Social Programme

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.

Arrival Dates

The official Spring 2021 Arrival Date is Friday, 29 January; however, this date is flexible.  We recommend that you arrive by at least the Friday before courses begin so that you have some time to get settled.

The Fall 2021 Arrival Date has been tentatively set for 14 August, 2021.  Please check back for more details in the spring.

Departure Dates

It is up to you and your home university or provider to determine a departure date. Many students choose to only take courses during the first two periods of the semester and leave before the last period. For the fall semester, this means you will leave before Christmas. For the spring semester, this means you will leave at the end of May/beginning of June. If you choose to stay for all periods, the last period of the fall semester ends on the last day of January. For the spring semester, it ends on the last day of June.

Orientation Programme

Stay tuned for an update about the spring orientation programme in November.


*Stayed tuned for an update about the Spring 2021 semester in January.

All activities are free for Semester in Amsterdam students. For more information, be sure to check out this video by our fabulous photographer, Camille! Past activities include:

  • Tuschinski Cinema and the Anne Frank House: Visit what is known as the most beautiful cinema in the Netherlands and learn about the history of Tuschinski, an eccentric Polish-Jewish businessman with a passion for film. Afterwards, we will have a quick lunch and continue on to the Anne Frank House.   
  • Street Art Museum Tour and Workshop (w/ snacks and drinks): The Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) is a contemporary art museum focused on street art and its relationship to the local community. The museum functions as an open-air research laboratory which challenges the role of the museum and works as a living art experiment. 
  • Farewell Dinner at Mediamatic: Located in a greenhouse on the waterfront of Het IJ, Mediamatic offers amazing views of the city and offers locally-sourced food and Amsterdam craft beers. The restaurant uses only local, organic, sustainable food whenever possible. They even cultivate their own herbs and edible flowers in their Aquaponics greenhouse! 


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 [email protected] 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. Don't forget to sign up for the ESN Introduction Weekend when the time comes! More details will not be published until this summer, but you can already familiarize yourself with ESN here!