Are you new to Amsterdam or just looking for a new place to study? Well, we’ve got you covered! After reading this you’ll have plenty of new spots to tell your friends and go in study groups, or for a more intense study session, quieter places where you can get your work done. I started my university experience at the VU in 2020, which means almost all my experience has been online and as time went on, it became more and more difficult to study at home. Luckily, the VU allowed students to study in certain spots within the University which let new students find the ropes of their new home and meet all their new classmates. In the rest of this blog, I’ll let you know of my favourite spots both on and off-campus.
If you’ve been to the VU campus, you will have seen the big main building which holds most of the lectures and classes on campus. There are spots all around the building and it mostly depends on what type of environment you like to study in most. The 14th floor, although not the top floor of the main building, is in my experience the study spot with the best views. When you come out of the elevator and head towards the lecture halls and classrooms, you’ll find a few tables but if you go around the corner to the right, you’ll find many more. This area has plenty of spots and is mostly quiet which allows for focused learning but also provides the opportunity to study in groups. This place is ideal unless you’re easily distracted by the wonderful view, especially during the sunset. Even if you’re studying somewhere else and want a break around the time sunsets, head up there and take a minute to enjoy the view.
As mentioned earlier, the VU Main building has study spots that cater to every environment you desire. This one is for the people who like to study in silence and want to get some deeply focused work in. The University library expands from the 2nd floor all the way up to the 14th. Despite this, the 2nd floor has the largest study area within the library and is kitted out with everything from sofas and coffee tables to sleeping pods. The library is great as it allows you to study silently, but also if you get there early enough, you can get a room which is enclosed and seats 6 people very comfortably in case you have group work to do. In addition to this, the library also offers students the opportunity to use the university’s computers by logging in with their VU credentials.
Another great spot is in the new building, but as this has not been open for too long, I can’t say a specific area. But, if you want to experience a brand new and modern building to get your work done on campus, this is the spot. There are lots of spaces in the lobby area, which will be a bit noisier, but if you take the elevators and go up a few floors, you’ll be able to find a spot to suit your ideal study environment. The new building even has a small food court in case you want to get a snack mid study session and potentially one of the best features is a great bar, perfect for after a long study day if you want to grab a drink or two with friends.
Now the last spot on-campus, and sadly not used as much as the other spots due to the Amsterdam weather, is the outdoor sports in the courtyard of the campus. When the weather is good, this is the place to be. Whether you’re working by yourself, with friends, or just hanging out with them, the tables and benches are a great spot. Placed in the heart of campus, surrounded by the Italian restaurant, the bar/ restaurant, and Spar, you can get any type of food within 100m of each other. Besides that, if you like a break from studying and to break a little bit of a sweat, there is a basketball as well as beach volleyball courts right next to you.
So, the first location off-campus and possibly my favourite is the Volkshotel. Located in central Amsterdam, just across the Amstel River (Wibautstraat 150, 1091 GR Amsterdam) the Volkshotel is an ideal spot for people who don’t necessarily want to study on campus and like the café vibe. Although it is in fact a hotel, it has a working area with loads of spaces free for anybody to use. Furthermore, it hosts work cabins which you can rent which are ideal for meetings or group work. Just opposite the working area, there is a “laptop-free” café/ restaurant which offers great snacks and drinks. The Volkshotel is open from 7:30 am until Midnight, but my tip would be to get there as early as possible as it is a very popular spot and fills up quite quickly.
The second off-campus and last spot of this blog is a café called Coffee & Coconuts. This café is in the hip district of De Pijp (Ceintuurbaan 282-284, 1072 GK Amsterdam) and is open from 7 am until 7 pm. The building was originally built as a cinema in the 1920s but has been converted into an easy-going café, which because of its history has multiple levels with loads of spots. The bohemian atmosphere of the café makes it feel as though you’re no longer in Amsterdam, allowing for a great getaway from the busy Amsterdam environment surrounding it. Of course, C&C also offers a variety of organic snacks and great coffee from all over the world.
Phewww… that was a lot!
So, all in all, this should give you the opportunity to try out some new spots and switch it up from your usual studying environment, especially if you’ve been studying from home for the past 2 years. And another quick tip, which you can’t forget if it’s exam period: “You snooze, you lose!” So, make sure you get there early! Good luck!