Reputation and rankings

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam shows an excellent scientific and societal impact. The high quality of research and education at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam can be demonstrated by its excellent performance in international rankings. The following rankings are well known in the context of universities worldwide: The Leiden ranking, The Shanghai Ranking, The Times Higher Education World University Ranking, Times Higher Education Impact ranking and QS ranking. These rankings aim at evaluating the research excellence, educational excellence and reputation of the universities. Each ranking uses a different set of indicators. As a result, the position of a particular university may vary depending on the ranking’s methodology. The visualization below shows the position of VU over time, in the five most well-known international rankings: Leiden CWTS Ranking, ARWU Shanghai Ranking, THE WUR Ranking, THE Impact Ranking and the QS Ranking.

Times Higher Education’s (THE) Impact ranking 2020 specifically, relates to the ambitions of the university as described in the Strategy 2020-2025 and with respect to the profile theme Science for Sustainability. This Impact ranking aims at evaluating the contribution of 766 participating institutions worldwide with regards to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG's). Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ranks number 39 worldwide regarding the 17 SDGs, and additionally ranks second in the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking 2020 when it comes to taking action against climate change – SDG 13.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - international scientific and societal impact in 2019-2020:

World’s 39 in the Impact ranking related to attribution to the SDGs in policy, education and research of Times Higher Education (THE Impact 2019)
Please find attached the related VU news mention regarding the Impact ranking
And the related website of Times Higher Education
Europe’s 24th best university in the European Teaching Ranking of Times Higher Education (THE European teaching ranking 2019)
Please find attached the related VU news mention regarding the European Teaching Ranking
And the related website of Times Higher Education
Ranked 103rd best world university in academic excellence in Academic Ranking of World Universities – Shanghai ranking 2019
Please find attached the related VU news mention regarding the Shanghai ranking
And the related website of Shanghai ARWU ranking
Ranked 85th regarding scientific impact in Leiden CWTS ranking and named 138th of world’s best universities by Times Higher Education World university ranking in 2019
Please find attached the related VU news mention regarding the Times Higher Education WUR
And the related websites of Leiden CWTS ranking and THE World university ranking

Background and positioning in the various international rankings

Unlike many other countries, the Netherlands does not have a ranking system for universities. However, a range of studies have shown Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to be one of the most excellent universities in the country. The Netherlands has a binary system of Higher Education with 13 research universities, including Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and 40 universities of applied sciences. The Dutch research universities are all of high academic quality, and consistently ranked among the first 250 universities in international rankings. Only the US and UK feature more research universities in the top 200. In no other system except for Switzerland, the proportion of all research universities in the top 250 is this high. The visualization below shows the positions of Dutch universities in the most well-known international rankings.

Performance evaluation of universities is a concept of increasing global interest. University rankings specifically, have become more prominent in higher education systems, in related media and/or to stakeholders. In the last decade specifically, additional rankings have been introduced, and the methodology and complexity of existing rankings has increased. The rankings can be informative concerning performance related to specific indicators - if properly interpreted. In addition, the European University Association has predicted that the university rankings are here to stay (EUA, 2011).

In the visual below, you can click on the logo of the desired ranking to see VU Amsterdam's position for that specific ranking.