Amsterdam is a city of bicycles. With an extensive network of cycle lanes, bicycle parking everywhere and even traffic lights specifically for bicycles, there is no safer or easier place to cycle than here. There is a bike shop in the basement of the main building of the university. Bike sales for exchange students will also be arranged several times throughout the year. Most students arriving for the first time in Amsterdam find that buying a (second-hand) bike is both an affordable way to travel between home and study, as well as a great way of getting to know the city and the surrounding area.
Public transport card with discount for international students
VU Amsterdam and ISIC have arranged a special public transport card with discount for international students. In the Netherlands you need an OV-chipkaart to travel around with the train, bus, metro and tram. There are two possibilities:
- An anonymous card without any discount
- A personal card, where you need a Dutch debit card and the buying process is written in Dutch
Both options are not ideal for international students. That is why ISIC created the ISIC/OV-chipkaart, a custom-made card for international students. Buy the basic card for €15,- (including the ISIC card) and sign-up (optional) for services and discount created for international students for a small monthly fee:
- 15% discount during off-peak hours on national railway (NS)
- A digital ISIC card, with the best discounts in the Netherlands and the rest of the world
- Customized application process for international students
- Automatic top-up option (no more topping op of balance)
- Travel data, customer service etc in ISIC mobility app
- Public transport bike (OV-fiets) and storage
You need to sign-up for your card here, which includes the public transport card + the digital ISIC card. After confirmation you will be able to pick-up your card during the Arrival days in August.
Check in, check out
It is very important that your remember to check both in and out when using your OV-chipkaart. This can be done by holding the card against the reader present on platforms (for trains and metro) and on board the vehicle (for buses and trams). You must also check in and out when changing to a different line or mode of transport.
If you have a smartphone, the app 9292 (available in English) is a convenient way of planning your journey.