Social Programme

Make the city your classroom

Our social program is exclusively for Semester in Amsterdam students.

It features an extensive introduction program as well as a full schedule of activities during the semester. 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 program 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 program includes day trips to other cities as well! With the exception of the weekend trip away, all excursions are included in the program fee and free of charge.

Fall 2018 Arrival Day17 August, 2018
Spring 2019 Arrival Day31 January, 2019

Students are required to arrive in Amsterdam by the official arrival date in order to participate in our orientation program and arrival activities.  The first few weeks provide you with the best opportunites 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 activites:

  • 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 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
    • 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 2018 Semester, we will be going to visit the christmas markets in Munich, Germany!

    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 Program!

    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 program 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 any questions you may have.

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