Universities in Amsterdam - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in Amsterdam

By Niamh O

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Whether you'd like to cycle along Amsterdam's canals or discover new artists at a music venue - there are so many things to do in the city as a student.

The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a hugely popular tourist destination, known for its pretty canals, art scene (both historic and contemporary), café culture and generally laid-back and tolerant character. In 2021, Amsterdam climbed seven places to reach 17th, after seeing a nine place rise in the student mix indicator, where it is also highly ranked in the student view indicator, where it ranks sixth in the world. This improvement reflects Amsterdam’s high quality of life, vibrant student community, and good ratings from graduate employers both locally and further afield. 

While Amsterdam doesn’t have a huge selection of high-ranking universities claimed by the likes of London and Paris, its flagship University of Amsterdam certainly holds its own, coming 55th in the QS World University Rankings® 2022.

As a student, you’ll have plenty of time to explore all the sites and activities Amsterdam is famous for: spend a day rummaging through a flea market, admiring the works of the great masters up-close, or discovering great new street art; head to the latest hot music venue, enjoy cycling beside the pretty waterways, or spend an afternoon (and evening) at your favourite café, catching up with friends.

Amsterdam receives a very high score for desirability, reflecting its safety and high quality of life. It also prompts good reviews from many students, with one survey respondent praising the city’s lifestyle and inclusivity: “Amsterdam offers incredibly high living standards and is very open towards the LGBT community.” Another commented, “The city is very tolerant and full of art and culture, plus the nightlife is amazing.

Would Amsterdam get your vote? Tell us why.

Best universities in Amsterdam: QS Best Student Cities ranking: 21st

University of AmsterdamVrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA)

More about Amsterdam

Number of universities ranked by QS

2

Highest-ranked institution

University of Amsterdam (55th)

Population

1,149,000

Average international fees (at ranked unis)

US$9,900

Desirability rank

6th

Employer Activity rank

44th

Affordability rank

=77th

Student View rank

14th

To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Amsterdam?

One thing's for sure, if you choose to study in Amsterdam, your social calendar will be packed. An exhibition, shopping at the market, a picnic in Vondelpark, a festival – and that’s just your Saturday.

Amsterdam is considered a small town metropolis with lots of tight-knit neighbourhoods that you can easily cycle through. Of the 1,149,000 population, 57,000 are students - and international students make up 12,000 of the total student population.

Amsterdammers continue to come out as among the happiest people in the world according to a number of studies. The city is clean and safe, where your mode of transport doubles as exercise (goodbye, gym membership) and there are beautiful parks and green spaces to recharge in. 

Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Mondrian made it big in Amsterdam, so imagine the possibilities that await you. Art and culture is a way of life here, and with some of the world’s best museums, galleries and concert venues, there a pool of inspiration waiting to be tapped into. In fact, students seem to enjoy the city and all it has to offer so much that Amsterdam landed the 14th spot globally this year for student view.

Cost of living in Amsterdam

According to Numbeo, the estimated monthly costs for a single person living in Amsterdam (not including rent) is US$1,100. If you'd like to live in Amsterdam's city centre, renting a one bedroom apartment will set you back US$1,832.

Ranking =77th in the world for affordability, Amsterdam falls somewhere in the middle of the table for being an affordable student city.

Career in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an old European capital city with a modern outlook, offering plenty of unique employment opportunities for domestic and international students alike hoping to develop their career.

It may surprise you that the Dutch working environment is informal and flexible. Although the standard work week is 40 hours, many companies are open to flexible work hours, such as a four-day week.

There are around 180 nationalities represented in Amsterdam, so internationals have no trouble feeling at home in the city. English is prevalent and is the primary business language in a growing number of companies, so while it’s always recommended to learn Dutch, you'll still be able to work in the city if you only speak English.

Some of the key benefits of working in Amsterdam include work-life balance and quality of life - but that's not all. For highly skilled internationals wanting to work in the Netherlands, a major fiscal benefit is the 30 percent ruling tax advantage. However, this is only applicable to those who have an employment offer in place before moving to Amsterdam.

And so it's no surprise as to why Amsterdam is ranked 44th in the world for employability.

This article was originally published in July 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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