Food and drink

Meatless Monday

The kitchen of the restaurant in the Main Building has introduced Meatless Mondays. Meatless Monday is part of the Better Tomorrow plan (Sodexo sustainability policy). This means that vegetarian dishes will be displayed more prominently on Mondays, and meat and fish dishes less so.

First Fairtrade university

In 2011, we were declared the first Fairtrade University in the Netherlands; it places much value on offering a sustainable range of catering options. The title is testament to the importance attached by the university to fair trade. The steering group of the ‘Fairtrade Gemeente’ campaign found that VU Amsterdam met the organization’s strict campaign criteria.


During the tendering process, sustainability was one of the factors considered by VU Amsterdam in its selection and assessment of its catering partner. The ‘Fair2Food’ concept has been introduced in every restaurant and lunch corner. This sustainable food concept is specially geared towards students.

Sustainability certification

At least 40% of the range consists of organic products or products with one or more sustainability features, such as the EKO certification label, the Max Havelaar certification label or the ‘recognized regional product’ certification label. Any food served from buffets that has any of the above certification labels is clearly marked as such.

We imposed stricter environmental requirements on our suppliers when the vending contract was renewed in 2017.  All hot drinks dispensers feature self-learning software that tracks how often they are used throughout the day in order to establish when they are used the least. This obviates the need for the dispensers to be on when there is no demand for hot drinks, such as at night or during weekends. The coffee in the machines meets the supplier’s Impact@orgin initiative. This means that the coffee is roasted and packaged where it is grown, rather than in Western Europe. Much of the value chain has relocated to the country of origin, thereby helping the local economy to develop.

Standards with regard to animal welfare

With regard to animal welfare, the caterer must comply with national guidelines. For example, a large part of the meat consists of meat products with a 2 or 3 star Beter Leven quality mark. The caterer also has an MSC certification for sustainable wild-caught fish, as well as an ASC certification for sustainably farmed fish.