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When you arrive

Your first days and weeks in Amsterdam will be filled with new experiences, new people and a few practical considerations too.

Moving to another country to start a degree programme can be quite exciting. On this webpage, we give you more information on how to get started once you have arrived. More information about the necessary steps to take before travelling to the country can be found in our FAQ for (prospective) international students

For more information about the introduction period, please see the following web pages:

Note: unfortunately we can not organise physical arrival days this year because of COVID-19, despite what was mentioned in the Getting Started Guide. All the information with regards to your arrival can be found on this webpage, and will be updated once information changes.

  • Travelling to the Netherlands

We strongly advise you to look at this checklist by the Dutch government before you decide to travel to the Netherlands. The status of your country may change, therefore please consult this government website regularly for the latest information.

In general, all non-EU students can travel to the Netherlands with a valid entry visa (MVV) or the IND approval letter (in Dutch: ‘kennisgevingsbrief’) stating that you will receive a residence permit. Did you already receive a message that your application has been approved but you do not hold the IND letter yet? Please contact studentimmigration@vu.nl in that case.

  • Self-quarantine

Whether you need to self-quarantine depends on the status of the country you travel from. For travelers from certain countries a self-quarantine is mandatory.  Therefore please check the Dutch government website carefully for the requirements that apply to you. If you get tested on day 5 you might be able to shorten the quarantine period. You can make an appointment to get tested once you are in the Netherlands by calling 0800 1202. For students who need to order food or other essentials during quarantine, we created an information sheet on how and where to do so. 

  • First arrival in the Netherlands

Amsterdam's airport is called 'Amsterdam Airport Schiphol', and is located in the south-west of Amsterdam. Schiphol created a special landing page with commonly asked questions about travel through the airport, and measures that are currently in place to protect travellers due to the COVID-19 virus. 

  • Public transport and taxi

From Schiphol, you can easily travel to VU Amsterdam's campus, or to your student accommodation. In the Netherlands, it is still mandatory to wear a non-medical face mask when using public transport or riding in a taxi, so make sure to bring one. More information about public transport in the Netherlands can be found here. It is also possible to make a reservation for a taxi in advance. 

  • Directions

These directions have Schiphol as the starting point. In case you arrive somewhere else (for example train station Amsterdam Central), please use the 9292 app (available in English) to plan your route. You can find it in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.
- Directions to VU Amsterdam's campus   
- Directions to Uilenstede (DUWO Amstelveeen)
- Directions to Ravel Residence
- Directions to Amstel Home

  • Your first days

During your first days in the city, there are some practical matters to take care off. We created an overview with the steps you need to take, which can be found below. Under these steps is also an extra overview with other useful information.

  • Vaccinations

In terms of vaccinations, all students living in the Netherlands, both Dutch and International, and after being registered with the municipality (getting a BSN/BRP registration) are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. Here you can find the vaccine scheme of the Dutch Government. We advise you to register a.s.a.p. after a possible quarantine period. We made a PDF with the directions from VU Amsterdam to the vaccination location most nearby, which is called Amsterdam RAI.

  • Availability of self-tests

The Dutch government offers the possibility to use self-tests in higher education to detect infections quicker, prevent COVID-19 outbreaks and improve overall health. Students in higher education can order self-tests free of charge until the end of August at www.zelftestonderwijs.nl. You can log in using your VU-net ID. Self-testing is voluntary. You do not have to show proof of a negative test result to gain access to the campus. 

Practical arrangements

  • Step 1: Collect your room key
    • If you rent an accommodation via VU Amsterdam, the housing providers will inform you via e-mail how and where you will receive the key to your room.
    • If you rent an accommodation on the private market, you will have to make arrangements with your landlord yourself.

    To be able to pick up your keys, you need to have signed your tenancy agreement and paid the amount due.

  • Step 2: Register with the municipality

    If you will stay in the Netherlands for more than four months, then you need to register with the local authorities, also called the municipality. If you are going to live at student campus Uilenstede, you need to register at the municipality of Amstelveen.

    More information about registering with the municipality can be found here.

  • Step 3: Set up a bank account (if necessary)

    You will need to have an IBAN bank account in order to arrange your day-to-day activities in the Netherlands. As an EU/EEA student, you do not need a Dutch bank account. If you are a non-EU/EEA student, you need to make an appointment at a bank office in order to get a student account.

    More information about setting up a bank account can be found here.

  • Step 4: Pick the right insurance

    It is important that you are properly insured during your time in the Netherlands. To simplify the business of arranging suitable insurance during your time in the Netherlands, it is advisable to consult your current insurance company and explain that you will be studying abroad for a semester or an entire academic year.

    More information about possible insurances can be found here.

  • Step 5: Register with a General Practitioner (GP)

    As a student at VU Amsterdam living in Amsterdam or in the surrounding areas such as Amstelveen/Uilenstede, you will be able to register with the GP at the University General Practice (located in the VU Medical Centre on our campus) once you have a valid health insurance. More information can be found on their website. If you live outside of Amsterdam, you can look for a GP close to your home.

    More information about health care in the Netherlands can be found here.

EU travel ban due to COVID-19

  • The new measures

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a European entry ban is in effect for some people, barring them from travelling to the European Union or the Schengen area. You will find the list of countries and areas considered very high risk in the Checklist for entering or returning to the Netherlands from abroad. Non-EU students are exempted from the travel ban if they have an entry visa (MVV) or the IND approval letter stating they will receive a residence permit in the Netherlands.

    Please read the conditions for entering the Netherlands as of 1 July 2021

  • Consequences for students who cannot travel to the Netherlands

    Study programme

    If you live outside the Netherlands and are unable to participate in on-campus education in September due to existing strict travel restrictions, your study programme may temporarily offer online alternatives during the first month(s). Please note that a proof of not being able to enter the Netherlands may be asked. All study programmes have communicated about whether or not they will be able to offer an online alternative on their respective programme pages. Soon more details will be released. For Bachelor's programmes check here, for Master's programmes here.

    Housing

    If you have questions about accommodation, please send an email to studentaccommodation@vu.nl.

    Visa/ residence permit 

    If your Entry visa (MVV) expires, please contact the Dutch embassy in your home country for advice and support.

Other useful information

  • Getting Started guide

    In our Getting Started Guide for Bachelor's and Master's students you can find contact details and general information about studying at VU Amsterdam. We invite you to take a look at it! Please note that this guide is not applicable for exchange and Semester in Amsterdam students.

    Getting Started 2021-2022

    Note: unfortunately we can not organise physical arrival days this year because of COVID-19, despite what was mentioned in the Getting Started Guide. All the information with regards to your arrival can be found on this webpage, and will be updated once information changes.

  • Cost of living and working

    Experience shows that living and studying in the Netherlands for one year costs a student between €1,000 and €1,400 per month (not including tuition fees). Some students manage to spend less, but this of course depends on your own lifestyle.

    Some rules apply when you work in the Netherlands during your studies. More information about the average costs per month, rules and regulations and tax can be found here.

  • Your personal dashboard & Canvas

    Your personal dashboard

    During your stay you will have access to your personal dashboard on vu.nl. You were sent your login details when you first applied to VU Amsterdam. It is important that you familiarise yourself with this dashboard, as a great deal of important information is only available via this network. Registration for courses etc is also carried out via your dashboard.

    Canvas

    Canvas is the digital learning environment from VU Amsterdam. It is a tool that supports our education and is used by both students and teachers. You can log into Canvas with your VUnet-ID, or through your personal dashboard on vu.nl. For students, there is a VU Canvas Student Guide available that shows you how to work with Canvas. You can also watch a short video about the system.

  • Study books

    For your studies, you will need books. Click here to go to the book list.

    Which textbooks you need is published in this booklist. Textbooks are sold in our main building at the VU Bookstore or at the Students' Unions.

  • International Student Services

    It’s useful to arrange all of your basic needs as soon as possible, so you can have the best start in the Netherlands. On the International Student Services platform, you can, at once, free of charge! After signing up for your services, you will get free access to the international student community where you can chat and meet fellow internationals.

    Prepare for your arrival and start connecting! Organise all of your basic needs here.

  • Learning Dutch

    Would you like to learn Dutch to help you feel more at home on campus? Of course you do! Luckily, VU-NT2 offers two course modules (8 weeks per level) of the Basic Dutch on Campus course at a greatly reduced rate for international students. You will learn to introduce yourself, do some shopping, order a meal and chat with local students and teachers. Finished the course? Then you receive a ‘Basic Dutch on Campus’ certificate. Check out the website of VU-NT2 for more information.

  • Contact us for practical matters

    Due to measures related to the coronavirus, our International Service Desk at VU Amsterdam's main building is closed until further notice. However, for practical matters such as your arrival in the Netherlands, you will be able to reach us via Whatsapp (+31682548367), from Monday to Friday between 1.00PM and 3.00PM.

    If you have a specific question about, for example, visa or housing, please contact the relevant department within the International Office directly. All contact details can be found here.

Contact

For questions please contact the Student Desk.

The Student Desk will help you. Call us on +31 20 59 85020 (Mon – Fri: 10.30 – 12.30h and 14.00 – 16.00h).

Send an email to: studentdesk@vu.nl

Are you currently a VU student? Ask your question through this form (log in with your VUnet-ID)