Students from around the world absolutely love studying in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Located in the North Holland province, Amsterdam is often called the “Venice of the North” due to its intricate system of 1,500 bridges and canals. Although Amsterdam is the financial and cultural center of the Netherlands, it has an extremely laid back vibe. The over 800,000 inhabitants are well known for their hospitality and tolerance. Studying in Amsterdam is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for international students who want to get a first-class European education in a welcoming, diverse environment.
The first known inhabitants of what we would now consider Amsterdam date back to at least the 12th century. Starting as just a small fishing town, Amsterdam became the most prosperous city of the world in the 17th century. During this “Dutch Golden Age,” Amsterdam-based companies sent out trading ships all over the world and, along the way, invented the concept of a joint stock company to finance their endeavours - essentially providing the groundwork for investment banking as we know it today.
While Amsterdam’s prosperity waned during the 18th and early 19th century, the onset of the Industrial Revolution turned it back into an economic powerhouse in the late 1800s. In the 20th century, Amsterdam grew larger and more diverse. Today, the city is a bustling, vibrant metropolis and frequently named as one of the world’s most desirable places to live. Every year the city attracts millions of tourists eager to see the well-preserved historic center, the stunning architecture around the canals, and its glorious art museums.
The oldest university in Amsterdam is the University of Amsterdam (UvA - Universiteit van Amsterdam). Its roots go back as far as 1632; today, it is one of the most diverse universities in Holland, with 15% of its 31,000 students coming from abroad. UvA is well known for its illustrious alumni, which includes six Nobel Prize winners and five Dutch prime ministers. The university offers more than 170 study programmes in English, covering natural sciences, law, the humanities, economics and other disciplines.
Another renowned university is the VU University Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit, or “Free University”). Founded in 1880, more than 23,000 students are enrolled here today. Its course offering is also diverse, with more than 120 degree programmes, most of which are Master programmes.
The largest institution in Amsterdam is the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences with around 43,000 students. It offers around a dozen practice-oriented study programmes in English, mostly in business, design and fashion.
As a major tourist destination, Amsterdam also attracts many international students looking for Bachelor or Master degrees in hospitality management and the tourism business. The well-reputed Hotelschool The Hague operates a branch campus in Amsterdam, just outside the city’s beautiful historic centre.
Tuition fees for students from the EU or EEA are around 2,000 euros per year at most universities. Non-EEA citizens could pay between 8,000 and 32,000 euros. The price of your university experience will depend on many factors, including what university you choose to study in and what courses you end up taking.
Although Amsterdam is a major European capital, the prices in this city are not outrageous in comparison with other major EU cities. Most students can get by on between 800 and 1,100 euros per month, which includes rent, food, public transport, and leisure expenses.
Amsterdam Schiphol airport is one of Europe’s largest and busiest hubs. There are direct flights to almost anywhere in the world.
Within Amsterdam, you will find many bus lines, trams and ferries. As in other Dutch cities, students and other inhabitants often rely on their trusty bikes. Much of central Amsterdam is also very walkable.
One nice thing about Amsterdam is its proximity to many of Europe’s finest cultural treasures. Anyone interested in travelling will easily be able to go to cities like Rotterdam, Cologne, Antwerp, and Brussels. And it is fairly easy to book trips to capitals like Paris, London or Berlin from Amsterdam.