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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.

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:

  • 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. 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

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 2022-2023

  • 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 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 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.


Do you have any questions? Please contact the Student Desk.

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

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

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