Student organisations in Amsterdam

There are many student organisations functioning in Amsterdam. Some organisations are meant specifically for foreign students while others offer membership to all. The main focus of student unions is to provide their members with a network of friends, offer recreational or educational activities and to provide help with everyday issues.
Those organisations that have a specific membership usually charge a yearly fee from their members, while being part of other groupings can be completely free.
Almost every university faculty has also their own student organisations, in addition to representative student bodies. The prerequisite of joining the faculty unions is being a student of one of the programmes offered at that faculty. Also, the activities might be of a more specialised nature, having to do with the content of the education offered in the study programmes.
Below is a description of larger student organisations.

International Student Network

The ISN was founded in 1997 and belongs to the Erasmus Student Network, a European student organisation. This network, set up by Dutch students under the supervision of UvA and HvA, offers recreation to all foreign students in Amsterdam, there is no joining fee or membership, students are simply offered the chance to take part in numerous activities organised by the ISN, such as trips around Holland, theme parties etc. The Network has an introduction week at the beginning of every schoolyear and weekly borrels (that is Dutch for drinks) on Thursday nights throughout the academic year, therefore providing a meeting point for international students. The ISN also runs a mentor system whereby it offers to assign a Dutch student to assist foreign students in adapting to Dutch life.
Contacts:
Address: Vendelstraat 2, 1012 XX Amsterdam,
Tel.: 0031205253721, fax: 0031205254547,
email: isn@stuc.uva.nl, website: www.isn-amsterdam.nl,
office hours: Mon, Wed, Fri 13.00-17.00.

ESN VUniverse

This organisation is similar in function to the ISN in that it is established at the Vrije Universiteit in order to help their foreign students find their way around Amsterdam. This is mainly done by organising student parties, trips around the area and other activities.
Contacts:
Address: ESN-VUniverse, De Boelelaan 1083a, room N-044, 1081 HV Amsterdam
Tel.: 0031-20-5985344,
email: mail@esn-vuniverse.nl, website: www.esn-vuniverse.nl

ASVA

ASVA (Algemene Studenten Vereniging Amsterdam – The General Student Union of Amsterdam) is meant for Dutch and foreign students alike. In order to become a member you pay a yearly fee (around EUR 15) which gives you the right to participate in a lottery for housing, buy discount second-hand bikes at a sale organized by ASVA, take part in lectures, debates and other activities. ASVA also represents the interests of the students at the universities and provides legal help with issues concerning studying.
Contacts:
General address: Vendelstraat 2, 1012 XX Amsterdam,
Tel.: 0031206225771, fax: 0031206225772,
Email: bestuur@asva.uva.nl, website: www.asva.uva.nl

ASVA Kamerbureau (Room Office) at desk 7, Binnengasthuisstraat 9, 1012 ZA, Amsterdam
Tel.: 0031205253136, fax: 0031205252921,
email: kamerbureau@asva.uva.nl, website: www.asva.uva.nl/kamerbureau
Office hours: Mon-Fri 12.30-16.00, Thu 12.30-18.00.

FSS – Foreign Student Service

This organisation was established in 1951 to provide foreign students with assistance and advice. The organisation is mainly concerned with providing information about bureaucratic matters such as residence permits, practical issues like health insurance, student grants and accommodation; it also helps students find a suitable Dutch language course by publishing an informative brochure, and organises other activities.
Contacts:
Address: Oranje Nassaulaan 5, 1075 AH Amsterdam,
Tel.: 0031206715915,
email: info@foreignstudents.nl, website: www.foreignstudents.nl.

AEGEE – Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l'Europe

This is a pan-European student organization whose local branches operate also in other Dutch cities besides Amsterdam. Since the members tend to be mainly Dutch students, it is a good way to make some local friends. It is active in Amsterdam since 1985, and membership costs EUR 30 per year. They organize student parties and have a weekly borrel (drinks). Together with other branches (there are over 220 in different cities in Europe) they organize a yearly Summer university, conferences and trips around Europe, as well as lectures and activity days based around different topics.
Contacts:
Address: Vendelstraat 2, 1012 XX Amsterdam,
Tel.: 0031205252496,
Website: www.aegee-amsterdam.nl.

More info on student unions in Amsterdam

Amsterdamse Kamer van Verenigingen (The Amsterdam Chamber of Unions),
Address: Vendelstraat 2, 1012 XX Amsterdam,
email: bestuur@akvv.nl, website: www.akvv.nl.