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Amsterdam: Health and Higher Education

Thanks to our expat guide to living in Amsterdam, with info on housing, education, and healthcare, you will quickly find your way around your new home. Like most expats, you will love Amsterdam for its multicultural charm, easy-going attitude, and picturesque flair.
Dutch bikes represent the dynamic, yet relaxed, lifestyle in Amsterdam.

Universiteit van Amsterdam

The UvA offers 250 BA and MA programs to foreigners and Dutch nationals alike. Many courses are taught in English, usually at graduate level. The Universiteit van Amsterdam has 7 faculties:

  • Humanities
  • Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • Economics and Business
  • Law
  • Science
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry

To apply to one of the five English BA programs, you require a high school diploma or an equivalent to the Dutch VWO. For BA programs taught in Dutch, you will need to pass a Dutch proficiency examination (Dutch as a second language (NT2), program II). Other examinations may be recognized if they prove your proficiency in Dutch.

MA programs are often taught in English. The minimum requirements are a BA degree in a related subject or field as well as a sufficient command of the English language. To learn more about administration requirements and individual programs, contact the UvA.

The university ranked 58th in the QS World University Rankings 2017 and is one of the top 15 universities in Europe. There are over 3,000 foreign students and researchers, allowing it to offer a special opportunity to study in a truly international environment.

Vrije Universiteit

The VU offers four English BA programs, for which prospective students can apply online. To do so, they require a copy of their school diploma, a letter of motivation, a copy of their passport or ID, a CV, two letters of recommendation and the results of their English language test. To enter the Dutch BA program, applicants must provide a VWO diploma or an equivalent thereof.

The university has implemented a selection system for very popular majors. If there are too many applicants for a certain program, students are chosen via a lottery system. The exact procedure and requirements for admission vary depending on the faculty and course.

Amsterdam University College

VU and UvA both collaborate with Amsterdam University College. Students who want to apply for any BA program at one of the two universities can use the AUC online form. Here you have to submit the digital version of your application documents. The minimum requirements are:

  • a secondary school diploma
  • very good English skills
  • good mathematical skills

If your application is considered promising, you will be invited to an interview, which can be conducted in person or via Skype.

Hospitals and Emergencies in Amsterdam

There are two university hospitals in Amsterdam, Het AMC and VU Medisch Centrum, and two teaching hospitals, Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, and Sint Lucas Andreas Ziekenhuis. On top of that, there are several clinics to provide emergency care.

Should you ever be in need of emergency care, you can call 112. This number is only to be used in very serious medical or life-threatening situations. Otherwise, simply phone 088-00-30-600 to get in touch with a general practitioner on duty.

Finding the Best Doctors

General physicians (huisarts) have their practices in residential areas all over the city. Most patients choose a doctor who is close to their home, in case of emergency. In any case, your health insurance should cover all basic treatments. If you are not sure, check with your insurance provider beforehand.

To find a doctor in your neighborhood, visit Both websites are in Dutch, but easy to use. Enter your postal code in the text box and click zoek (search)You will then get a list of doctors in your area. Your expat friends may also be able to recommend a general practitioner to you.

If you are looking for a dentist, it is best to contact the Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD) for a list. Dental treatments are not covered under the Dutch basic insurance package. A supplementary insurance policy can, however, cover up to 75% of the costs.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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