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About the University of Amsterdam
The University of Amsterdam (abbreviated as UvA, Dutch: Universiteit van Amsterdam) is a public university located inAmsterdam, Netherlands.
Established in 1632 by municipal authorities and later renamed for the city of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam is the third-oldest university in the Netherlands. It is one of the largest research universities in Europe with 31,186 students, 4,794 staff, 1,340 PhD students and an annual budget of €600 million. It is the largest university in the Netherlands by enrollment. The main campus is located in central Amsterdam, with a few faculties located in adjacent boroughs. The university is organised into seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Science, Law, Medicine, and Dentistry.
The University of Amsterdam has produced six Nobel Laureates and five prime ministers of the Netherlands. In 2014, it was ranked 50th in the world, 15th in Europe, and 1st in the Netherlands by the QS World University Rankings. The university placed in the top 50 worldwide in seven fields in the 2011 QS World University Rankings in the fields of linguistics, sociology, philosophy,geography, science, economics & econometrics, and accountancy & finance.
Close ties are harbored with other institutions internationally through its membership in the League of European Research Universities (LERU), the Institutional Network of the Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA), European University Association (EUA), the International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP), and Universitas 21.
Faculty of Economics and Business
Education at UvA Economics and Business falls under two Schools: The Amsterdam Business School (ABS) and Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE).
These schools offer three-year bachelor’s programmes and one-year master’s programmes in Economics and Business, Fiscal Economics, Econometrics and Operational Research, and – as the only institution in the Netherlands – Actuarial Sciences.
Both schools also offer post-doctorate programmes and other forms of education such as custom-made programmes for companies, master classes, professional training courses, and lectures. Due to its international orientation, many of the programmes offered are in English and UvA Economics and Business features many international students and lecturers.
Faculty of Humanities
The result of a merger between the Faculties of Arts, Philosophy and Theology in 1997, the Faculty of Humanities not only houses an assortment of established and respected disciplines, including Foreign Languages, Dutch Studies, History, Archaeology, Theatre Studies and Philosophy, but also such pioneering research fields as New Media, Digital Humanities, and Conservation and Restoration. In keeping with the traditions of a classically broad university, the Faculty offers a large variety of study programmes at a national level, whilst also striving for renewal by way of innovative research, intensive collaboration and an interdisciplinary approach. In addition, the Faculty has set its sights on internationalisation and the expansion of its English-taught education.
Faculty of Law
The Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam favours an international and interdisciplinary approach. Many staff members practice law, while others maintain ties to the corporate world. Law clinics provide students both a chance to give back to the community and to gain practical experience.
With nearly 4300 students and 400 staff, the Faculty of Law is one of the largest law schools in the Netherlands.
Faculty of Medicine
The University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC) provide study programmes for almost all recognised medical specialisms within the Faculty of Medicine. The AMC is one of eight university medical centres in the Netherlands and is one of the leading international centres in the field of academic medicine. As a university medical centre, the AMC has three main tasks:
- treatment of patients
- academic medical research
- providing medical education.
Faculty of Science
Students and researchers at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain. With education and research in mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, logic and computer science, we are fully immersed in the entire spectrum of the sciences. To fully benefit from local expertise and facilities, we collaborate intensively with the science faculties at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences enjoys a prominent standing within the social sciences sector in Europe and is the largest educational and research institution in the social and behavioural sciences in Europe. The Faculty is home to seven departments: Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Psychology, Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, and Child Development and Education.
History of UvA
On 8 January 1632, Gerardus Vossius opened the Athenaeum Illustre, the predecessor of the University of Amsterdam, with his inaugural lecture ‘De historiae utilitate’ (On the usefulness of history). The next day, Caspar Barlaeus gave his famous lecture on the wise merchant, ‘Mercator Sapiens’. It was with these two professors, who were already well known figures in the international world of learning, that the history of the University of Amsterdam started around four centuries ago.
Vossius came to Amsterdam from the University of Leiden, where he had become a renowned scholar. The City seems to have been very keen to tempt him to join the Athenaeum, as they offered him an annual salary of 2600 guilders, making him the best paid professor in the Republic of the United Netherlands. Barlaeus, on his part, was a celebrated orator and poet who was also at home in the academic environment.
Barlaeus’s inaugural lecture was an ode to the City government, which had the wisdom to bring together successful tradesmanship and letters and philosophy within the Athenaeum. The bond that was forged then between the University and the City would always remain strong in the centuries to come.
Agnietenkapel, the heart of the university
The place where Vossius and Barleaus held their inaugural lectures was the former chapel of the convent of St. Agnes, which had come into the possession of the city government in 1578. The many lectures the scholars held there in the years that followed proved very popular. Apart from students, visitors also came from far and wide to attend their public lessons. This meant the Agnietenkapel was often full.
From its small beginnings, when the students of the Athenaeum numbered in the dozens, the University has now grown into an internationally oriented institution with around 30,000 students. The Agnietenkapel is still the heart of the UvA, however, as it forms the backdrop to many academic events including PhD conferrals, inaugural lectures and symposia.
Change of name and status in 1815
In 1815 the Athenaeum Illustre was officially recognised as an institution of higher education, and in 1877 the City of Amsterdam, which provided its funding, elevated it to the status of University of Amsterdam. From that date, professors were appointed by the City Council, and it became possible for doctorates to be conferred. This attracted many renowned scientists (and future Nobel laureates) to Amsterdam, including Gerardus van ’t Hoff, Hugo de Vries and Johannes van der Waals.
The University was growing. New faculties, subjects and specialisms were added, and between 1917 and 1931 student numbers increased from 1100 to 2500. After WWII the UvA soon became the Netherlands’ largest university, with 7100 students in the academic year 1950-1951. The 1960s saw another expansion in the number of people going to University, and by 1970 the UvA had 25,000 students.
The UvA’s status of municipal university came to an end in 1961, and from then on funding was mainly provided by the national government. Professors were no longer appointed by the City, but by the Executive Board.
Almost four centuries after its founding, the UvA has grown into a University with a leading reputation in the international world of science. Its seven faculties are home to 30,000 students and 5,000 staff from over a hundred different countries.
The university is accredited by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
- On a subject basis the QS World University Rankings ranked the university in the top 75 in four out of five of the domains: Social Sciences & Management (41), Arts & Humanities (43), Life Sciences & Medicine (69) and Natural Sciences (75).
- The Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked the University of Amsterdam 30th in Arts & Humanities and 40th in Social Sciences, making it the highest ranking Dutch university in these fields and the highest ranking continental European university in the Social Sciences.
- The CHE Excellence Ranking rated the school excellent in all seven categories for research, making it the only Dutch institution to accomplish this distinction.
- According to the Research Performance Index, also known as the High Impact Universities ranking, UvA ranked 65th in the world for Arts, Humanities, Business, and Social Sciences, 43rd for Medicine, 127 for Natural Science and Mathematics, 88th for Engineering and Technology, and 71st for Life Sciences.
- The University of Amsterdam is ranked 58th in the 2015-16 THE World University Rankings.
- In 2015, the UvA was listed in the 101-150 group in the worldwide top 500 ARWU ranking.
Student Life at UvA
At UvA, students can choose from many student organizations, athletic activities, and student services. These include the ASVA Student Union, CREA Cultural Center, the newly constructed University Sports Center, and the Agora and Atrium student restaurants. In addition, the university provides religious services, career counseling, the International Student Network (ISN), counseling, disability services, and student health services.The students are represented in the different faculty student councils and the central student council.
The University Sports Center (USC) offers over 50 sports activities at discount rates for UvA students and staff including Ice skating, tennis, rowing, aerobics, swimming, dancing, golf, and even skiing.
The CREA Cultural Center organizes courses, working groups and projects in drama, music, dance, photography, film, and visual arts. It also contains a bar and a theater.
The primary mode of transport for students is by bicycle. The city of Amsterdam also has various public transportation options available to students. These include the Metro, trams, nightbusses, and ferries.
Life in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a colourful and lively city. With some 800,000 inhabitants (as compared to London's 7.5 million and Paris's 10 million), it has all the advantages of a major metropolitan centre while retaining a cosy, small-scale feel.
Amsterdam boasts beautiful architecture and over 150 canals, lending the city its characteristic shape and atmosphere. It is full of museums, art galleries, theatres, concert halls and many lovely parks, which serve as the inhabitants’ gardens in summer. The city is home to world famous music, opera, theatre and dance companies, as well as many internationally recognised visual artists.
Services of UvA
The Amsterdam University Library has an impressive stock of approximately four million volumes, and special collections of rare manuscripts, letters and maps. The collection is free for all university staff and students, and spread across 20 locations and a large book depot.The library locations and study centres offer over 2,600 study places, 1,100 of which are equipped with a PC. The study rooms at Singel have the longest opening hours, including evenings and weekends. Bring your own laptop: all locations offer wireless internet.
Culture and sport
The University of Amsterdam offers a wide variety of activities to students and staff in the areas of culture and sport.
CREA has a wide range of courses and workshops in art, music and media. The university's sport facility (USC) offers a wide range of sport activities at a variety of locations throughout Amsterdam.
Museums and Special Collections
The University holds a number of collections, ranging from historical artefacts to rare books and manuscripts, and from computer hardware to anatomical specimens. You can view a number of these collections in the museums listed below. You can also take a look at the growing collection of images available online.
Allard Pierson Museum
The collection of the Allard Pierson Museum includes a diverse range of antiquities from the ancient civilisations of ancient Egypt, the Near East, the Greek World, Etruria and the Roman Empire. The museum organises regular exhibitions and other activities such as lectures.
The Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam
The Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam include extensive collections of early printed books, modern special editions and manuscripts, as well as maps, prints, posters and photographs.
The Special Collections regularly organise special exhibitions and other events and activities open to the public.
University History Collection
The University History Collection contains objects from the fields of art and science, historical documentation and archives from the Athenaeum Illustre and the University of Amsterdam, and historical records of student life going back to the founding of the UvA in 1632 right up to the present. In addition, the curator is the contact person for the University's faculty collections.
The Computer Museum has a unique collection of historical computers and calculators.
Museum Vrolik's collection includes more than ten thousand anatomical and embryological specimens, human and animal skeletons and skulls, and anatomical models and reconstructions.
The university offers student housing through non-profit Housing Corporations not owned by UvA. The Housing Corporations offer apartment-style housing in the City Center, Zuid, Oost, West, Zuid-Oost, and Amsterdam-Noord bouroghs of Amsterdam as well as in the suburb of Diemen. Single rooms with private facilities (kitchen, bathroom), single rooms with shared facilities, shared rooms with shared facilities, and couples rooms are available. Students of the opposite sex are permitted to be roommates in all types of rooms. Rooms are anywhere from a few minutes to 45 minutes bike ride to the City Center.