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Anthropology, VU Amsterdam

Social and Cultural Anthropology

'Immerse yourself in familiar and unknown worlds'

Anthropology is the science that understands and explains society and culture. We do this not just from our own cultural  perspectives, but through the eyes of others. The overarching goal of our science is to make the world a safe place for everyone. This is what makes Anthropology special.

At VU Anthropology our Staff produce internationally leading research and we are doing research all over the world, together with our local partners. We aim to answer the most urgent questions of today's world. We do so through our research programme Mobilities, Beliefs & Belonging (MOBB) and by ‘applying anthropology’ in practice.

At VU we offer two main degree programmes in English language: Bachelor's and Master's, as well as a Pre-master's programme. Our MSc has two branches the professional anthropology and the general social and cultural anthropology. 

In 2024 National Student Survey (NSE) our Master was ranked top of the Netherlands, whilst all our programmes have been ranked as the best of the country repeatedly in NSE over the recent years. Our Bachelor is also available in Dutch.

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Read: VU Anthroplogy's blog


Our curriculum has a broad focus, with the whole world as our 'field'. Our graduates are working globally in different fields from NGOs and International Organisations to State apparatusses and private sector.

Read more about our education.


Our researchers are working all over the world. We consider it of the utmost importance to answer the most urgent questions of today's world. 

Read more about our research.

Meet the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Department head Freek Colombijn, associate professor Luisa Schneider and PhD student Dewi Meyrasyawati talk about the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology in this video. The department enjoys collaborating with external partners, not only for research purposes, but also to make the world a better place. In addition, the department values the inclusion of younger people in new research.

Examining social issues through someone else's eyes

Anthropologist Luisa Schneider researches intimacy, violence and law in Germany and Sierra Leone. In her research, she lives with people on their terms. "I have lived with homeless people on the streets and worked with people struggling with addiction and mental health in Germany." She examines social issues from the perspective of those who are affected by them.

In the spotlight

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