Founded in 1880 by Abraham Kuyper, Vrije Universiteit, known as “The Free University,” or simply, the VU, prides itself on being ‘free’ from both church, state, and commercial interests. It is the first Calvinist (orthodox-Protestant) university founded in the Netherlands and has a strong focus upon and linkage to the societal, and cultural aspects of each of its disciplines. It is located in Amsterdam-Zuid (South Amsterdam) close to the border with Amstelveen.
Currently, there are twelve different disciplines to choose from which offer Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. diplomas. Over 22, 000 students attend the VU.
The VU is primarily a research university, wishing to stimulate “the acquisition of a greater [and wider] depth of knowledge” by encouraging students to take part in the three core values of the institution, ensuring they are “responsible, open, and personally engaged.”
For further information about the history and background of the VU, see the Mission and Profile page.
Admission requirements vary from program to program and it is advised to consult your faculty websites for any specific or extra documents required. The variations may depend on which degree you’re applying for, as may the deadlines for your application. Make sure you look at your specific faculty or contact your faculty’s international office to ensure you get everything completed on time! You can read some general information about how to apply before you get started.
Admission usually consists of providing the administrative offices with the following documents:
* Please note that it is always possible to apply online, even if your English test results or your Bachelor's degree are not yet available.
Also note: Your application will not be processed until you have paid the €100 application fee and all of the required documents have been received by the administration office.
International Master’s applications can be done through Studielink. You can upload the majority of the required documents via this online application. However, you may also be required to send some of these document by mail, so make sure to factor in the mailing time when applying.
All certified documents and transcripts should be sent by post and should be in one of the official languages of Dutch, English, German, or French.
Note: If you’re a Chinese student and you’re applying for an English-taught program, you’re required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students.
Note: All students must submit their score from an English test unless they have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.
A detailed step-by-step description of the application procedure for international students can be found online.
Provisional tuition fees for the 2011-2012 year can be found online. EU/EEA students pay the same amount of tuition as Dutch students. Note: This amount is significantly higher if coming from outside of the EU/EEA countries. Please check the website for updated amounts and keep in mind that these are subject to change.
Read more information about tuition fees, grants, loans, student finance, and insurance. For more information on student finance, grants, and loans, also check out our government aid page.
The deadlines for applying for a program at the VU are currently as follows:
Non-EU/EEA students with an international degree - 1 April
EU and EEA students with an international degree - 1 April
Dutch students with an international degree (no housing, no visa procedure) - 1 June
Foreign students with a Dutch degree who do not need housing, and only need a change of residence permit - 1 June
Applications received after the deadlines cannot be taken into consideration.
The VU has an international office available for VU students that wish to travel abroad, as well as for foreign students wishing to come to the VU. However, the page for the international office mostly focuses on students already in the Netherlands that are wishing to go abroad. Links to the contact persons for international affairs, including the International Service Desk (phone number or in-person only), the Central International Office (for more general information), and the Faculty contacts (for each specific faculty).
There is also a link provided to the Extra information for international students page, which will be especially helpful to you as a foreign student entering the Netherlands as it provides links to possible answers for many of the questions and problems you may encounter.
You can find contact information for specific international offices online. The VU also provides a list of all faculty contacts that deal with the ‘internationalization’ of students. You can send your questions or concerns about the application process, residence permits, and other issues to these contacts.
You should receive a specific contact e-mail address (most likely your faculty contact) once you’ve begun the application process for your program. This e-mail address will directly connect you with the VU administration in your faculty. This is a very useful resource for questions that you can’t find an answer to on the site, or to double-check that you have understood everything correctly. Don’t hesitate to send an e-mail with your questions, but be patient when waiting for a reply as it may take a week or so for the administration to get to your e-mail so make sure to take this into account if you have any urgent issues or questions. You can also always phone the administration, but this may be more difficult with time differences and costs.
These guides are never finished.
Want to help?