The city of Amsterdam is often referred to as an alpha city due to it being an educational, cultural, and technological hub of Europe. It houses company giants like Tesla, Netflix, and Uber and serves as an important melting pot of cultures in Europe; representing people from over 150 countries.

Although Amsterdam is not one of the cheapest cities to live in, it attracts students from around the globe. The city has flourished over the years unlike any other and nurtured people like Anne Frank and Vincent Van Gogh. It is home to some of the finest educational institutions in the Netherlands and provides great opportunities for eager young minds to make a mark in their lives.

If you are planning to pursue your studies in the country, Amsterdam is a great place to start checking for affordable universities. To get you started, here are some of the budget-friendly universities in Amsterdam.

Affordable Universities in Amsterdam for International Students

1. VU Amsterdam

Vrije University is one of the two publically funded universities in Amsterdam; the other one is the University of Amsterdam. Founded in the year 1880 by a group of orthodox protestant Christians, the university today has over 23,000 students and about 3,000 highly qualified faculty staff.

Built on a huge area of about 100 acres, VU offers more than 50 bachelor’s, 150 master’s, and several Ph.D. programs to its students. The courses are delivered in both English and Dutch, hence making them accessible for international students.

2. Gerrit Rietveld Academie

Named after its current campus’s architecture, Gerrit Rietveld’s history can be traced back to 1924 when three schools merged to form the then-called Institute of Applied Sciences. The school first started offering two bachelor’s and five master’s programs.

Gerrit Rietveld Academie is driven by the idea of constant innovation and research, which helps this cheap university in Amsterdam churn highly skilled professionals from each of its courses. At present, it offers specialization in inter-architecture, fine arts, design lab, graphic design, fashion, jewelry, textiles, image and language, photography, glass, ceramics, DOG time, etc. Around 45% of the institute’s students are from 60 different countries, hence giving students great international exposure within the campus.

3. Amsterdam School of the Arts

Amsterdam School of the Arts is a vocational university located in the urban area of the city. It focuses solely on theatre, film and television, music, visual arts, arts education, cultural heritage, and dance. The courses provided are both, part-time and full-time at bachelor’s and master’s levels along with part-time, pre-masters, workshops, and summer schools being held throughout the year.

The lectures here are delivered in English and Dutch and some of the undergraduate programs are in mime, design and technology, pop music, production, jazz, classical music, cinematography, sound design, etc.

4. University of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam was established in the year 1632 and is one of the oldest educational institutions in the Netherlands. It is one of the best public universities in the country with over 31,000 students; making it the largest university by enrollment in the country.

The university offers programs in seven different fields; humanities, social and behavioral science, economics and business, law, medicine, and dentistry. Such has been its impact on education in the country that it has churned out 5 former prime ministers and 6 Nobel laureates.

5. Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences is a boutique university with its major expertise in business schools. It started with its first campus in Apeldoorn in 1987 and soon expanded to Amsterdam, and now also serves the city of Vienna.

Although the university started primarily as a business school, it now provides programs in five major fields; School of Arts and Technology, School of Sports and Health, Tourism and Hospitality, management, and education. Its BBA was ranked 2nd best in the country in 2018 by Keuzegids HBO. Since it is an applied science university, it has major collaborations with colleges around the world including the University of Brighton, Shanghai Business School, University of Fredericton, Financial University (Russia), and many more.

6. Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences was established in 1993 to provide professional higher education. This low-cost university offers courses in over 90 subjects to more than 40,000 students. A major number of programs are for undergrads and also in partnership with more than 250 institutes across 50 countries.

Its programs are classified into 7 main domains; technology, digital media and creativity, social work and law, education and parenting, economics and management, health, and exercise, and nutrition.

7. Tio University of Applied Sciences

Tio University of Applied Sciences was founded in the 1960s as a private entity. After five decades of its presence, it has made a name for itself as an intensive, small-scale, but high-quality educational institution. It has five campuses across the country in Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Hengelo, and Amsterdam.

The university offers detailed undergraduate courses in hotel and event management, international tourism, international business, and commerce, entrepreneurship & organizations.


The city of Amsterdam serves as a great thriving place for any individual. Its rich history, cultural diversity, scenic beauty, eye-catching architecture, and urban touch provide students with a great opportunity to become global citizens. Even though Amsterdam is one of the most expensive cities in the Netherlands to live in, these universities are reasonable enough to prove that they are worth their money.


We hope that this article on cheap universities in Amsterdam was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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