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Universities in Amsterdam

Establishments offering higher education in Amsterdam

There are two research universities in Amsterdam which award Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees. These are the Universiteit van Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit. Both are comprehensive universities and offer a wide range of disciplines for study also in English as well as Dutch and other languages, depending on the area of studies. In addition to these, there are also schools of tertiary education in Amsterdam which provide vocational training and which are referred to as Hogescholen. These can be characterised as universities which provide professional higher education and they can also award Bachelor’s degrees.

University of Amsterdam
University of AmsterdamThe Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral courses in the Humanities (Linguistics, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Art), Film Studies, Sciences, Law, Economics, Dentistry, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences – over 60 disciplinary fields altogether. The UvA was founded as the Athenaeum Illustre in 1632 and in the 19th century expanded into a large university which currently has over 22,000 students and 4,500 staff. Most of the faculty buildings are situated right at the heart of the historic city centre. The university comprises dozens of institutes and cooperates closely with other scientific establishments of Amsterdam. Student housing is provided for foreign students and most of the student facilities are also located centrally.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The VU opened in 1880, the name Vrije Universiteit meaning Free University which refers to independence from the state and the church. The VU was established by orthodox Protestants but nowadays aims for modern education in its 12 faculties with more than fifty Bachelor’s programmes and almost a hundred Master’s programmes. There are over 17,000 students at the university. The university campus and university hospital are situated in the South West of Amsterdam.


Amsterdam School of the Arts
The Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (AHK) consists of six distinct institutes:
1) The Conservatorium van Amsterdam, which forms the music faculty of the AHK. The CvA is the largest conservatory in Holland and is situated next to the Concertgebouw (The Amsterdam Concert Hall). The CvA offers courses from classical music, jazz and early music to opera, latin music and popular music both at the Bachelor’s and postgraduate level. For admission, candidates need to have a diploma of secondary education equal to the Dutch VWO or HAVO diploma. The age limit for enrolment is 30, but in certain areas of study students over 30 who meet the requirements can study by contract. Lectures are in both Dutch and English. The school offers no housing to the students.
2) The Amsterdam Academy of Architecture trains students in architecture, urban design and landscape architecture by focusing on fine art, building and civil engineering, natural and cultural technology, and the spatial sciences, all at Master’s level. Students who graduate with a Master’s degree from this Academy receive direct entry to the Register of Architects. Qualified foreign students wishing to enter the Academy must have sufficient command of Dutch by the beginning of the studies. It is compulsory for diploma students to work for at least 20 hours a week in a relevant job position. The school offers no student housing.
3) The Academy of Fine Arts offers vocational training, at the end of which the student receives a diploma Teacher of Fine Arts and Design, valid throughout Europe. Students receive training in visual arts, theory of the arts and didactics. In order to be admitted to the Academy, a candidate must possess a higher general secondary education or pre-university education diploma, a diploma from a three-year intermediate vocational education course or the equivalent. Foreign students can only apply if they master the Dutch language. Candidates with a diploma from another art academy may take part in a specially designed two-year programme in order to complement that diploma with a comprehensive teaching qualification.
4) The Netherlands’ Film and Television Academy, or NFTA trains specialists in team production. Specialisation is possible in fiction directing, documentary directing, screen writing, editing, producing, sound design, cinematography, production design, and interactive multimedia/visual effects. Entry requirements are a diploma of secondary education equal to a VWO, HAVO or a three-year MBO course and mastery of Dutch.
5) The Theatre School encompasses twelve courses of higher professional studies (HBO) in dance, theatre and theatre technology and production. The courses are full-time and take an average of four years to complete. Candidates must be in possession of a Dutch HAVO or MBO diploma, or a foreign equivalent. In addition, each course applies a separate admission procedure in order to screen the talent and suitability of the candidates. The Theater School is situated in the centre of Amsterdam. It features performance studios, a dance theatre, a black box theatre and a cabaret theatre. The language of study is Dutch.
6) The Reinwardt Academy is a school for museology studies. The Bachelor’s programme is in Dutch whereas the international Master’s programme is in English. Information about the Master’s can be obtained at +31 205 277 103 or
For specific information on these institutes, visit the AHK website at

Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam
This academy offers Bachelor’s studies in Fine Arts and Design. Fine Arts students can graduate in visual arts, theatre design or art direction, glass, photography, audiovisual arts and ceramics, whereas Design students can choose graphic design, architectural design, designlab, jewellery, fashion design or textile. Parts of the courses are in English, parts in Dutch. A stress is also put on the practical professional training of students. For entry, a diploma of secondary education is required, although when the candidate has great artistic potential, this requirement may be waived. Candidates have to attend a consultation and take an entry exam or send in a portfolio, based on which the decisions of admission are made. Study duration is fours years and takes place partly during the day and partly during the evening. No student housing is provided by the school. More info at

Hogeschool IPABO, Alkmaar/Amsterdam
The IPABO offers full-time Bachelor courses in Teacher training. The school facilities are situated in Amsterdam as well as Alkmaar. IPABO cooperates with other hogescholen and with the Vrije Universiteit, making it possible for graduates to pursue a Master’s. Foreign students must possess a diploma for Dutch as a Second Language (NT2), level 2. They must also possess a diploma that entitles them to enter higher education, such as a HAVO-, VWO-, HBO-, WO-, VHBO-, MBO level 4-, or a foreign diploma equal to these. The study consists of lectures as well as an internship at schools to allow the students to practice their skills. The duration of the study is four years. For more information contact IPABO Amsterdam at Jan Tooropstraat 136, 1061 AD Amsterdam, tel. +31206137079, e-mail:, web page:

Hogeschool van Amsterdam
The HvA is a comprehensive hogeschool which offers English-language Bachelor’s courses in Physiotherapy, Fashion Management, Design and Styling, English and Education, and in cooperation with the Hogeschool voor Economische Studies of Amsterdam (see below) Business Intelligence Management, International Business and Management Studies, International Financial Management and Latin American Business Studies. It is also possible to take a Master’s study in Occupational Therapy (MSc). Requirements for entry include a secondary education diploma equal to the Dutch diplomas, proof of proficiency in English and in certain areas of study, prior knowledge of the subjects. The school provides foreign students with housing, provided the student applies well in advance, with the cost of housing approximately 250 to 400 euros per month. More information at

Hogeschool voor Economische Studies, Amsterdam
The HES, established in 1867, offers Higher Professional Business Education (in Dutch, HEAO) on Bachelor’s and Master’s level. The school has 5,500 students and 300 staff. It also has special international English-language programmes. Duration of the Bachelor’s studies is four years. The school offers temporary housing for up to one year to foreign students. Contact Hogeschool voor Economische Studies, Postbus 22575, 1100 DB, 1100 DB, Amsterdam, tel. +31205236311, web page:

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