University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

University Information, Campus and History
(Amsterdam, Netherlands)

The Universiteit van Amsterdam is a major research university in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It has around 25,000 students and a staff of 5,000, making it one of the largest universities in Europe. It consists of seven faculties and dozens of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, taught in both Dutch and English.

The University was established in 1632 as a small institution called the Athenaeum Illustre, focusing on only two fields of study - history and philosophy. Studies in law, medicine, and theology were soon added to the curriculum. For all of the 18th century, the University was a small institution, with no more than 250 students and about eight professors. In 1815 it was legally recognised as an institute of higher education, and in 1877 it became the Gemeentelijke Universiteit van Amsterdam (Municipal University of Amsterdam) and gained authority to grant the highest degrees. Finally, in 1961 the Dutch government took over the financial management of the University and transformed it into Universiteit Van Amsterdam, a public university. The UvA is not situated on a single campus but located in various locations throughout the city of Amsterdam.

The University has since earned a spot as one of the top universities in Europe, with an income of €540 million in 2004 and hundreds of pioneering research efforts under its belt. Its academic staff publishes 7,500 scholarly articles yearly, and it works with several international organisations in hundreds of community service and global welfare programs.


The University provides students with ample digital resources, from data storage to access to university databases and electronic information. All students are given a UvA email account, centrally stored so that it can be accessed outside the University, and some web space for publishing personal or academic websites.

The University Sports Centre has facilities for over 50 sports activities, including swimming, golf, and winter sports such as ice skating and skiing. The 5,500-ft main building at the De Boelelaan has several halls and indoor courts, while the outdoor facility in the newly built Academic Medical Centre offers eight tennis hardcourts. Bike rentals are also available to foreign students, at special student rates of €25 per semester and €45 per year.

Famous Students

The Universiteit van Amsterdam served as the home for many acclaimed Dutch personalities in different fields, including five Nobel Prize winners. Jacobus van 't Hoff, professor of chemistry and mineralogy at the University from 1878, won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1901 for his work on chemical kinetics, equilibrium and osmotic pressure. Professors Pieter Zeeman and Johannes van der Waals won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1902 and 1910. Frits Zernike, who studied Chemistry at the University, won the same award in 1953 for inventing the phase contrast microscope, while law professor Tobias Asser won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911 for his influence in the formation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague.

Other prominent graduates of the University include Health Minister Els Borst, writers Simon Vestdijk and Menno ter Braak, journalist Karin Spaink, and astrophysicist Anton Pannekoek.

The University website offers adequate information for prospective students, including an overview of the application process, fees, and a list of programmes. A very useful Practical Guide to Student Life in Amsterdam can be downloaded for free at the Prospective Students section of the website. The guide includes information on admission, visa and insurance matters, accommodation, and choosing a programme.

For more information, you can call the Admission Office at +31 20 525 8080, send a fax to +31 20 525 2921, or email your enquiries to The office is open on weekdays from 10:00 to 17:00.

Contact University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam):
Universiteit van Amsterdam Address: Spui 21, 1012 WX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)20 525 9111
Amsterdam University

Amsterdam University

I'm looking for: