• Location: Amsterdam (Map)
  • Dates: Spring
  • Class requirement: Sophomore
  • GPA requirement: 2.5

Each year, Dutch and science students travel off-campus for a semester in Amsterdam. Through this program, you'll live in residence halls at the world-renowned VU University Amsterdam with students from all over the world.

Want to stay on track with your science major or engineering program and go on an off-campus semester? With Calvin's new agreement with the VU University, Amsterdam for the spring semester, you can choose two science courses, one humanities/social science course (all in English) and take one (Calvin) core course. These courses can easily count toward your major and core—and you can still graduate in four years. With the strong Dutch tradition in the natural sciences, and because of Calvin's ethnic heritage and longstanding relationship with the VU University, Amsterdam is an ideal location for this program, which is primarily meant for science and engineering students.


Two courses are required for all students in the Netherlands Program.

  1. During the January interim prior to the off-campus semester, all students (except those who have already taken such a course) will enroll in a one-semester hour course in Dutch language and culture offered at Calvin. This course will be in addition to a regular inteirm course.
  2. All students will be enrolled in the following course, taught by the Netherlands semester program director:
    • STNL 230: Toward Environmental Sustainability in the Netherlands: HIstorical Perspectives and Contemporary Practices

At the VU University Amsterdam, you will enroll in three courses in addition to STNL 230. These will be taught in English. Most students will take two science courses from the list below and one humanities/social science course (that will count as a Calvin core course) from the university's list of courses, taught in English.

Science courses: The VU University Amsterdam has agreed to offer the following courses in English. Calvin science and engineering students will normally register for two of these. Both Calvin and VU University Amsterdam students will be enrolled in these courses:

  • Electricity and Magnetism (VU 420016)
  • Materials Science (VU 420194)
  • Human Evolution (VU 470055)
  • Developmental Biology
  • Digital Spatial Data (VU 450023)

Humanities and social science courses: A variety of humanities and social sciences courses are offered in English by the Free University. Most of these courses are 5-6 ECTS units, or 3-4 Calvin semester hours. Normally, science and engineering students will take one bachelor level course from the VU Guide for Exchange Students. This course can, upon approval, earn Calvin core credit or serve as an elective in the program of the student. Engineering students, in particular, will use this course to satisfy a Calvin literature requirement.


You will stay in university housing that contain private rooms with en suite bathrooms, a shower, a refrigerator and a common kitchen.


You must be at least a sophomore with a 2.5 grade point average to apply to this program. Science and engineering students will be given first preference. Remaining openings will first be filled with students from Calvin's Dutch language and culture program, then by all other Calvin students.


The final program cost is based on many factors and is not known exactly until the number of students in the group has been identified. The financial information page covers the details that go into the cost of the program and rough estimates for each. The price for the semester will include:

  • Tuition (four courses)
  • Round-trip air transportation from Grand Rapids to Amsterdam
  • Room and Board
  • Residency Permit
  • Excursions

Additional expenses not included in the program fee: textbooks, passport, spending money, medical insurance (required) and independent travel


The preliminary application is available here, or in the Off-Campus Programs Office. If you are interested in this off-campus semester, make an appointment with the appropriate professor on the Studies in the Netherlands advisory committee.

The primary contacts are Henk Aay and Robert Hoeksema. Biology or chemistry students interested in this program should consult with John Ubels or Eric Arnoys. Contact Herman De Vries if you are in the Dutch language and culture program. All other students should contact Henk Aay.

Questions / contact

Henk Aay

Professor Emeritus
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Robert Hoeksema

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Eric Arnoys

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Herman De Vries

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