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Masters in Amsterdam
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Masters in Amsterdam

For the first time ever, the editors behind the MASTER AND MORE blog section will now introduce a completely new focus regarding Masters study opportunities around Europe. Wink, wink, the headline is a big hint – prepare for a brand new city-based series, that will directly put you into the shoes of a student looking for a study within several European capitals and university destinations. Oh yeah, more specifically, a Masters study along with a bunch of interesting facts and details. So without further a due, how about another visit to the Netherlands including a longer stay in Amsterdam?

What makes Amsterdam an attractive Masters study destination?

Located in North Holland, Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands with the largest population of almost 900,000 people. It is often considered as one of the leading cultural, historic and innovative centers of the country due to, on one hand, large number of UNESCO World Heritage Site landmarks and, on the other hand, increasing presence of technology giants and hubs. In addition, a well-known fact is that Amsterdam’s residents represent more around 180 nationalities while the most spoken languages, aside from Dutch, include English, French, German and Spanish.

From a higher education point of view, the Netherlands is a strong competitor offering top-ranked universities mostly in the elite Top 100 of the world. Within Amsterdam, we have:

  • University of Amsterdam
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Additionally, there are also other higher education institutions that are not present in any major rankings but are actually part of the Amsterdam university network, including private:

  • Amsterdam University of the Arts
  • Inholland University of Applied Sciences
  • Nyenrode Business Universiteit
  • Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences

According to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for - attention - 2020, the University of Amsterdam is the second best Dutch university taking the global position #62. You can find more ranking details provided below by 3 of the current most respected sources. Unfortunately, the AUAS (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) is not an internationally ranked Dutch representative.

THE's World University Rankings 2020QS Top Universities 2020Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019
University of Amsterdam6264Top 101-150
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam138219Top 101-150


Combined, these 3 public universities in Amsterdam welcome over 100,000 students coming from all over the world. English-taught Masters are nothing close to a rare sight – there are more than 100 degree courses specifically tailored for speakers of the English language, that are mostly international. Most postgraduate degree programmes leading to a Masters take between 1 and 2 years, worth either 60 or 120 ECTS.

  • Application for most Dutch universities both in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general is done through the online service Studielink until 1st May of each respective study year.

Scholarships for a Masters in Amsterdam

For the Netherlands as a whole, the tuition fees are annually set by the Dutch government and stand corrections for each study year. Previously, for 2018/2019, they amounted €2060, while the current number for 2019/2020 stands at €2087. However, even though this applies for both Bachelor and Masters levels, it is only applicants from the EU, EEA area, Switzerland and Surinam that can benefit from this relatively low amount. For all other nationalities, Masters studies are quite costly and reach figures between €8000 and €25,000.

Here are some example scholarship opportunities for Amsterdam that can help avoid hefty costs related to a potential Masters study for an international student:

Life as a student in Amsterdam

Generally speaking, Amsterdam is among the European cities with a quite high living standard. This is because, as we may have suggested in the beginning, the capital serves as one of the main engines of the Netherlands. Did you know that the Amsterdam Stock Exchange is, in fact, the oldest stock exchange on the planet?

In order to follow a balanced life within reasonable expenditure, students wishing to study in Amsterdam are recommended to look at a budget around €1100 – €1200. This calculation includes costs for accommodation, living, transportation, and of course, leisure.

As a form of a real-world example, the University of Amsterdam offers the possibility of applying for public housing. This process involves mainly online activities, such as filling in an application form, forwarding payment and reserving a room. The actual price for a rent, however, varies between €350 to €800 each month depending on choices such as room size, type and sharing preferability. Keep in mind, that these figures often do neither include any additional fees nor utilities.

On the other hand, there is the private market, that offers much more housing opportunities for, unfortunately, a much higher price. For more detailed information, you can capitalise on the data provided by the Student Affairs Department of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

In terms of living costs, here is some regular pricing in Amsterdam for general consumer products:

  • Meal at inexpensive restaurant – €15.00
  • Basic utilities – €160.00
  • Cinema – €12.00
  • Sport – €36.50
  • 1 l milk – €1.08
  • 500 g white bread – €1.44
  • 12 eggs – €2.51
  • 1 kg local cheese – €11.89
  • 1 kg beef/chicken meat – €14.50
  • 1 kg fruit – €2.00
  • 1 kg vegetables – €3.25

There is also health insurance that is no problem for students arriving from the EU or EEA being eligible for a European Health Insurance Card. For all other cases, you can benefit from our Health insurance for foreign students in the Netherlands guide.

Finally, getting around Amsterdam is mostly a matter of choice. And since it is only fair to provide you with helpful links from all 3 public universities in the city, you can get to know more about transportation with VU Amsterdam. For international students, the ISIC card is highly recommended as a good source of discount for restaurants, entertainment purposes, fitness, and of course, transport.

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