsterdam!


  • Faculty of Law

    Welcome to the Faculty of Law at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

    Established in 1880 as one of the three constituent faculties, the Faculty of Law has been at the forefront of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s mission of societal development and spirit of public service. Amongst our alumni are a number of prime-ministers and senior judges, most prominently Peter Kooijmans, minister of State and Justice in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to who our research institute is named after: Kooijmans Institute for Law and Governance. This research institute consists of eight research programmes. It is also home to many of ourexcellent researchers. Law at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is studied in an interdisciplinary and international context. We believe this is the only way to prepare our students for challenges in fast-changing society. We offer a broad selection of Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes as well as a variety of post-academic courses hosted by our VU Law Academy. We are happy to host academics from around the world and help them advance their academic career through ourFellowship Programme.

  • Faculty of Medicine

    The VU University Medical Center is one out of eight university medical centers in the Netherlands. They are non-profit organizations that integrate training, research and care, and are closely affiliated to a university. The role of the Faculty of Medicine is to train physicians and conduct research.

    Within VUmc, the Institute for Education and Training carries out one of the UMC's three core tasks: (science) education and training. The education portfolio is expanding and anticipating future developments in society. The IET comprises the VUmc School of Medical Sciences , VUmc Amstel Academy and VUmc Academy . Together, the three organizations provide training for healthcare professionals.

  • Faculty of Sciences


    The Faculty of Sciences of VU University Amsterdam offers modern academic education in natural sciences, mathematics and computer science. Our ambition is that this education is attractive, inspiring and of excellent quality, is provided by internationally leading researchers, anticipates dynamically to the needs of society and challenges all science talents.

  • Faculty of Social Sciences

    The Faculty of Social Sciences of the VU University in Amsterdam is a broadly disciplined faculty wherein the classic disciplines political sciences, sociology and cultural anthropology as well as the modern terrains of organization, communication and policy have their own respective places.

    Since the foundation of the faculty in 1963, the strength of our faculty comes from the combination and cooperation between disciplines and our focus on current societal issues. Because we are situated in the bustling city of Amsterdam, the diverse, dynamic societies we study are right at our front doorstep.

    We gladly use the gathered knowledge in research for our clients and in active participation in societal debates. The faculty participates in projects concerning integrity, safety, societal ageing, religion and many more.

    We greatly value that our researchers and students get the space and education to be able to develop and flourish as autonomous and critical thinkers.

  • Faculty of Theology

    Religion plays a significant role in our world and is currently experiencing a resurgence. Students who choose to study in the Faculty of Theology at VU University Amsterdam are opting for a rigorous, challenging programme in a lively and varied faculty with an excellent reputation for its outstanding teaching and research and its unique profile. As an ecumenical-protestant faculty, the Faculty of Theology incorporates students and teaching staff with a wide range of world views and from various world religions. The faculty provides education for Christians from all kinds of denominations and also for imams. We take each other seriously and expect everyone to engage critically with their own traditions in order to learn to understand others without losing their own identity, both as theologians and as fellow citizens. As such, we represent a microcosm of wider society. 
    Anyone who studies here will not only develop in terms of academic knowledge and greater insights but will also enhance their own life philosophy or faith and their understanding of the personal convictions of those around them. 

  • faculteit Aard- en Levenswetenschappen

  • faculty of Earth and Life Sciences

  • faculty of Sciences

  • Geesteswetenschappen

  • Gedrags- en Bewegingswetenschappen

  • faculty of Medicine

  • faculteit Economische Wetenschappen en Bedrijfskunde

  • faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid

  • faculty of Dentistry/ACTA

  • faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen

  • faculteit Godgeleerdheid

  • faculty of Economics and Business Administration

  • faculty of Theology

  • faculteit Exacte Wetenschappen

  • faculteit Geneeskunde

VU history

Origins (1880 CE)

The VU was founded in 1880 by a group of orthodox-Protestant Christians led by Abraham Kuyper as the first orthodox-Protestant (Calvinist) university in the Netherlands. Kuyper was a theologian, journalist, politician, and prime minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905. He was a professor of theology at VU as well as the university's first rector magnificus (academic president). Kuyper's worldview and philosophy is referred to as Neo-Calvinism. As a reflection of his beliefs, Vrije Universiteit literally means 'Free University' (or 'Liberated University') to signify independence from both government and church. Teaching at the Vrije Universiteit started in 1880 in a few rooms rented at the Scottish Missionary Church (now the Kleine Komedie theater), along the Amstel river in Amsterdam's city centre. Here, Kuyper and four fellow professors began lecturing in three faculties: theology, law, and the arts.

Expansion (1900s - 2000s)

By the turn of the 20th century, the Scottish Missionary Church became too small for the growing number of students and the university bought its first building, located at Keizersgracht 162. In the following years, the university acquired more buildings throughout the city. In 1905, VU was formally accredited and granted the legal right to award academic degrees. New faculties were subsequently added to the original three, including a science faculty (1930) and a medical faculty (1950).

Funding for the university was provided through the VU Association, the Christian organization founded by Abraham Kuyper, which was firmly rooted within the reformed Protestant community in the Netherlands. By the end of the 1960s, the university received financial support from more than 200,000 private contributors. Many were making small coin donations collected by some 10,000 (mostly female) fundraisers, who going door to door with the quintessential green VU collecting box.

It was in this period of time, the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s, that the university's profile changed significantly in many respects. From 1968 onwards, the university relocated from Amsterdam's city centre to a new, functional campus in the southern Buitenveldertneighbourhood. In order to strengthen academic research, university administrators decided to apply for public funding on parity with public universities, which is guaranteedunder the Dutch constitution, and no longer opposed admitting non-Protestant professors and students. As a result, the number of students grew substantially. Against the background of increasing student activism at universities around the world, new student organizations were formed demanding a more democratic academic culture at VU. By the end of the 1970s, the small, elitist Christian institution had all but disappeared and had become a broad, research-oriented university, open to students of diverse backgrounds.

Expansion and Reform (2000s - present)

Student numbers continued to grow rapidly in the 21st century: from 15,700 students in 2002 to about 25,000 in 2011, causing growing pains which have resulted in lower student satisfaction and budgetary constraints. The university has embarked on an ambitious reform agenda, including a large-scale renewal of campus facilities, austerity programmes and staff reorganizations, which in turn were met with opposition and legal action from trade unions as well as a newly formed grassroots movement of staff and students.

Today, the university's Christian heritage is reflected through a continuing focus on social, cultural and philosophical perspectives within its various academic programmes. The VU Association, which had founded and funded the university for almost a century, now serves as a social network to promote the relationship between society and scientific research, higher education and patient care, with a special focus on subjects of philosophy, culture and society. In pursuit of these goals, it provides for lectures, debates and other activities connecting science and society throughout the Netherlands under the name 'VU Connected'

University rankings

In the 2014 QS World University Rankings the Vrije Universiteit was placed 171st overall in the world. In the 2014/15 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, VU was ranked 136th. In the subject area Clinical, Pre-clinical and Health, the university ranked 61st. The 2013 Shanghai Ranking placed the Vrije Universiteit overall in the 101-150 range, with higher rankings in the subject areas Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy (48th), Life and Agricultural Science (76-100 range), Social Science (76-100 range), and Economics and Business (76-100 range).

An overview of the combined THE-QS World University Rankings (up to 2009), QS World University Rankings (since 2010), and Times Higher Education World University Rankings (since 2010/11), Shanghai Ranking, and CWTS Leiden Ranking :

Year THE-QS/QS THE Shanghai CWTS Leiden
2005 186   153-202  
2006 183    151-200  
2007 304    151-202  
2008 155    101-151  
2009 165    101-151  
2010 171    101-150  
2011 179  159 102-150  
2012 177  140  101-150 75
2013 181  144  101-150 83 
2014 171  136  100  64 
2015 176  154  98  64 

Cost of living and working while studying:

Experience shows that living and studying in the Netherlands for one year costs a student between €1000 and €1,100 per month. Some students manage to spend less, but this of course depends on your own lifestyle. An indication of likely monthly expenses:

  • Rent for housing: €450
  • Food: €250
  • Insurance: €100
  • Public transport: €50
  • Books: €50
  • Other costs: €60
  • Total: €960

Working while studying

You cannot count on finding a source of additional income after you arrive and, unless you are from an EU member state, your opportunities to work are restricted. If you are a non-EU student, under Dutch law you are only permitted to work a maximum of 10 hours per week if you have a work permit.

How many hours am I allowed to work in the Netherlands? 
If you hold a passport from a country that belongs to the European Union (EU) (with the exception of Croatia), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, then you are permitted to work in the Netherlands without limitation. If this is not the case, then you are only permitted to work a maximum of 10 hours per week averaged over the year or full-time during the summer months (June, July, August). Your employer will also be required to apply for a work permit.

Do I have to pay income tax if I work in the Netherlands? 
Under Dutch law, everyone who works in the Netherlands is obliged to pay income tax to the Dutch government. However, the rules may be different if you are already paying income tax in your home country and that country has signed a treaty with the Netherlands that income tax is only to be paid in one of the two countries. All EU member states have signed such a treaty.

What does the Dutch government do for international students working in the Netherlands? 
The Dutch government has a comprehensive system of social security, insurance and tax measures related to working in the Netherlands.

Cycling and public transport:

Amsterdam is a city of bicycles. With an extensive network of cycle lanes, bicycle parking everywhere and even traffic lights specifically for bicycles, there is no safer or easier place to cycle than here. There is a bike shop in the basement of the main building of the university. Bike sales for exchange students will also be arranged several times throughout the year. Most students arriving for the first time in Amsterdam find that buying a (second-hand) bike is both an affordable way to travel between home and study, as well as a great way of getting to know the city and the surrounding area.

Public transport 
The city of Amsterdam has an extensive public transport network consisting of trams, metro services, buses, ferries and trains. Extensive maps and timetables of all routes can be found on theGVB (municipal transport company) website.

Public transport smart card (OV-chipkaart) 
The most convenient (and affordable) method of paying for public transport is the OV-chipkaart. You can buy an anonymous (refillable) card at ticket vending machines, GVB Tickets & Info locations, certain newsagents and supermarkets. More information is available on the GVB website.
Check in, check out 
It is very important that your remember to check both in and out when using your OV-chipkaart. This can be done by holding the card against the reader present on platforms (for trains and metro) and on board the vehicle (for buses and trams). You must also check in and out when changing to a different line or mode of transport. 
If you have a smartphone, the app 9292 (available in English) is a convenient way of planning your journey.

Introduction activities:

During your first days at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the International Office will arrange several activities in order to help you become acquainted with the city of Amsterdam and the university campus, to get to know your fellow (international) students and of course to have fun.

Arrival Days and Introduction Weeks, August 2016

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is looking forward to welcoming all new foreign students to the new academic year. During your first days the International Office will arrange several activities in order to help you become acquainted with the city of Amsterdam and the university campus, to get to know your fellow students and of course to have fun! Our introduction team is working hard to put together an engaging and informative programme especially for you! The introduction week will take place from the 19th to the 30th of August, please mark the following days in your agenda!

Provisional Programme 
August 19 and 22: Arrival Days - Arrival Days Schedule 2016

August 23: Arranging practical matters 

August 24: Word Of Welcome, Campus Tour, Information Market 

August 25: Make it at VU, Amsterdam Contest City Tour 

August 26: Sports Day 

August 27-28: VU ESN Amsterdam weekend 

August 29: Dutch crash course 

August 30: Campus dinner party

Registration with the municipality:

If you will stay in the Netherlands for more than four months, then you need to register with the local authorities, the municipality. After registration the municipality office will send a social security number (BSN) to your Dutch address.

Required documents

  • Passport or European ID card.
  • Rental agreement for your Dutch address (if you do not have a rental agreement then you must bring a written statement of approval signed by the main tenant and a copy of his/her passport).
  • Birth Certificate (legalized)* - please note that is only required if you staying for longer than one year or if you are not staying in accommodation in Amsterdam or Amstelveen. Should you be living outside Amsterdam or Amstelveen and your birth certificate is not in Dutch, English, French or German, then you must supply a sworn translation into one of these languages.

Students who are married will also need to bring their marriage certificate (legalized)*.

* The legalization method depends on the respective country. The Dutch missions in other countries are responsible for legalizing foreign documents for use in the Netherlands. The documents must first have been legalized by the country’s own authorities, usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where the document was issued.

Opening a bank account

​You will need to open a bank account in order to arrange your day-to-day finances in the Netherlands. Especially for Non-EU students and students who find a small job in the Netherlands it is recommended to open a bank account.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam recommends opening a bank account with the ING bank, because you do not need to have a BSN number and your bank (debit) card is provided immediately after you complete the procedure.

Required documents for opening a bank account are:

  • Valid passport
  • A tax identification number of your home country (if applicable) 

Opening a bank account, including a debit card with chip functionality and (Dutch) Internet banking, involves a one-off cost €20 and thereafter €4.35 every three months. The nearest local branch of the ING is in the neighbourhood of Uilenstede in the shopping mall Gelderlandplein. For additional information, please see the ING website or route descriptions. 

Please note: Credit cards are not accepted at most supermarkets and shops. The American debit card is seen as a credit card. 


It is important that you are properly insured during your time in the Netherlands. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires all incoming international students to be properly insured by an internationally recognized insurance agency for the duration of their stay (this is also required by Dutch law). Your insurance policy should cover all costs related to sudden illness, accident or death.

Health insurance (ziektekostenverzekering) 
Everyone living in the Netherlands is legally obliged to have health insurance. The rules are quite complex for international students. Extensive information on this subject can be found on the Nuffic website. We recommend AON Students Insurance company, an agent will be present during the arrival days, since they offer a day to day rate. However, you are free to choose your own insurance company.

EU health insurance card (EHIC) schemes differ from country to country and might not always live up to expectations. Therefore we strongly advise you to top up your coverage by taking out an additional student insurance policy to cover for travel, repatriation and liability.

Liability insurance (aansprakelijkheidsverzekering) 
If you damage someone’s property or cause an accident, then Dutch law states that you are responsible for paying the costs of this. You are therefore advised to take out a liability insurance policy, especially if you will be working in a lab or doing research using expensive instruments.

Travel insurance (reisverzekering) 
When temporarily studying in another country, most students make use of the opportunity to travel and become acquainted with new cities and countries. It is important that you have a suitable travel insurance policy to cover the costs of stolen baggage, repatriation etc.

Insurance packages 
To simplify the business of arranging suitable insurance during your time in the Netherlands, it is advisable to consult your insurance company and explain that you will be studying abroad for a semester or an entire academic year. If your insurance company is unable to meet your needs, then you may consult either of the following companies, each of which offers packages specifically tailored to the needs of international students.

Accommodation in Amsterdam:

Hotel Jansen

In this new complex you can rent a fully furnished room up to one month in their HotelStay and up to six months in their Shortstay. Most rooms have a shared kitchen and private bathroom.


Funda is free of charge and shows an overview of apartments and houses for rent and for sale anywhere in the Netherlands. 


Short stay, fully-furnished apartments and family houses that are for rent for a minimum of one week up to six months.

Housing Anywhere

HousingAnywhere is a student-to-student housing platform where students that go abroad for an exchange semester or internship can sublet their rooms.

The Student Hotel

The Studenthotel is a concept in which hotel operations is combined with student accommodation. Fully-furnished, all-inclusive, rooms with private bathrooms are offered in Amsterdam. Available from one night to twelve months.


In the south of Amsterdam this newly renovated studio/ apartment complex offer housing for international guests and students. Register for this website and check their offers (new offers arrive on Tuesdays at 09:00 C.E.T.).


During your studies​

As a VU University student, 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 rooms and reading rooms. The university’s 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.

Personal supervision 

VU University devotes considerable attention to personal study advice. Right at the start of your course of study, you will be introduced to your faculty’s study advisor. This person can help you plan your study, choose any extra courses that may be useful, discuss personal matters which may affect your study and can advise you with career choices. In some cases, the study advisor may refer you to someone else if he/she thinks they are better suited to help you. We also offer help to study with a disability. There are student counsellors and a a student desk for any specific questions you may have.

IT and study facilities 

VU University Amsterdam has plenty of computer facilities and study rooms for its students. There are several computer rooms, a notebook study room and internet work spaces available. All faculties have their own study and computer rooms, often combined. Students can also study in the faculty libraries. In addition to each faculty’s own resources, VU University also has central facilities like the VU Media Experience.

Dutch courses

The Dutch as a Second language Department offers various courses in Dutch. Whether you are new to our 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 VU University. 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 University Amsterdam.

Career Services 

VU Amsterdam provides career guidance from the very start of your study programme: activities such as Career Counselling, CV workshops, Interview Training and Career & Network events. The services are designed for students at all educational levels and across all academic disciplines, reaching out to both domestic and international students. By offering career services we aim to prepare you for the Dutch and International labour market. The Dutch government offers an Orientation Year to Non-EU students who are willing to work in the Netherlands. 

(International) student association

There are several types of student bodies at the university. ESN VU Amsterdam is an organization for all international and Dutch students at VU University. It brings together Dutch and international students from a variety of disciplines to introduce them to the university and to Amsterdam, and to make them feel at home. ESN VU Amsterdam organizes a host of activities, including cocktail parties, weekly get-togethers (borrels) and social gatherings every two weeks, as well as a larger social event once a month.

Study abroad 

VU University Amsterdam has set up exchange agreements with more than 200 partner universities worldwide. As a VU University student, you will have the opportunity to study abroad for one semester in various destinations, such as Denmark, China, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, the United States, and many more. 


Why choose VU University

VU University Amsterdam

  • is consistently listed among the world’s 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.

Services from our international office

Our International Office offers excellent services and assists you with housing, visa, residence permits (if applicable) and the administrative side of studying in the Netherlands. We also offer a pick-up service from Schiphol airport and an extensive introduction programme in August, consisting of sports activities and social and cultural events.

An International Student Advisor (ISA Bachelor's, ISA Master's) assigned to the faculty you are interested in will help you with the application procedure and any other information you may need. You can also contact the ISA with any questions you might have about your study programme. 

For those international students who wish to be prepared to enter the (Dutch) labour market after their study, VU International Office organizes various events and activities throughout the year such as the annual Career Event and CV workshops, Interview Training and Meet & Greets with companies.


Our campus is

  • a modern international campus, with student housing just a five minute bike ride away
  • situated in the middle of the most dynamic and fastest growing business districts in the Netherlands
  • within walking distance of all facilities
  • well connected to public transport
  • a 15 minute tram ride from the historic city centre
  • an 8 minute train journey away from Schiphol Airport
  • developingcontinuously to make VU University a more sustainable place to work and study: new sustainable research, new university buildings, while old buildings are refurbished to improve sustainability

Sustainable campus

VU University has a clear vision about sustainability. Core values are: stewardship for planet Earth and responsibility to achieve a sustainable future. Not only teaching and research programmes have a focus on sustainability but environmental sustainability is also a major consideration when construction and refurbishment activities are carried out. VU University offers several Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in the field of Sustainability & Energy, collectively known as Science for Sustainability. Flexibility, sustainability and cost consciousness are important drivers for the development of the Campus. New sustainable buildings are delivered according to BREEAM standards, the top of environmental sustainability assessments. Old buildings are refurbished to meet current sustainability standards as much as possible.


Free University Amsterdam on map:
Study programs at :
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 2351
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
StudyQA ranking: 1423
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
StudyQA ranking: 2033
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 1076
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
StudyQA ranking: 1219
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 1977
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
StudyQA ranking: 2115
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
StudyQA ranking: 2783
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
StudyQA ranking: 919
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 745
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 2.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 13.7k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 738
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 1.91k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 5.5k / Academic year(s)
StudyQA ranking: 1093
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Local:$ 4.08k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 11.7k / Academic year(s)
StudyQA ranking: 547
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Foreign:$ 15.3k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 1630
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Foreign:$ 15.3k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 840
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Foreign:$ 15.3k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 1631
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Foreign:$ 15.3k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 746
Study mode:On campus Languages: English
Foreign:$ 15.3k / Academic year(s)
Deadline: Apr 1, 2022 StudyQA ranking: 2222