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 2020 Arrival Day31 January, 2020

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 Arrival and Orientation Programme is as follows:

  • Saturday 17 August 2019 (9:00h - 16:00h) Arrival day 
    •  It is the official arrival day for all Semester in Amsterdam students, except for IES Abroad students
  • Saturday 17 August 2019 (18:00h - 20:00h) Semester in Amsterdam Welcome Borrel at Jacob's Kitchen (Dalsteindreef 3008, 1112 XC, Diemen)
    • For those of you living at Hotel Jansen and De Boelelaan, a member of the Semester in Amsterdam staff will travel with you to Our Campus to attend the welcome event
  • Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 2019 (9:00h - 16:00) Practical Matters days
    • You will have the opportunity to finalize any needed practical matters including registering with the municipality, pick up your student card, register with student organization such as ESN, get a campus tour, and more!
  • Wednesday 21 August 2019 (10:30h - 17:00h) Word of Welcome, Scavanger Hunt, and Drinks at Coco's Outback
    • 10:30h - 12:00h Word of Welcome located at the Aula in the Main Building (VU Campus)
    • 12:00h - 17:00h City Scavanger Hunt and Drinks at Coco's Outback
  • Thursday 22 August 2019 (10:30h - 16:30h) How to make it at VU?
    • This event is mandatory for all Semester in Amsterdam students and will be located in the Main Building of the VU Amsterdam Campus
  • Friday 23 August 2019 (09:00h - 17:00h) Trip to Walibi Theme Park
    • Have fun and enjoy rides on one of the highest, fastest, and longest rollercoasters in Europe
  • Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August 2019 - ESN Introduction weekend
  • Monday 26 August 2019 (13:00h - 17:00h) Sports and Culture day (Uilenstede campus)
    • Play team sports such as soccer, basketball, and volleyball, or join one of the classes of zumba, yoga, pole dancing, kick-boxing
  • Tuesday 27 August 2019 (22:00h - 04:00h) Greater Amsterdam & Closing Party
    • Paradiso: Weteringschans 6-8, 1017 SG, Amsterdam
    • Melkweg: Lijnbaansgracht 234 A, 1017 PH, Amsterdam
  • Wednesday 28 to Thursday 29 August 2019 - A mandatory overnight trip to Maastricht
    • A special visit to the famous caves of Maastricht
    • This trip concludes the introduction period
    • Enjoy the rest of the weekend exploring beautiful Amsterdam before the start of your classes on Monday

After the arrival and introduction period we continue to organise activities throughout the semester to encourage our students to explore Dutch culture, and connect with their new friends. All costs are included in the tuition fees.

This fall we will be visiting and exploring: 

  • Zuiderzee museum Saturday 14 September - experience what life looked like back in a day at this outdoors museum
  • GLTB ARTIS Royal Zoo Friday 18 October - learn more about LGBTQ behaviour in the animal kingdom 
  • Tuschinski Monday 12 and Thursday 15 November - originally theater, nowadays cinema, and one of the most beautiful examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings in the world
  • Anne Frank House Monday 12 and Thursday 15 November - a unique museum with a story and history, it's a must-see 
  • Light Boat Tour Friday 13 December - join a tour of gorgeous light installations throughout the city and canals

Each semester we also offer an overnight trip. This fall we will be going to visit the Christmas markets in Germany and Luxembourg from 5th to 8th of December. Both countries are famous for their cosy and inviting atmosphere of the Christmas markets, where everyone enjoys a cup of traditional Glühwein.

The price is €275; it includes accommodation, transportation, breakfasts, and one dinner.


    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 buddy.soz@vu.nl 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.

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