A Broader Mind for Students

Is the world changing or are you changing the world?

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What is A Broader Mind for students?

At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam we want our students not only to become ‘something’ like an economist, doctor or biologist. We also want them to become ‘someone. In our view, personal development, academic exploration and societal development are an essential part of the academic education. We want to equip students to be successful and play a meaningful part in this world. This requires students to think about who they are, how they view the world and their role in society, and how they relate to others. It requires them to have ‘A Broad Mind’.


In the A Broader Mind for Students programme, students learn to approach societal issues from a range of academic perspectives. They apply their knowledge to solving pressing social issues through the A Broader Mind course and Community Service Learning, and acquire personal skills such as collaborating across borders.

Want to know more? Download the flyer A Broader Mind for Students 2020-2021. Or get inspired by short videos from our professors (under 'Get inspired').

With the A Broader Mind for Students programme we fulfil the mission of VU Amsterdam
“We take responsibility for people and the planet by delivering value driven education, research and knowledge transfer. We imbue students and professionals with knowledge and ‘A Broader Mind’. We pursue pioneering research, both within and across disciplines. As free thinkers with a focus on diversity, purpose and compassion, our students and staff have a deep connection with one another while being fully engaged with society as a whole. This is VU Amsterdam’s mission”.

The A Broader Mind for Students programme consist of three pillars: A Broader Mind for Students Course, Community Service Learning, and Logitudinal Survey. Please click on the button of your choice:


Article TH&MA Higher Education

In spring 2020 an article by Mirjam van Praag (president of VU Amsterdam) and Nynke Rodenhuis (programme manager A Broader Mind) was published in the TH&MA Higher Education. TH&MA is a magazine which aims to inform managers, administrators and executives in the field of higher education in both Flanders and the Netherlands about the latest trends in higher education.

Read the article here (only available in Dutch)


Information webinars 5 and 18 November 2020
On Thursday 5 November and Wednesday 18 November from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm we organize online information meetings/webinars about the content of the course. View the programme >
A Broader Mind for Students online festival and certificate ceremony
We celebrated the graduation ceremony of our students on 18 June 2020. Watch the movie >
152 A Broader Mind students graduate
The VU is proud of the next generation of A Broader Mind students. We congratulate them. They have set and achieved their goals! Watch the congratulatory video of rector Vinod Subramaniam who spoke to the 152 graduates during the closing A Broader Mind festival on 18 June. 
Thijs Biersteker becomes first ‘A Broader Mind for Students Fellow’ 
The climate artist Thijs Biersteker has recently been named as the first VUvereniging A Broader Mind fellow. The fellowship is supported by the VUvereniging. Biersteker challenges students of A Broader Mind to translate their academic knowledge and personal experiences into a socially relevant message through artistic expression. A good example is his film about the impact of one cigarette butt on the environment. This ties in well with the current discussions around the smoke-free VU Campus. 

Biersteker's studio (www.wovenstudio.io) is a sustainable art studio that works with scientists and research groups, museums and architects to communicate their scientific findings or data in unusual ways. He translates scientific and/or socially relevant findings into interactive installations which people invite people to touch and move around. Thijs is also one of the founders of the Art, Ethics and Empathy course at TU Delft.


If you have any general questions about A Broader Mind for Students, please contact the programme team:

Erna Klein Ikkink
+31 (0)20 - 598 4037