Living in Amsterdam

If you are wondering what it is like to live in Amsterdam, we have you covered. Learn more about getting around and what clothes to bring. Amsterdam and The Netherlands are wonderful to explore, even during winter. If you still have questions contact us. We are here to make your stay as smooth as possible.

With more than 880,000 bicycles - four times the number of cars - Amsterdam is a city of bikes. With an extensive network of cycle lanes, bicycle parking and specific traffic lights the city is perfect to traverse by bike. From North to South, West to East, and vice versa it will take you approximately 30 minutes. Everything is within reasonable biking distance. We will offer a bike rental service through the summer school, more information about this will follow later. 

Public transport 
If you don't feel comfortable biking, no worries. The city of Amsterdam has an extensive public transport network consisting of trams, metro services, buses, ferries and trains. Extensive maps and timetables of all routes can be found on the GVB (municipal transport company) website . 

Public transport smart card (OV-chipkaart) 
The most convenient and affordable method of paying for public transport is by 'OV-chipkaart'. You can buy a refillable anonymous OV-chipkaart at ticket vending machines, GVB Tickets & Info locations, certain newsagents and supermarkets. Find more detailed information on the GVB website.

Check in, check out 
It is important to remember to check both in and out when using your OV-chipkaart. This can be done by holding the card against the reader present on platforms for trains and metro, or on board of the vehicle in buses and trams. You must also check in and out when changing to a different line or mode of transport. 

Google Maps or 9292
If you have a smartphone, Google Maps and app 9292 are a convenient way of planning your route.

• 9292 at the iOS App Store
• 9292 at the Google Play Store

Apart from housing, you may consider the following estimated living expenses per one or two weeks:
  • Food, minimum €150 if you cook for yourself, eating out will be more expensive
  • Insurance, approx. €20
  • Public transport or bike rental, approx. €50 
  • Other expenses during your stay, minimum €100, this increases if you wish to engage in more cultural and social activities

On the arrival day in Amsterdam you will receive a goodie bag which includes among other things a SIM card. The SIM card is from Lebara and allows you to add credit for calling, texting and internet data. It is easy to download the app for iOS or Android and to top up credit on your phone. The SIM card can be used in all EU countries without extra costs.

You could consider bringing some cash for the first day, but overall there are plenty of ATM’s available. Major credit and debit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants. Bear in mind that most ticket machines for the tram and metro do not accept cash and some shops, such as grocery stores, do not accept foreign credit cards.

The winters in the Netherlands can be described as mild. On average the temperature will be around 0-5 degrees Celsius (or 32-41 degrees Fahrenheit). Bring warm clothes and if possible windand rainproof as it does get windy and rainy.

VU Amsterdam is a campus university: almost all university buildings are situated on one site, with teaching and research facilities and several leisure activities all together. It is located in the business district of Amsterdam, so that during your studies you can also get a glimpse of the business world.

Our cam­pus is:

• a modern international campus
• situated in the middle of the most dynamic and fastest growing business districts in Europe
• well connected to public transport
• a 15 minute tram or bike ride away from the historic city centre
• an 8 minute train journey away from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
• rich in possibilities for grocery's, drink and food options

Sus­tain­able cam­pus
VU Amsterdam has a clear vision about sustainability. Core values are: stewardship for planet Earth and responsibility to achieve a sustainable future. Not only teaching and research programmes have a focus on sustainability but environmental sustainability is also a major consideration when construction and refurbishment activities are carried out. VU Amsterdam offers several Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in the field of Sustainability & Energy, collectively known as Science for Sustainability. Flexibility, sustainability and cost consciousness are important drivers for the development of the Campus. New sustainable buildings are delivered according to BREEAM standards, the top of environmental sustainability assessments. Old buildings are refurbished to meet current sustainability standards as much as possible.

When you come to Amsterdam you can be assured that you will be safe. In fact, Amsterdam was ranked Europe's safest city on the Economist Safe City Index. Of course like in any major city you should be aware of pickpockets in busy areas. 

Read more about the safety measures at VU Amsterdam campus.

Useful Phone Numbers
Emergency (police, ambulance, fire): 112 
Alarm number VU Amsterdam, available 24/7: +31 20 59 83 255
Police (theft and other queries): 0900-8844 or +31 343 57 8844 from abroad.