Social Programme

Make the city your classroom

Our social programme is exclusively for Semester in Amsterdam students. It features an extensive introduction programme when you arrive as well as a full schedule of activities during the semester. Each activity is designed to go deeper than just the tourist experience. Whether we're visiting the Anne Frank house, paying our respects to the king and queen at the Royal Palace, enjoying a boat tour of Europe's largest harbor, or soaking in the city skyline on Amsterdam's Open Tower Day, our social programme will show you the ins and outs of Dutch culture. 

And since there's a lot more to see in the Netherlands than just Amsterdam, we make sure our social programme includes visits to sights and attractions outside the capital for a more inclusive experience. Except for overnight trips, all costs are included in the tuition fees.

Students are required to arrive on our official Arrival Day. The fall Arrival Day is usually two weeks before the start of courses and the spring Arrival Day is usually one week before the start of courses. During the arrival and introduction period students can handle all practical matters, meet friends, and enjoy social activities such as:

  • Free airport pick-up
  • Room check-in
  • Municipality registration
  • Welcome meet & greet
  • Day trips to Rotterdam, The Hague, and/or other Dutch cities
  • Trip to Efteling, the Netherlands' largest theme park
  • VU Amsterdam campus tour
  • Dutch crash course
  • International dinner party
  • Bike sale and workshop
  • Sports event
  • Pub quizzes
  • Sustainability event

After the arrival and introduction period we continue to organize activities throughout the semester to help you explore Dutch culture and stay connected with friends. All costs are included in the tuition fees. Examples:

  • Anne Frank house
  • International peace palace
  • Keukenhof tulip gardens
  • Heineken brewery
  • Royal palace
  • City tours of Utrecht, Haarlem, Leiden, Maastricht, Delft, and other Dutch cities
  • Zuiderzee open air museum
  • Amsterdam's first LGBTQ-friendly café
  • Artis zoo
  • Harbor walk 
  • Tuschinski theater
  • Farewell picnic

Once per semester we also offer an overnight for an additional all-inclusive cost. Past trips include:

There is no better way to instantly meet local students than by joining our buddy programme. You will be matched with a VU Amsterdam student who can introduce you to the Dutch way of life and make you feel at home. The buddy programme organizes a schedule of events including karaoke nights and international dinners. Some buddy groups also organize their own activities or pair up with other buddy groups. You will be invited to sign up for a buddy about one month before your arrival. Please contact buddy.soz@vu.nl with questions.

Students are also encouraged to join ESN, the Erasmus Student Network, which organizes social events and weekend trips for international students.