Welcome to the world’s most diverse city! With residents hailing from over 180 countries, Amsterdam is considered to be one of the most multicultural cities in the world. With 75 world-renowned museums, more than 350 festivals a year, and a 17th century canal ring which is now a UNESCO world heritage site, Amsterdam is a bustling cosmopolitan city with a small-scale feel which offers something for everyone.
Getting Around By Bike
With more than 880,000 bicycles - four times the number of cars - Amsterdam is a city of bikes. With an extensive network of cycle lanes, bicycle parking and specific traffic lights the city is perfect to traverse by bike. Everything in Amsterdam is within reasonable biking distance. Even though cycling in Amsterdam is fun and an essential part of living the Amsterdam life, it is not without risk. Check out this handy guide before cycling in Amsterdam.
If you don't feel comfortable biking, no worries. The city of Amsterdam has an extensive public transportation network consisting of trams, metro services, buses, ferries, and trains. Extensive maps and timetables of all routes can be found on the GVB (municipal transport company) website.
Public transport Card (OV-chipkaart)
The most convenient and affordable method of paying for public transport is by 'OV-chipkaart'. We will provide all students with a refillable anonymous OV-chipkaart upon arrival.
You can opt for automatic reloading which links the card to your bank account and automatically refills it when your credit drops below a certain amount. Or you can use a loading machine. Loading machines can be found in stations and in some buses, supermarkets, and convenience stores. You can also purchase single-ride tickets if you prefer, but using an OV-Chipkaart is cheaper, faster, and more convenient.
Check in, check out
Public transportation in Amsterdam uses a check-in and check-out system. It is important to remember to check both in and out when using your OV-chipkaart. This can be done by holding the card against the check-in/check-out scanners which you will find on train and metro platforms. For trams and busses, you will find the scanner on the bus or tram, you do not need to check-in before you board. You must also check in and out when changing to a different line or mode of transport.
*Please note that in order to take the train, you must have at least €20 on your OV-Chipkaart. This is not the case for other forms of public transportation such as the metro, bus, tram, or ferry. Ferries are free and do not require an OV-Chipkaart to travel.
Living in Amsterdam
Upon arrival in Amsterdam, you will receive a goodie bag which includes, among other things, a SIM card. The SIM card is from Lebara and allows you to add credit for calling, texting and internet data. It is easy to download the app for iOS or Android and to top up credit on your phone. The SIM card can be used in all EU countries without extra costs.
You may consider bringing some cash for the first day, but it is usually easier to pull out cash upon arrival from one of the many ATMs in the airport and all over the city. Major credit and debit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants. Bear in mind that most ticket machines for the tram and metro do not accept cash and some shops, such as many popular grocery stores, do not accept cards without a V-Pay or Maestro logo.
Apart from housing, you may consider the following estimated cost of living per month:
|Food||€150-300: This depends on how much you cook or eat out. You can reduce this price by shopping at discount supermarkets such as ALDI or LIDL, or shopping at one of the local markets.|
|Insurance||€50-100: All students are required to have health insurance. You can sign up for discounted student insurance during the arrival days if your home insurance does not cover you in the Netherlands.|
|Transportation||€25-100: This depends on how much you bike and walk. Cycling will greatly reduce your public transportation costs.|
|Course Materials||€50-100: Most professors make their reading materials available online.|
This depends entirely on you and your personal lifestyle and preferences. If you want to go out to bars, clubs, or events every weekend you can expect to spend much more than if you prefer cheaper alternatives. Luckily, there are plenty of free things to do in Amsterdam! We also highly recommend getting a museum card for anyone that plans to spend their weekends at one of the many world famous museums! Below is a general estimate of average costs to help you budget for your semester. You can find more information about how to budget for student life in Amsterdam here.
- Coffee: €2,50 - €3,50
- Soup: €5,00 - 6,00
- Sandwich: €6,00 - 12,00
- Main course: €12,00 - €25,00
- Beer/house wine: €3,00 - €6,00
- Cocktails: €9,00 - €20,00
- Museum Card: €64,90
- Entrance to Rijksmuseum: €20,00
- Entrance to the Anne Frank House: €14,00
- Entrance to nightclubs: €10,00 - 20,00
- Haircut: €15,00 - €35,00
- Cinema ticket: €10,00 - €15,00