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When you arrive

Moving to another country to start a degree programme can be quite exciting. On this webpage, we give you more information on how to get started once you have arrived. More information about the necessary steps to take before travelling to the country can be found in our  FAQ for prospective students

First arrival in the Netherlands

Amsterdam's airport is called 'Amsterdam Airport Schiphol', and is located in the south-west of Amsterdam. Schiphol created a special landing page with commonly asked questions about travel through the airport, and measures that are currently in place to protect travellers due to the COVID-19 virus. We strongly advise you to read this FAQ before traveling to the country.

Negative coronatest
From 15 December 2020 6.00pm, some travelers must show a negative coronavirus test result when they enter the Netherlands. They also need to provide a statement about the test, which travelers have to complete themselves. This does not apply to everyone, for example not to students who hold a valid long stay visa (MVV) or students who hold a letter of notification from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. Read who exactly should have a negative coronavirus test on the website of the Dutch government. If you do not hold the IND letter yet, please contact as soon as possible.

Students traveling from red or orange areas (check here) need to go in self- quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the Netherlands. The rules on self-quarantine are published here by the Dutch government. We also updated our own FAQ to tell you a bit more about what this means for you as a prospective student. For students who need to order food or other essentials during quarantine, we created an information sheet on how and where to do so. The municipality also created  a poster with house rules in times of corona.

Public transport and taxi

From Schiphol, you can easily travel to VU Amsterdam's campus, or to your student accommodation. In the Netherlands, it is still mandatory to wear a non-medical face mask when using public transport or riding in a taxi, so make sure to bring one.  

In order to use public transport, you will need a public transport card ('OV chipkaart' in Dutch). It’s easy to buy and top up this rechargeable card at the yellow NS ticket machines at all railway stations, including Schiphol. At Schiphol you will find the machines at the central meeting hall, which is called Schiphol Plaza. After you purchased the card and topped it up with some money, you can immediately start using public transport. More information about public transport in the Netherlands can be found here.

It is also possible to make a reservation for a taxi in advance. 


These directions have Schiphol as the starting point. In case you arrive somewhere else (for example train station Amsterdam Central), please use the 9292 app (available in English) to plan your route. You can find it in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.

Your first days

During your first days in the city, there are some practical matters to take care off. We created an overview with the steps you need to take, which can be found below, or in this flyer we created. Below these steps is also an overview with other useful information.

Practical arrangements

  • Step 1: Collect your room key
    • If you rent an accommodation via VU Amsterdam, the housing providers will inform you how and where you will receive the key of your room.
    • If you rent an accommodation on the private market, you will have to make arrangements with your landlord yourself.

    To be able to pick up your keys, you need to have signed your tenancy agreement and paid the amount due.

    Note: the information below is applicable only for students renting an accommodation via DUWO. 
    Please do not forget to add your day of arrival in your 'MYDUWO account'.

    You can come to the DUWO office to collect your keys. More information can be found here.

  • Step 2: Register with the municipality

    If you will stay in the Netherlands for more than four months, then you need to register with the local authorities, also called the municipality. If you are going to live at student campus Uilenstede, you need to register at the municipality of Amstelveen.

    More information about registering with the municipality can be found here.

  • Step 3: Set up a bank account (if necessary)

    You will need to have an IBAN bank account in order to arrange your day-to-day activities in the Netherlands. As an EU/EEA student, you do not need a Dutch bank account. If you are a non-EU/EEA student, you need to make an appointment at a bank office in order to get a student account.

    More information about setting up a bank account can be found here.

  • Step 4: Pick the right insurance

    It is important that you are properly insured during your time in the Netherlands. To simplify the business of arranging suitable insurance during your time in the Netherlands, it is advisable to consult your current insurance company and explain that you will be studying abroad for a semester or an entire academic year.

    More information about possible insurances can be found here.

  • Step 5: Register with a General Practitioner (GP)

    As a student at VU Amsterdam living in Amsterdam or in the surrounding areas such as Amstelveen/Uilenstede, you will be able to register with the GP at the University General Practice (located in the VU Medical Center on our campus) once you have a valid health insurance. More information can be found on their website. If you live outside of Amsterdam, you can look for a GP close to your home.

    More information about health care in the Netherlands can be found here.

Other useful information

  • Getting Started guide

    In our Getting Started Guide for Bachelor's and Master's students you can find contact details and general information about studying at VU Amsterdam. We invite you to take a look at it! Please note that this guide is not applicable for exchange and Semester in Amsterdam students.

    Getting Started 2021-2022

  • Cost of living and working

    Experience shows that living and studying in the Netherlands for one year costs a student between €900 and €1,700 per month (not including tuition fees). Some students manage to spend less, but this of course depends on your own lifestyle.

    Some rules apply when you work in the Netherlands during your studies. More information about the average costs per month, rules and regulations and tax can be found here.

  • VUnet & Canvas


    During your stay you will have access to VUnet, the internal network of VU Amsterdam. You were sent your VUnet login details when you first applied to VU Amsterdam. It is important that you familiarise yourself with VUnet, as a great deal of important information is only available via this network. Registration for courses etc is also carried out via VUnet.


    Canvas is the digital learning environment from VU Amsterdam. It is a tool that supports our education and is used by both students and teachers. You can log into Canvas with your VUnet ID, or through VUnet. For students, there is a VU Canvas Student Guide available that shows you how to work with Canvas. You can also watch a short video about the system.

  • Dutch course: Basic Dutch on campus

    Would you like to learn Dutch to help you feel more at home on campus? Of course you do! Luckily, VU-NT2 offers two course modules (8 weeks per level) of the Basic Dutch on Campus course at a greatly reduced rate for international students. You will learn to introduce yourself, do some shopping, order a meal and chat with local students and teachers. Finished the course? Then you receive a ‘Basic Dutch on Campus’ certificate. Check out the website of VU-NT2 for more information.

  • Students-4-Students@VU

    Students-4-Students@VU offers various programmes to students who find it difficult to engage with VU Amsterdam or when things aren’t working out as planned. The programmes offered are:

    • Study partner 
    • Studying Together 
    • Studying & children 
    • Studying with ASD

    For more information please check the Students-4-Students@VU page.

  • Contact us for practical matters

    Due to measures related to the coronavirus, our International Service Desk at VU Amsterdam's main building is closed until further notice. However, for practical matters such as your arrival in the Netherlands, you will be able to reach us via Whatsapp (+31682548367), from Monday to Friday between 1.00PM and 3.00PM.

    If you have a specific question about, for example, visa or housing, please contact the relevant department within the International Office directly. All contact details can be found here.