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The VU Strategy 2020–2025 contains nine strategic aspirations. The profile themes reflect our substantive focus. The priority areas guide our actions.

Since 2020, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a new strategic plan: VU Amsterdam Strategy 2020–2025. In this strategic plan, we focus on three priority areas that guide our actions: sustainable, enterprising and diverse. Our four profile themesConnected World, Governance for Society, Human Health and Life Sciences and Science for Sustainability – serve as our substantive compass.

Our nine strategic aspirations


1. Developing future-proof forms of education.

2. Enhancing Lifelong Learning.


3. Strengthening the profile themes and our research focus.

4. Improving our scientific reputation.

Knowledge transfer

5. Increasing our impact through educational and research activities.

Operational management

6. Developing a balanced system of recognition and reward.

7. Further digitalisation for even better primary processes.

8. Developing a bustling and innovative campus.

9. Investing in an effective and agile organisation.

VU Amsterdam Strategy 2020-2025

At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, we aim to contribute to a better world through our education, research and operations. Since our foundation, the university has stood for values-driven academics with a strong focus on society. The VU Strategy 2020-2025 helps us to further strengthen our identity and to create even greater social impact.

Three priority areas

  • Diverse

    How can we embrace individual differences in a way that leads to greater equity, creativity and talent development?

    Diversity is part of our identity and it is one of our priority areas. At VU Amsterdam, we believe that diversity contributes to the quality of education and research and strengthens collaborations. We challenge everyone to bridge differences, think freely and be open to the uniqueness of others.

    Take a look at our road map or contact Ruard Ganzevoort and Nathalie Janssen for more information.

  • Sustainable

    How can we act more sustainably when it comes to the environment, people, the economy, and culture?

    The climate crisis is one of the great challenges of our time and we take our responsibility by contributing to a liveable and sustainable world. That is why sustainable is a priority area of VU Amsterdam. It goes beyond the environment and includes people, the economy and culture.

    Take a look at our road map or contact Ivar Maas for more information.

  • Enterprising

    How can we seize opportunities, take risks and experiment in a way that creates added value for society?

    VU Amsterdam encourages and facilitates an enterprising attitude among our students and staff. The VU campus is an inspiring place where academics, students, start-ups, scale-ups and civil society organisations work toward a better world.

    Take a look at our road map or contact Erik Boer for more information.

Nine strategic aspirations

  • Future-proof forms of education

    How do you not just become something, but someone?

    VU Amsterdam encourages students, academics and professionals to be open-minded. To be people with A Broader Mind who expand their perspective academically, develop themselves personally and engage socially. This helps us bridge conflicts, find sustainable solutions and work toward a better world.

    Take a look at our road map or contact Erna Klein Ikkink for more information.

  • Lifelong Development

    How do we ensure that professionals know how to approach VU Amsterdam for questions about their professional development? And how do we create a professional organisation that matches the needs of this target audience?

    The labour market is changing enormously. Fewer and fewer people continue to do the same thing all their lives. The need to continually develop yourself is increasing. Organisations are also looking for partners for the continuing education of their employees. VU Amsterdam offers professionals countless courses and degree programmes for lifelong development.

    Take a look at our road map or contact Brendy Boogaard for more information.

  • Profile themes

    How can we make more meaningful connections in a world where not everyone benefits from digitalisation and globalisation? How can we contribute to the resilience of democratic governance in organisations and societies? How can we promote health and wellbeing, taking into account the whole person in his or her social environment? And how can we create an ecologically healthy, socially just and economically viable world for current and future generations?

    VU Amsterdam has four outstanding profile themes: Connected World, Governance for Society, Human Health and Life Sciences and Science for Sustainability. These profile themes are closely linked to our identity and refer to the social domains in which we work toward a better world through education, research and knowledge transfer.

    Take a look at our road map or contact Peter Beek for more information.

  • Academic reputation

    How can we showcase even more clearly that our research contributes to solutions to social issues?

    VU Amsterdam has a strong profile based on its academic and societal impact. In prominent international rankings, we are among the world's top universities.

    Take a look at our road map or contact the Strategy Team for more information.

  • Entrepreneurship and impact

    How do we become an entrepreneurial university?

    An entrepreneurial mindset is essential for a thriving university, now and in the future. This drives us to acknowledge and value education, research and knowledge transfer equally and to strive for effective and adequate support of knowledge transfer. Entrepreneurship and an enterprising attitude must be second nature to our students and staff. And our VU campus is the innovation hub in the Zuidas Innovation District, the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam and beyond.

    Take a look at our road map or contact Erik Boer for more information.

  • Recognise and reward

    How do we create space to develop academic talents?

    We are used to our current way of working when it comes to recognising and rewarding our academic work. It has become our ‘own’, to the point that it is often no longer noticeable. VU Amsterdam stands for a rewarding and hiring policy that fit with the VU mission, the university’s identity and its ambitions. We recognise and reward commitment to education, research, knowledge transfer, open science and leadership in which working collaboratively is a central theme. By devoting ourselves to the accessibility of various career paths, we create space for every VU researcher to develop their own specific talents and to make a difference.

    Take a look at our road map or contact the Strategy Team for more information.

  • Digitalisation

    How do we make our education pliable to allow for tailored learning?

    Digitalisation is essential to realise the VU aspirations regarding education, research and knowledge transfer. It creates opportunities for collaboration and innovation, and contributes to the development of an effective and agile organisation. Digitalisation therefore not only offers a strategic prospect, but also functions as the red thread in our education, our research and our operational management. Digitalisation takes shape in various ways: from flexible (hybrid) education and open science to the modern digital workplace.

    Take a look at our Digital Strategy 2025 (Dutch) or contact the Strategy Team for more information or for questions about the road map.

  • Social campus

    How can we make the campus – the heart of our academic community –livelier and more bustling?

    VU Amsterdam aims to stimulate curiosity about our academic operations. On the VU campus, anybody can gain new experiences. Beyond study and work, we offer intellectual deepening in the form of music, events, film, sports, theatre, social activities, visual arts or a combination thereof. For those who want to contribute, can: by visiting, participating and organising. The social campus is our second home where everybody feels welcome.

    Take a look at our road map or contact Stefan Titus for more information.

  • Effective and agile

    Contact Nynke Rodenhuis for more information or questions about the road map.


  • Project organisation

    Core teams
    Each of VU Amsterdam’s three priority areas and nine strategic aspirations has a core team, headed by a team leader. The core team is responsible for translating the objectives from our strategy into concrete initiatives and projects as well as for supervising their implementation.

    Working groups
    Each core team will form one or more working groups to work out the finer details and the implementation of initiatives and projects.

    Team leaders
    Each of the core teams is led by a team leader (or project leader). These VU employees have been given a substantial amount of time to manage the implementation process of their priority area or strategic aspiration and are the connecting link to the line organisation.

    Strategy Team
    A strategy team has been set up to provide overall coordination and to support the implementation of the strategy.

    • Programme Director: Bart van Leijen
    • Policy: Nynke Rodenhuis
    • Organisation & Financing: Tim Mensink
    • Communication: Omayra Mac Donald
    • Secretariat: Merijn Sligting
  • Working method

    We are using a specific method for the implementation of the strategy: the Do One Thing method (DOT method). The basic principle of this method is to work intensively on a limited number of projects (DOTs) over periods of five months and to deliver a concrete end result. This method helps us to prioritise and concretise.

    At the end of each period, we organise a strategy meeting in which we look back on the results and set road maps with new priorities for the upcoming period. The road maps show our plans and objectives for the three priority areas and nine strategic aspirations.

  • Results

    An overview of the most important results so far are listed in VU Strategy Times #1 (2020), VU Strategy Times #2 (2021) and VU Strategy Times #3 (2023). You can also view our midterm review (October 2022, in Dutch) and our annual report.

Would you like to learn more about or contribute to the implementation of the VU Strategy?

Please feel free to contact us.

Feel free to drop by the office of the strategy team. We're on the VU Campus, first floor of the W&N building, room C0-47.