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University of Amsterdam
Universiteit van Amsterdam
Latin: Athenaeum Illustre
Established 1632/1877
Type Public
President Dr K. van der Toorn
Rector Magnificus Prof. Dymph van den Boom
Faculty 2,336 (2008)[1]
Staff 3,996 (2008)[2]
Students 28,331 (2008)[3]
Location Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Buildings of the University of Amsterdam. The front building houses the Academic Club of the University

The University of Amsterdam (Dutch: Universiteit van Amsterdam) is a comprehensive research university located in the heart of the city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. With a budget of 487 million, over 28,000 students and around 5,000 staff, the UvA is one of the major universities in Europe. There are seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioral sciences, Economy, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. It has a strong internationalization programme and offers over 85 English Master programmes taught in English, as well as a number of Dutch and English language courses. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) should not be confused with Amsterdam's second university, the VU University. In 2006, the UvA joined the League of European Research Universities (LERU). The universities work together to invest in European 'centres of excellence', with the aim of maintaining Europe's strong position in the global knowledge economy.





The words "Athenaeum Illustre" on the gate of the Agnietenkapel

The commonly-held predecessor of the University of Amsterdam, the Athenaeum Illustre (Latin - the illustrious Athenaeum) was founded in the 14th-century Agnietenkapel in Amsterdam in 1632, to educate students in History and Philosophy. Professors lectured publicly and tutored privately. In January 1632 two internationally acclaimed scholars, Caspar Barlaeus and Gerardus Vossius, held their inaugural speeches here. In the course of the seventeenth century, Law, Medicine and Theology were introduced in the curriculum. Alumni (whilst it was still the Athenaeum) include Cornelis Petrus Tiele.

Municipal university

The Athenaeum remained a small institution until the nineteenth century, with no more than 250 students and eight teachers. This situation changed only slowly. In 1815 the Athenaeum Illustre was officially recognised as an institute of higher education. In 1877, Athenuem Illustre is reorganised to become the university of the municipality of Amsterdam. It became the Gemeentelijke Universiteit van Amsterdam (GU or 'Municipal University') and it received the right to confer doctoral degrees. The professors were appointed by the city council and the mayor presided over the university administration. Because the Amsterdam city council was noted for its progressive politics this scheme guaranteed a large degree of intellectual freedom for the university.

Universiteit van Amsterdam

Very little then changed until 1961, when the national government took control of financial responsibility. The university ceased to be the Gemeentelijke Universiteit and finally became the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

In 1969 the university became nationwide news when the university's administrative center at the Maagdenhuis was occupied by students who wanted more democratic influence. During the seventies and eighties the university was often the target of nationwide student actions.


The UvA has seven faculties. Each faculty is headed by a dean. Teaching and research are carried out in various departments and institutes within the individual faculties.

Faculty of Dentistry

The Academic Centre for Dentistry in Amsterdam (Dutch: Faculteit der Tandheelkunde) (ACTA) was founded in 1984 through a merger of the two dentistry faculties of the Universiteit of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. ACTA conducts scientific research, teaches and provides patient care in the field of dentistry. ACTA is one of the largest dentistry education and training programmes in the world, with 540 staff members, an annual new-student enrolment of 128 and a total student body of 859.

Faculty of Economics and Business

The Faculty of Economics and Business (Dutch: Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde) (FEB) was established in 1922. The FEB, which includes the Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) and the Amsterdam Business School (ABS), currently has around 4,000 students and nearly 600 staff.

Faculty of Humanities

The Faculty of Humanities (Dutch: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen) (FGw) is divided into six departments: Dutch studies, History, Archaeology and Area studies, Language and Literature, Media studies, Philosophy, and Art, Religion and Cultural studies. Around 6500 students follow the courses on offer, and there are 800 staff members.

Faculty of Law

The faculty of law at the Oudemanhuispoort

The Faculty of Law (Dutch: Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid) (FdR) is housed in the Oudemanhuispoort, a historic building dating from 1602 situated in the centre of Amsterdam. With 4000 students and 350 staff members, the Faculty of Law at the Universiteit van Amsterdam is one of the largest faculties in the Netherlands. The Faculty offers eight LLM programmes, of which two are taught in English. In addition the Faculty offers three advanced LLM programmes, which are all taught in English. Research at the Faculty is undertaken by five research institutes which specialise in the following areas: International law, Private law, Environmental law, Labour law and Information law.

Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine (Dutch: Faculteit der Geneeskunde) (FdG), each year, approximately 350 first-year students begin their study of medicine at the Academic Medical Center. The first, four-year phase consists mainly of thematic teaching. The second, two-year phase consists of training - 'internships' - in- and outside of the AMC.

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science (Dutch: Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica) (FNWI) is a leading centre of academic research and education. The Faculty of Science consists of four departments with 1200 researchers and lecturers, including 150 full- and part-time professors operating in ten research institutes. The main faculty buildings are located on the Science Park Amsterdam.

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (Dutch: Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen) (FMG) is the largest educational and research institution in the social and behavioural sciences in the Netherlands. Approximately 1,100 staff members contribute to the research and education programmes.

The Faculty is home to six departments: Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, Communication Science, Psychology, Social Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, and Educational sciences.

Research institutes

Overview of University of Amsterdam research institutes:

  • AMC Research Intitute (Medicine)
  • Amsterdam Business School Research Institute
  • Amsterdam Center for International Law
  • Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication
  • Amsterdam Centre for Conflict Studies
  • Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies
  • Amsterdam Institute for Private Law
  • Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis
  • Amsterdam School for Social Science Research
  • Amsterdam School of Communications Research
  • Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek
  • Centre for Environmental Law
  • Hugo Sinzheimer Institute (Labour and Law)
  • Informatics Institute
  • Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Institute for High Energy Physics
  • Institute for Information Law
  • Institute for Logic, Language and Computation
  • Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies
  • Institute for Theoretical Pysics
  • Institute of Culture and History
  • Korteweg-De Vries Institute for Mathematics
  • Leibniz Center for Law
  • Psychology Research Institute
  • Research Institute in Economics and Econometrics Amsterdam
  • SCO-Kohnstamm Institute (Child rearing, education and child welfare)
  • Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences
  • Tinbergen Institute (Economics)
  • Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences
  • Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (Condensed Matter Physics, Complex Soft Mattter and Quantum Gases-Atom Optics)

Notable professors

Notable alumni





  • Max Euwe, World Chess Champion 1935–1937

International acclaim

On the 2009 THE–QS World University Rankings list, the University of Amsterdam was ranked inside the top 50 for the second time in six years. An overview:

Year Rank (Change)
2004 98
2005 58 ( 40)
2006 69 ( 11)
2007 48 ( 21)
2008 53 ( 5)
2009 49 ( 4)


External links

Coordinates: 52°22′6″N 4°53′25″E / 52.36833°N 4.89028°E / 52.36833; 4.89028

Simple English

University of Amsterdam is the university of the city of Amsterdam, capital to the Netherlands.


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