Go to Intro Week
These events and parties organised by students for students are the perfect opportunity to make new friends – the people who will make your time in the Amsterdam Area the best it can be.
Buy a bicycle
True Amsterdammers cycle literally everywhere, and you’ll soon agree that it’s the best way to get around. Even if you haven’t ridden one in years, you’ll pick it up again like, well, riding a bike. Find out more about transport in the Amsterdam Area.
Find your way around the neighbourhoods
Amsterdam can be conveniently broken into neighbourhoods that each have their own charms and quirks. Explore stylish De Pijp, vibrant Westerpark, the leafy streets of De Plantage and many more.
Registration is mandatory for everyone living in the Netherlands. Once you have your BSN number, you can open a bank account, apply for health insurance and find part-time work if your visa allows. Learn all about registration.
Open a bank account
You’ll notice signs in supermarkets and stores that say 'pinnen' or 'pinnen, ja graag' – this is a debit card that is often the preferred method of payment in the Netherlands. To get one, open an account at a bank like ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank or the SNS-bank. Your international debit card may also function for in-store payments, but beware of extra charges for currency conversion by your bank.
Taste the local delicacies
From sweet sticky stroopwaffels to local cheeses and clouds of happiness known as poffertjes, trying traditional Dutch foods helps you get to know the culture. Local craft beers have taken off in recent years and are also well worth sampling.
Invest in a rain coat
In case you hadn’t noticed, it rains in Amsterdam rather a lot. Do as the locals do and don’t let it spoil your fun. Stay dry and look stylish with a great jacket from Dutch designer, Rain Couture, or Amsterdam-based online store Make it Rain who stock a large range of the world’s best.
Go to the galleries
Amsterdam’s impressive range of museums and galleries are perfect for filling those gaps between lectures. The museumkaart (website in Dutch) is designed for residents and gives you unlimited entry to most museums for a year, and sometimes lets you skip the queue!
Apply for health insurance
Find out if you’re required to take out health insurance and how to apply. There are a variety of providers to choose from, and some offer websites in English.
Download the essential apps
We’re not sure what did people do before Google Maps, but there are several other apps that come in handy in Amsterdam. 9292 is your public transport saviour, Q! Amsterdam acts as your personal tour guide, and Pathé lets you check movie times and book tickets digitally – you'll be pleased to know that movies are screened in their original languages with Dutch subtitles.
Get out of town
When adventure calls, head out and explore the greater Amsterdam Area. Beautiful windmills, windswept beaches and Medieval castles are just a short journey from the city centre. You'll also learn that Amsterdam is extremely well connected to the rest of Europe. Hop on a train to Brussels, Antwerp, Paris or London, or catch a flight to almost any European city from Schiphol Airport.