Life as a student in Amsterdam
As an international student at the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam, you will have to arrange a number of things upon your arrival. On this page you will find everything that is involved in living in the Netherlands.
After you arrived in the Netherlands, settled in your new house and explored your new city a bit, there are a couple of practical actions to take:
- register with your local municipality – BSN;
- get your DigiD;
- open a bank account;
- get health insurance;
- insure your belongings.
Good to know
Once you have taken care of the above, there are still some things that are important to consider, such as:
Upon arrival in the Netherlands
Register with your local municipality – BSN
If you stay in the Netherlands for more than 4 months, you must visit your local municipality and register as a resident in the Basic Registration of Persons (BRP) database. This will give you your Burgerservicenummer (BSN). You need a BSN to open a bank account, to take out health insurance or to get a job or internship in the Netherlands. Read more about the BSN at www.government.nl.
Get your DigiD
After you have received your BSN, you can apply for a DigiD. With this ID, you can arrange government-related matters online. With a DigiD, you can log in to government websites such as DUO (student grant), the Tax Office (taxes) or municipal services. Read more about DigiD for expats in the Netherlands here.
Opening a bank account
If you are staying in the Netherlands for a longer period of time, it is advisable to open a bank account. Most people use a Maestro debit card. Many supermarkets do not accept credit cards and some shops do not even accept cash. You must have a bank account if you are working or doing an internship. Read more about banking for expats in the Netherlands.
Apply for health insurance
Dutch health insurance is compulsory for all residents of the Netherlands. Students often stay temporarily, so they may not be obliged to take out insurance. Things change if you do an internship or have a part-time job. Read more about this on: health insurance for international students in the Netherlands.
Insure your belongings
There are various things you can get insurance for. Personal liability, repatriation and travel insurance, for example, are common in the Netherlands. Another important one is contents insurance. This insurance covers the contents of your student room against damage from fire, water damage or burglary. Many insurance companies offer student discounts or competitively priced insurance packages. It may look expensive, but it is really worth to be well insured. Read more about insurance for expats in the Netherlands.
Additional financial matters:
Cash is used less and less in the Netherlands these days. However, it is still handy to have a few loose euros or some bank notes in your pocket. But what is the current exchange rate and where is the best place to exchange it when you stay in the Netherlands for a longer period of time? And what else do you need to do in order to be able to arrange your financial affairs in the Netherlands? Here we will help you on your way.
Payments in euros
The euro (symbol: €; Dutch plural: euro) is the currency of the Netherlands as one of the 19 Member States of the European Economic and Monetary Union. The official ISO code for the currency is EUR.
Current exchange rates
On Wisselkoers.nl you will find the most up-to-date exchange rates for the euro and other currencies.
Discount cards for students
By showing your student card, students receive discounts at many cultural institutions, on computer software and at gyms. The AHK has special agreements with a number of companies and institutions in the fields of sports and software & hardware, among other things.
The CJP Cultuurkaart is not specifically for students, but for all young people under 30 years old, and gives discounts on (film) festivals, concerts, theatres and museums, among other things. The card costs €17.50 per year.
Fancy even bigger discounts? Then take a look at this small selection of websites:
- CJP Cultuurkaart – discounts for young people under 30 years old
- Studentenkorting.nl – student discounts in Amsterdam
If you experience financial problems during your studies, please contact the CvA Student Counsellor, Heleen de Kam, by email: email@example.com.
Together with you, the student counsellor will look for possible solutions, that will enable you to continue your studies as well as you can or guide you in deciding to defer or discontinue your studies for the time being. Discussions with the student counsellor are confidential and personal information is handled with great care. In general, the sooner you contact the student counsellor, the better advice you can expect to receive.
The National Institute for Budget Information (Nibud) is an independent organisation that informs and advises on financial matters. What does it cost to study? How much borrowing is sensible? Should I live in rooms or at home? Nibud outlines what studying involves.
Health and Safety
Students in need of medical assistance, should contact their general practitioner (GP) by phone. If you do not have a GP, you should register with one as soon as possible. If you are at a loss, you can contact our student counsellor, Heleen de Kam, in case of emergency, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essential information regarding medical care in the Netherlands
Support during your study
It is important that you, as a student, can study safely and healthily. And that you know who you can turn to if you need support in order to be able to do your study successfully. You can turn to the following people at the AHK:
The student counsellor provides information and guidance to students with both practical and personal matters, which are related to the study conditions and life as a student. Each academy/study programme has its own student counsellor.
You can turn to the student coach of the AHK for an introductory training session on planning and time management, a study-related stress/fear of failure training course and individual coaching.
The AHK has several confidential advisers. You can turn to a confidential adviser if you encounter (or have encountered) unsafe situations or undesirable behaviour.
You can talk to the liaison officers of the AHK if you have or have had to deal with domestic violence or child abuse in your private life.
If you have difficulty reading, writing or concentrating, you can make use of the online program TextAid.
In addition, every academy/study programme has its own facilities. For more information, please look on the website of your own academy or ask your student counsellor.
Codes of conduct and reporting codes
The AHK wants you to study study in a socially safe environment. In order to guarantee this, we apply various codes of conduct and reporting codes:
Code of Conduct for Public Safety (pdf)
Complaints procedure regarding undesirable behaviour (pdf)
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reporting Code (pdf)
Confidential Advisor AHK
It is of the utmost importance that everyone at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam can study and work in a pleasant environment. Safety, mutual empathy and respect are conditions for a good working environment and a successful study period. To counter any undesirable sexual intimidation and/or aggression, the AHK offers support by means of a code of conduct, confidential advisers and a complaints procedure. Read more here.
The AHK’s Code of Conduct.
Study and disability
If you need certain facilities or adaptations to access and participate in education and/or taking exams as a result of a (learning) disability (for example dyslexia), you can contact the student counsellor of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. She can refer you to the contact person of your study programme with whom you can discuss which facilities or adjustments you need to be able to progress with your studies. The discussions are confidential. The student counsellor can also refer you to organisations outside the conservatoire. Read more here.
Students in need of medical assistance (corona-related or otherwise), should contact their general practitioner (GP) by phone. If you do not have a GP, please register with one as soon as possible.
If you find yourself at a complete loss, you can contact our student counsellor, Heleen de Kam, at email@example.com, in case of an emergency.
GGD – The Municipal Health Service
The GGD is the executive branch of the municipality in the field of public health. The Amsterdam Public Health Service protects, monitors and promotes the health of Amsterdam residents. This is also called public health care.
You can contact the GGD for, among other things:
- COVID-19 – information on corona testing and vaccination;
- Sexually transmitted diseases (SOA) – such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Health insurance – click here
Narcotics: legislation & Academy rules
What should students know about use of alcohol and other drugs? What do these substances do to you? What is the effect of their use on your memory and study performance? How can you get through your student days without a hangover? Where can you get your drugs tested? And if you are worried about someone who drinks too much or abuses drugs, where can you turn to?
The answers to these and other questions can be found here.
If you need help
Your student life is a period full of new experiences: a new city, education, house and responsibilities. For many students, this also includes get-togethers, club nights and parties. Sometimes it can be a challenge to find the right balance.
Going to college with a hangover or calling in sick because of a Tuesday slump is not of immediate concern. However, what if it happens often enough to worry you and/or starts to affect your study results? Or if it makes you feel down, anxious or stressed for a prolonged period of time? It is possible that your substance use (or gaming or gambling) has got out of control. Read here what you can do.
Language skills for international students
De masteropleiding is tweetalig. Je beheerst het Engels op havo/vwo-niveau, of op een gelijk niveau volgens TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) of IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
Map of religious gatherings in Amsterdam
Many religions are represented in Amsterdam. The most important ones are listed below. Click on the map below to go to the interactive map where you can find addresses for religious gatherings in Amsterdam.
|Evangelical or Pentecostal church|
|Roman Catholic Church|
|Protestant Church Netherlands (PKN)|
|Christian church (other)|