24 Sep 8 tips for new students in Amsterdam

Lost direction in Amsterdam? - Emma Schook tips to ensure you’ll have a great time in Amsterdam

Are you a first year’s student at the Faculty of Science or an international student new to Amsterdam? Welcome! In this post I’ll give you 8 tips to ensure you’ll have a great time in Amsterdam! From housing to house parties, these tips cover it all!

A bike with a bent wheel - Emma Schook

Broken bike

ONE ~ How to mobilise yourself

  • If you want to look like you really belong in this city, you should go by bike. This is often the fastest way of transport and definitely the most flexible. You can get the cheapest bikes at ASVA and when it needs fixing, there is a repair shop at the Science Park area where you get a 10% students discount.
  • There are several ways of public transport. You can either use the metro, tram, train or ferryboat (to get to the Northern borough). Which one is fastest depends on where you want to go – find it on this site.
  • If you want to risk the busy traffic, you can take a shared car, such as car2go or greenwheels.
Houses of Amsterdam united by blue skies with airplane stripes - Emma Schook

Houses of Amsterdam

TWO ~ Where to live

Rooms in Amsterdam are not inexpensive and are hard to find. There are several student houses, which you can find on studentenwoningweb. You can find private houses on websites like kamernet or kamertje. Changing your name in „… zoekt kamer in Amsterdam” on Facebook helps too.

THREE ~ How to get to know the Faculty of Science

During your first week at the Faculty of Science, you might feel a bit lost in this big building. The best way to explore it, is to just wander around (don’t do this too shortly before your lecture).
There are numerous extracurricular activities you can engage in at the Faculty of Science. You can read about some in this post.

FOUR ~ What to eat

I would say: “eat what you like.” The large number of foreign people in Amsterdam make up for a vast variety of supermarkets specialised in Chinese, Indonesian, British, American, Surinam, Turkish, Moroccan, etc. food. Want to try Dutch food and eat at a Dutch time? In this post you can read more about that topic.

FIVE ~ Where to play sports

In Amsterdam there are many parks in which you can try out your new bike, go running or skating. Rather want to sport in the company of a teacher and/or in a group? The USC offers a vast variety of sports, gives a student discount and is right next to the Faculty of

SIX ~ Where to be creative

Just like the USC is an organisation for sports, there is an organisation for cultural activities too: CREA. CREA is situated in the centre of Amsterdam, at the Roeterseiland UvA campus. You can follow a vast variety of courses and there are even specialised courses for non-Dutch speakers. There is a cosy cafe and they organise events like comedy evenings, debates or movie nights, where they show classical movies like this one, based on a Dutch novel everyone has read. Read this post for more information on CREA!

Amsterdam by night during the Amsterdam Light Festival - Emma Schook

Amsterdam by night during the Amsterdam Light Festival

SEVEN ~ How to enjoy yourself

There are many, many students in Amsterdam, so there is something to do almost every night. A short list:

  • The UvA organises a vast variety on extra courses you can follow. You can do a whole minor (which is 30 EC) or just follow an extra course. There are interdisciplinary courses, when you want to look outside of the field of science.
  • Fancy a movie? Visit one of the student movie theatres, Kriterion or Studio-K. The last one is close to the Faculty and also has a cafe, restaurant, club and podium. The movies are often international movies, thus you don’t have to be able to understand Dutch, but English, French, German, Spanish or Portuguese.
  • Go for a drink? ‘Skek is a cosy bar, run by students. Brouwerij ’t IJ is very popular and is a good way to get out of the student bubble. They sell home brewed beer with funny Dutch names like IJwit, Natte and Zatte. Read this post to find a great bar within 15 minutes from the Faculty of Science.
  • Want to dance? There are several concert halls in Amsterdam, such as Paradiso (yes, that means paradise), which is an old church, de Melkweg (“milky way”), de Nieuwe Anita or Sugar Factory. Or visit clubs like Escape or Air, or the Rembrandtplein in general.
  • Fancy something more chic? Visit the beautiful Concertgebouw, where various concerts are performed. Or visit a ballet or opera performance at the National institution for Opera&Ballet. At Bimhuis you can enjoy jazz and improvised musical concerts.
  • A list of the vast variety of museums Amsterdam houses can be found here. The University of Amsterdam owns several museums, such as:
  • The Allard Pierson museum which is an archeological museum,
  • The Special Collections where you can find lots and lots and lots of books in a very beautiful old library,
  • The Computer Museum, which is housed in the Faculty of Science, and
  • Museum Vrolik, where you can find “normal anatomy of humans and animals, but also pathological anatomy and congenital malformations.”

The Louvre in Paris – Emma Schook

EIGHT ~ What else?

Amsterdam is a big city, so there is enough to do to never get bored. But the Netherlands has so much more to offer than just this one city! Hop on a train to go to Zandvoort, a village on the seaside. Visit other beautiful cities, such as Utrecht, Delft, The Hague, Rotterdam or Groningen. Take your bike up north and drive through Zaandam, where it often smells of chocolate. When you are not from Europe, you might want to visit Paris, London or Berlin, which you can easily do in a weekend! Have a great time!

Do you have any tips for your fellow students? I would love to hear them!

WTF Emma-S

(Visited 2,205 time, 2 visit today)


Broadly interested, explorer of the world, the unknown. Medical Physics master student. Intrigued by the city of Amsterdam and all its residents, buildings, streets and parks.
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