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Your arrival as a degree student

Your first days and weeks in Amsterdam will be filled with new experiences, new people and a few practical considerations too. On this webpage, we give you more information on how to get started once you have arrived.

Practical Matters Days - August 2024

The Practical Matters Days offer you the perfect opportunity to easily arrange practical matters in a short period of time: picking up your room key (for most but not all accommodation), registering at the municipality (Amstelveen only), arranging health/liability insurance, joining ESN VU Amsterdam, etc.

Please monitor your mailbox and this webpage for further updates and information about these days.

Travelling via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Amsterdam's airport is called 'Amsterdam Airport Schiphol', and is located in the south-west of Amsterdam.

From Schiphol, you can easily travel to VU Amsterdam's campus, or to your student accommodation. Train station 'Amsterdam Zuid' is for example only a 6-minute train ride. More information about public transport in the Netherlands can be found here. It is also possible to make a taxi reservation in advance. 

Practical arrangements

  • Step 1: Collect your room key

    • If you rent accommodation through VU Amsterdam, you will receive additional details via email regarding the key pick-up.
    • If you rent accommodation on the private market, you will need to coordinate the key pick-up directly with your landlord.
  • 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. During the Practical Matters Day, it will also be possible to register at the municipality of Amstelveen directly.

  • 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 to open an extra 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 (and thus an IBAN bank account).

    More information about opening 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.

    More information about possible insurances can be found here. During the Practical Matters Day, our partner Aon will also be present. You can arrange your insurance then and there. However, we advise you to arrange this before coming to the Netherlands.

  • 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 General Practitioner (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 in this document.

    During the Practical Matters Day, it will also be possible to register directly. 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.

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 2024-2025

  • Cost of living and working

    Experience shows that living and studying in the Netherlands for one year costs a student between €1,000 and €2,000 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 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 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 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 order them at the VU Bookstore.

    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.

  • Student card

    First-year students will receive a student card after completing their enrolment and uploading a passport photo.  If your card is ready on time, you can pick it up at the Arrival Day. Otherwise, the Student Desk will inform you about when and where to pick it up.

    For any questions about the student card, please contact the Student Desk

    Please note that you do not necessarily need your student card to follow your classes.

Do you have any questions?

Please contact the Student Desk.

If you have questions about the tuition fee, Studielink or your personal dashboard on, please contact the Student Desk:, stating your student number.

Send a message via online chat (Mon – Fri: 10:30 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 16:00). 

Call +31 (0)20 59 85020 (Mon – Fri: 10:30 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 16:00). 

Are you currently a VU student? Ask your question via the question form (log in with your VUnetID)