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Safety at VU Amsterdam

Our university has an open and welcoming campus, and we play an active role in identifying, preventing and mitigating security risks.

Check wat you can do: 

  • Always report inappropriate conduct
    What can you do if you experience or witness inappropriate or transgressive behaviour? Any form of behaviour or communication that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe is worth reporting. To report this kind of behaviour, or to ask a question, please read the information on VUweb.
  • Phishing
    Phishing emails ‘fish’ for confidential information. Phishing can happen by telephone, by text, on websites or on social media. The e-mails often contain a link to confirm login details. Criminals can then use these details to steal money from your bank account.
    Criminals can also use e-mail attachments that have been deliberately infected, and recent years have even seen the emergence of so-called ransomware. It is used by criminals to block access to your files or even your entire computer. Phishing e-mails are deliberately written in a way that encourages you to click on them (after all, who wants to miss an invoice?). The attachment contains a code that connects to the internet, infecting your computer with a virus. Access to your computer is blocked and any stored files can only be decoded if you pay a certain amount of money to the cybercriminals.
    You should be alert to any unexpected e-mails that you receive in your VU Amsterdam e-mail. Whatever you do, don’t open any attachments or click on links in these e-mails. If you have already clicked on a link or have doubts about whether an e-mail is genuine, you should contact the IT Service Desk at (020 59) 80 000. Please note: the IT Service Desk will never ask you by e-mail to change your password or verify your account.
    Take the test: do you think you can recognize phishing e-mails? Take the test (in Dutch). 
  • Secure log-in in two steps
    With effect from 25 May, new legal requirements will apply to the protection of personal data. Under these new requirements, VU Amsterdam must ensure that sensitive and personal data is even better secured.
    Every employee of VU Amsterdam and the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam uses the university’s digital applications containing personal or sensitive information. One example of this is your webmail and the e-mails it contains. When you log in to webmail, VU Amsterdam wants to ensure that you are not just somebody else who is pretending to be you. At the same time, you want to be sure that your privacy at the university is secure. 
    For a number of digital applications, employees of VU Amsterdam will therefore need to log in using an additional verification step. How will that work? After logging in with your VUnetID and password, you will also be asked to identify yourself digitally using an app on your smartphone or using a USB key that slots into your computer.
    In the first instance, the extra security step will apply to logging in to webmail. VU Amsterdam is currently looking at which digital applications will need a two-step login in the future.
  • Stuff gone missing? VU Amsterdam Security will listen.
    Main Building KC-04, or call 85854 or 020-5985854 > What to do in the event of loss or theft
  • Are you a smombie?
    The word ‘smombie’ is a contraction of ‘smartphone’ and ‘zombie’. This is someone who is so focused on their smartphone that they are almost entirely unaware of what is happening around them. The term ‘smombie’ sounds kind of cute. But just take a look at these videos and you’ll see what can happen to smartphone junkies in the hectic traffic on and around the VU Campus: Video clip 1 & video clip 2.
    Don’t retreat into a world of your own. Be actively involved in the traffic!
  • Are you prepared?
    Add the VU Amsterdam-emergency number 020-5982222 to your contacts. 
  • VU house rules

Safety at VU Amsterdam

  • VU campus safety is assured trough various measures
    • 24-hour CCTV surveillance in and around university buildings.
    • 24-hour security on campus, and most buildings also have hostesses. The security staff and the hostesses are hospitable and vigilant and are trained to spot and report different situations and circumstances. 
    • For questions or notifications, employees, students and visitors can contact all receptions or hostesses in the buildings and to the Security Desk located in the basement of the VU Main Building (KC-04).
  • VU emergency contact numbers and campus evacuation plan


    • VU emergency number (internal): extension 22222
    • VU emergency number (external): +31 (0)20 59 222 22
    • National emergency number: 112

    Other situations

    • VU Campus Security (internal): extension 85854
    • VU Campus Security (external): +31 (0)20 598 58 54
    • No emergency but in need of police assistance, call: 0900 8844

    Do you want to make a report in person? Get in touch with Campus Security in the VU Main Building.

    In the event of an emergency:

    1. Break the emergency seal on the nearest alarm.
    2. Call the emergency number 22222 or 020 59 22222.
    3. Report your name, phone number, location and type of emergency. 
    4. Close doors and windows.
    5. If possible: use a fire extinguisher or fire hose to extinguish any fire.
    6. Stay with any victim(s) until help arrives.
    7. Follow the instructions of security staff or local emergency responders.

    Read more about escaping buildings safely in case of emergency.

    Z card 

    This Z card is a convenient overview of all numbers and instructions such as escape routes and assembly points in the event of an emergency or evacuation. Keep this card in an easily accessible place.

    Eight tips to prevent incidents

    1. Always wear your ID badge and keep it visible.
    2. Approach strangers in your department and ask who they have an appointment with.
    3. Bring as few valuables as possible to work.
    4. Do not leave valuables in plain sight; take them with you or place them in a locked room.
    5. Do not leave confidential information unattended.
    6. Lock your mobile phone, laptop, tablet and PC with a strong PIN code or password.
    7. Make sure others do not have the login credentials for your devices.
    8. Log out of your PC or laptop and close windows and doors when you leave, even if only momentarily.
  • VU campus safety and security reporting centre

    In addition to emergency situations, other situations in which employees or students might not feel safe are also conceivable. A Campus Safety and Security Reporting Centre has been set up for reporting unsafe situations. Any reports of incidents of social injustice or physical abuse or injury, unsafe situations or threats made in person or online can be reported to this office or on this hotline and will be treated as confidential. You will always receive a reply. Appropriate measures are taken to resolve the situation where possible and prevent repetition. The Campus Safety and Security Reporting Centre is also used to monitor the sense of security on campus. In addition, in the context of shared responsibility, active cooperation has commenced with external bodies such as the police and the municipality.

  • Safe social setting on campus

    The VU campus is an open and welcoming place. We therefore work actively to identify, prevent and mitigate security risks and incidents. We seek to guarantee everyone’s safety using integrated safety management. Appropriate conduct is an integral aspect of creating a safe and pleasant environment. VU Amsterdam does not tolerate any form of discrimination, intimidation, bullying, sexual harassment or other behaviours that violate our Principles. These constitute undesirable conduct, and they have no place at VU Amsterdam.

    To report an unsafe situation or for questions
    Any form of behaviour or communication that makes you feel unsafe or that makes you afraid is worth reporting. To report this kind of behaviour, or to ask a question, contact: 

    You can also send a WhatsApp message. Reports can be made anonymously and will of course remain confidential. VU Amsterdam has its own Undesirable Conduct Expert Team. The team member are university employees whose own areas of expertise correspond to the safety themes. Where necessary, and with your consent, we can discuss the situation with one or more members of the Undesirable Conduct Expert Team. We also liaise regularly with external partners such as the local police and municipal authorities.

  • Integrated safety managment vision

    Within Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam there is an Integrated Safety Management Committee. This committee aims to identify and weigh risks and take measures to make them manageable. This Integrated Safety Management Vision (PDF) states, among other things, that security is a shared responsibility and that VU Amsterdam has a broad duty of care. This duty of care applies in the first place to the buildings and surroundings on and near the VU Amsterdam Campus, as well as to the student accommodations at Uilenstede. VU Amsterdam is connected to the Uilenstede security platform.

    Naturally, university staff and students have a role to play in ensuring a secure and safe campus. There are various safety awareness campaigns, including the “Together we can keep VU Amsterdam safe" campaign. In addition, there are also workshops on spotting “alarming conduct" for student counsellors and academic advisors. In this regard, awareness and a framework for action are also important.

  • Information security

    The Security and Operations Control Center of VU Amsterdam investigates and coordinates matters pertaining to information security incidents involving staff, students and/or systems at VU Amsterdam. This applies to incidents that appear to have originated within VU Amsterdam, and incidents whereby the university is the victim.

    In the event of a breach of security (or a suspected breach of security), you should contact SOCC immediately at