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Social Programme for Semester in Amsterdam students

Join our social programme and meet your fellow students!

We offer an arrival and orientation programme as well as an extended social programme throughout the semester! All activities are free for Semester in Amsterdam students. Below you can find more information about the arrival programme as well as examples of activities we will offer throughout the semester.

Arrival, Introduction, and Social Programme

  • Arrival Day and Pre-Departure Webinar

    Fall 2024/2025 Arrival Day

    The Fall 2024/2025 Arrival Day for Semester in Amsterdam students is Friday 16 August. 

    Fall 2024/2025 Online Pre-Departure Webinar

    Date and time to be announced. Join us for our pre-departure webinar where we will cover everything you need to know before heading to Amsterdam, from practical arrangements to academic expectations and more. You will receive a link to join via e-mail a few days before the pre-departure webinar.

  • Choosing a Departure Date

    It is up to you and/or your home university or study abroad provider to determine a departure date. Many students choose to only take courses during the first two periods of the semester and leave before the last period. For the fall semester, this means you will leave in December before Christmas. For the spring semester, this means you will leave at the end of May/beginning of June. Please see the academic calendar for exact dates of the semesters.

  • Introduction and Orientation Programme

    Fall 2024 Semester

    VU Amsterdam is looking forward to welcoming all new international exchange students in August 2024! Your first days and weeks in Amsterdam will be filled with new experiences, new people and a few practical considerations too.

    In August we will organize an extensive introduction programme, including a Practical Matters Day and a social programme. The introduction programme will start in the week beginning on Monday 19 August.

    More information will be posted soon, also on our dedicated webpage for Introduction for Semester in Amsterdam students. 

    Additionally we are organizing orientation activities exclusively for Semester in Amsterdam students.

    Overnight Introduction Trip to Texel: 30-31 August

    Each semester, we organize a special overnight introduction trip just for Semester in Amsterdam students. For the Fall 2024 semester, we will be going to the beautiful island of Texel! Texel (pronounced as 'Tessel') is the largest and most populated island of the Wadden islands, also known as the Frisian Islands, located in the north of the Netherlands. Texel is famous for its sandy dunes, unique mudflats, nature reserves, and the Eierland lighthouse located at the northern tip of the island, which offers sweeping views of Texel and the North Sea. During our overnight introduction trip to Texel, you will have a chance to get to know your fellow students as well as the rich and dynamic culture of a unique part of the Netherlands, the Wadden Islands. This trip is mandatory and free for Semester in Amsterdam students.

    Introduction presentation: TBA 

    Consultation hour for Semester in Amsterdam students: TBA 

  • Social Activities Throughout the Semester

    Spring 2024

    Below you can find the social programme for the Spring 2024 semester. Please note that some activities and dates are still to be determined. Also note that spots for each activity are limited and awarded on a first-come, first serve basis. You can expect to receive a sign-up form via email before each event. All activities are free for Semester in Amsterdam students. 

    • 12 March: Visit to the Anne Frank House. Together we will visit the Anne Frank House, located on Prinsengracht in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Amsterdam. It can be difficult to book tickets for the Anne Frank House and sometimes reservations need to be made months in advance, so we encourage you to join this event if you plan to visit the Anne Frank House during your semester.
    • 18 April: Visit to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. We will go on a day trip to the Hague, the political capital of the Netherlands, to visit to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is the main international criminal court dealing with the most serious international crimes, such as genocide and war crimes, including brutal cases of crimes against humanity in recent history. During the tour, we will learn about the history and organization of the court as well as some of the most infamous cases that have been dealt with over the years.
    • 17 May: Day trip to Alkmaar Cheese market and Cheese Museum
    • 23 May: Farewell Boat Tour. To mark the end of the semester and say our last goodbyes, we will go on a boat tour of the city center and the famous seventeenth-century canal rings. This may also be your last chance to see some of your fellow students and, if you have not yet done a canal cruise in Amsterdam, it is not to be missed!

    Fall 2024/25

    To be announced.

  • Dutch Buddy Programme

    There is no better way to instantly meet local students than by joining the Dutch Buddy Programme!

    A buddy is a student at VU Amsterdam who can introduce you to the Dutch way of life. As a participant in the programme, you will be part of a group of approximately 75 buddies and more than 250 fellow international students. Most buddies will be Dutch students; a few will be international students who have been living in Amsterdam for a while already.

    Each semester, the Buddy Programme organizes a free schedule of events including a karaoke night, pub quiz, and more. Some buddy groups also organize their own activities or pair up with other buddy groups. You will be invited to sign up for a buddy about one month before arrival.  

    What can you expect from a buddy? A buddy will be able to:

    • help you get settled during your first weeks by answering practical questions related to living in Amsterdam and by showing you around town;
    • help you with academic issues, such as university life, teaching styles, class schedules, campus set-up, how to prepare for exams, etc.;
    • introduce you to Dutch culture by visiting friends and families, and perhaps he or she will show you their home town;
    • join you during the social activities organized as part of the Buddy programme (picnic, pubquiz, karaoke, etc.).

    It is important to note that a buddy works on a voluntary basis. A buddy is not a professional or an employee at the university. For matters related to VU housing, visa, course registration, etc., or for urgent (privacy-sensitive) issues, you should contact the Semester in Amsterdam team (or your study abroad provider, if applicable).

    Please note that the buddy programme works best if all participants are enthusiastic, active and present during the social activities. We strive to match as many international students to buddies, however we cannot guarantee that everyone will be allocated a buddy during their stay in Amsterdam.

    Please contact with any questions you may have.

  • Student Associations

    Here you can find links to all of the non-faculty student associations. Non-faculty student associations are clubs not affiliated with a particular faculty. This means you also get to know students from different study programmes.

    Students are also encouraged to become a member of ESN, the Erasmus Student Network. ESN organises social events and weekend trips for international students. Also, don't forget to sign up for the ESN Introduction Weekend before the start of each semester! 

Questions? Please don't hesitate to contact us!

Semester in Amsterdam is a separate programme from the Exchange programme at VU Amsterdam. If you have been nominated by your home university for Exchange and your university is a partner of VU Amsterdam, please contact Are you currently a student of another Dutch university wishing to register for a minor? Please contact the student desk at

Send us a message

The easiest way to reach us is via e-mail at We normally reply within a few working days. During busy periods it may take longer to receive a response.

Schedule an online appointment

Are you a current or prospective student and you have a question that you would like to discuss with a member of the Semester in Amsterdam team? You can schedule a 15-minute online appointment with us on Tuesdays between 1 and 2 PM, Dutch standard time. Please use our online tool to schedule an appointment.