Introduction activities August 2019

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is looking forward to welcoming all new international students in August 2019!

During your first days, the International Office will arrange several activities in order to help you become acquainted with the city of Amsterdam and the university campus, to get to know your fellow students and, of course, to have fun! Our introduction team is working hard to put together an engaging and informative programme especially for you! The Arrival Days and Introduction Week will take place from Monday 19 August until Tuesday 27 August 2019. You don't want to miss out, so please mark these days in your agenda!

The Arrival Days and the Introduction Week are offered by the VU International Office and it is free of charge for international exchange students.

Integration into Dutch culture

Successful integration into Dutch culture and making our international students feel at home and connected are key values of VU Amsterdam.  In this regard, the Introduction Week is specially designed to get our international students off to a good start. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you participate in the VU Amsterdam Introduction Week!

Moving to Amsterdam to continue your academic career at a university abroad is both an exhilarating and perhaps slightly scary experience. After all, you will be alone in an unfamiliar place. We know it can be difficult to know where to go, what to do, how to organise, and what to prioritise. The Introduction Week offered by VU Amsterdam plays a crucial role in offering a soft landing for international students and prepares you for your new life in Amsterdam.

In order to ensure that our international students can get in touch with their Dutch peers more easily and get used to Dutch culture, we have several elements planned during the Introduction Week which will stimulate integration:

Mentors. We have roughly 30 Dutch students on board who have studied abroad themselves. They will be there during the Arrival Days to help out during the events of Introduction Week. This is an easy and accessible way to already get in contact with some Dutch peers.

Study Associations. Study associations are an important part of the Dutch study culture. Therefore we invited several study associations to the Arrival Days. By becoming a member of a study association, international students will immediately have access to a vast network of Dutch students. Through these associations they can participate in events which will enable them to make friends quickly and which will ultimately make them feel more rooted in the Netherlands and Amsterdam.

Sports and Culture Associations. Participating in something you love to do is one of the easiest ways to connect with other people. Therefore, we have invited several associations to participate in the Sports and Culture Day.

How to Make it at VU. This event will include intercultural classes and classes on Dutch culture as well as a Dutch crash course. This program is designed to:

  • Help you develop intercultural competencies to connect with people from different backgrounds and to perform effectively in highly diverse environments.
  • Explain the educational style in the Netherlands and its main characteristics. Many students do not realize that courses can be taught in different styles and that the style you are used to in your own country probably differs from the methods used at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. You might make the mistake of entering a study programme in the Netherlands with a set of values and expectations developed in your own country, culture, and previous education.
  • Provide an overview of the activities organized by the International Office to help you plan your future career development.
  • Equip you with basic Dutch phrases and (funny) facts about Dutch culture. Don’t be surprised if at the end of your stay you can’t get the word ‘gezellig’ out of your vocabulary or if ‘stroopwafels’ become your new favorite treat!


Monday 19 & Tuesday 20 August: Arrival Days

During the Arrival Days you can arrange all practical matters regarding your registration at VU Amsterdam, meet the incoming exchange team, register with the municipality, pick up your student card and much more!

Key pick-up
Once you’ve arrived in Amsterdam, the first thing you want to do, is pick up the keys to your new home. If you arranged your accommodation via VU International Office AND you have a room reserved at the housing corporation DUWO you can collect your keys on Friday 16 August and Monday 19 August at Uilenstede (Il Caffe).

If you have reserved a room at one of our other housing corporations you will be informed by email regarding the key-pick up procedure. At a later time, we will also publish this information on this website.

The Arrival Days are part of the Introduction Week. As you can see in the schedule below, our official Arrival Days will take place on Monday 19 August and Tuesday 20 August. Depending on the day you arrive in Amsterdam, you can choose which day works best with your schedule to complete the practicalities.

What can you expect during the Arrival Days?
Starting from 19 August, the International Office will host the Arrival Days to welcome you to VU Amsterdam. We hope to meet you all then! To give you an idea of which matters to take care of and in which order, we have included an explanation and overview below.

  • Register with the municipality in order to receive a personal public service number (BSN). You will need the BSN to open a bank account, to take out health care, and to apply for benefits or allowance in the Netherlands. Please note that you can only register with the municipality if you arranged accommodation via VU Amsterdam or if you already have an address in Amsterdam, Amstelveen or elsewhere.
  • Arrange all practical matters regarding your registration at VU Amsterdam, meet the incoming exchange team, pick-up your student card, get to know ESN VU Amsterdam, and much more.

Depending on the Arrival Day of your choice, you can follow the programme as listed below. As you can see, the programme for both days is exactly the same.

Monday 19 August
Tuesday 20 August
Register with the Municipality at BelleVUe, VU Amsterdam main building
9:00AM - 4:30PM
Register with the Municipality at BelleVUe, VU Amsterdam main building
9:00AM - 4:30PM
Visit the campus to arrange all practical matters regarding your registration at BelleVUe, VU Amsterdam main building
9:00AM - 4:30PM
Visit the campus to arrange all practical matters regarding your registration at BelleVUe, VU Amsterdam main building
9:00AM - 4:30PM

Wednesday 21 August: Word of Welcome & Scavenger Hunt

Word of Welcome
After the Arrival Days, you will be officially welcomed by VU Amsterdam during the Word of Welcome which will take place in the Aula located in the main building. You will receive a warm welcome by the rector of VU Amsterdam Vinod Subramaniam. The World of Welcome starts at 10:30AM and lasts until 12:00.

Scavenger Hunt
What better way to explore the amazing city of Amsterdam by foot while competing with your fellow students? Strolling through the city centre, each group of students will have to complete a number of assignments. We will end the activity at a well-known bar in the city centre. Naturally, the first drink is on us and it's also good to know that the venue will be offering a burger and fries at a reasonable price. And, of course, there will be a (very Dutch) prize for the winning group!

Thursday 22 August: How to make it at VU

Studying abroad will surely provide a student with great opportunities. Besides academic knowledge it will teach the student much more, as getting out of one’s comfort zone can certainly equip an individual for future challenges.  In today’s world it’s extremely important to be able to connect with people from different backgrounds, and to perform in a highly diverse environment. During 'How to make it at the VU' several speakers will speak about intercultural communication, career services and the services of International Office. A Dutch crash course is also part of the programme.

How to make it at the VU starts at 10:30AM and lasts until 4:30 PM.

Friday 23 August: Campus Tour

Join us for the Campus Tour and get to know the VU campus!

During the tour you will be introduced to all hotspots of the main VU building such as the library, the security office, the university restaurant, study areas and learn of hidden gems such as the rooftop terrace. You will also receive a short overview of other faculty buildings, visit the botanical gardens and learn about VU Amsterdam's history.

After registration, you will receive the time and the location of the event.

Monday 26 August: Sports and Culture Day

This day is organized to give you an idea of what the VU Sports Centre and Cultural Centre Griffioen have to offer. You can play team sports such as soccer, basketball and volleyball. A variety of classes such as zumba, yoga, pole dancing, kick-boxing will be also offered. The fitness area of the sport centre will be freely accessible throughout the day. More into cultural activities? Then join us at the Griffioen! Examples of classes you can take there on this day are a music workshop, or a belly dancing class.

Sport Centre, Uilenstede 100, 1183AM Amstelveen
Griffioen, Uilenstede 106, 1183AM Amstelveen

The Sports and Culture Day starts at 1:00PM and lasts until 5:00PM.

Tuesday 27 August: Closing Party

What better way to end your first week in Amsterdam with a party at not one, but two great venues? The Closing Party is a great way to celebrate both the end of your first week here, but also the start of a new academic adventure in Amsterdam. Between the two locations, it is only a 2-minute walk.

Paradiso, Weteringschans 6-8, 1017SG Amsterdam
Melkweg, Lijnbaansgracht 234-A, 1017PH Amsterdam

The Closing Party starts at 10:00PM and lasts until 4:00AM.