Social Programme

Make the city your classroom

Our social programme is exclusively for Semester in Amsterdam students.

It features an extensive introduction programme (together with other international students) as well as a full schedule of activities during the semester (Semester in Amsterdam students only). Each activity is designed to offer more than simply a 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 in's and out's of Dutch culture from a first-hand perspective.

Since there is a lot more to see in the Netherlands than just Amsterdam, our social programme includes day trips to other cities as well! With the exception of the weekend trip away, all excursions are included in the programme fee and free of charge.

Fall 2019 Arrival Day17 August, 2019
Spring 2019 Arrival DayTo Be Announced

Students are required to arrive in Amsterdam by 14:00 on the official arrival date in order to participate in our orientation programme and arrival activities. We provide a free airport pick-up service for Semester in Amsterdam students staying in student accommodation who arrive before 14:00 on this date. 

The first few weeks provide you with the best opportunities to form connections with other Semester in Amsterdam students as well as the greater body of international students at VU Amsterdam. During the introduction days, you will have the opportunity to take part in the following activities:

  • Mandatory Overnight Trip in the Netherlands
  • Welcome Picnic
  • Trip to the Efteling, the Netherlands' Largest Theme Park!
  • VU Amsterdam Campus Tour
  • Dutch Crash Course
  • International Dinner Party
  • Bike Sale and Workshop
  • Sports events
  • Pub quizzes
  • City Scavenger Hunt
  • Additional Events and Parties Offered by ESN (previous activities include: canal cruises, football matches, daytrips, and more!)

    After the arrival and introduction period we continue to organise 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
    • Artis: Homosexuality in the Animal Kingdom Tour
    • Keukenhof Tulip Gardens
    • Heineken Brewery Tour
    • Royal Palace Tour
    • City Tours of Utrecht, Haarlem, Leiden, Maastricht, Delft, and Other Dutch Cities
    • Zuiderzee Open Air Museum
    • Open Tower Day
    • Tuschinski Theater Tour
    • Farewell Picnic

    Each semester we also offer an overnight trip for an additional all-inclusive cost.

    For the Fall 2019 Semester, we will be going to visit the Christmas markets in Düsseldorf and Luxembourg.

    Past trips include:

    • Krakow: Auschwitz and Birkenau
    • Luxembourg and Germany: Christmas Market Trip
    • Antwerp, Belgium: City Trip and Weekend Away

    There is no better way to instantly meet local students than by joining the Dutch 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 organises a schedule of events including karaoke nights and international dinners. Some buddy groups also organise their own activities or pair up with other buddy groups. You will be invited to sign up for a buddy about one month before you arrival.

    Please contact with any questions you may have.

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