Coronavirus: Carefully returning to campus

Last change on Wednesday 1 July: an update on defence ceremonies.

07/01/2020 | 4:00 PM

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- Frequently asked questions
- Information for international students
- Working in times of corona
- Studying in times of corona
- Exams with online proctoring
- Updates: archive



From the 1st of September there are three possibilities for defence ceremonies at the VU Amsterdam. 

  • Physical: with - next to the committee - a maximum of 30 guests. (reception for up to 40 guests possible within the VU)
  • Hybrid: committee members can participate online in the physical promotion in the auditorium (reception for up to 40 guests possible within the VU).
  • Online: the whole promotional ceremony is online

For orations and farewell speeches there is always a live stream available via the YouTube channel of the VU Beadle's Office. A maximum of 75 guests are allowed in the hall, including cortège. A reception afterwards within the main building of the VU is not possible.

For more information, please visit VUnet 



No more public transport restrictions as of 1 August

The government announced new relaxations of the corona measures on the evening of Wednesday 24 June. One of the most important relaxations is that as of August 1, all travel restrictions for students will lapse. This creates more opportunities for physical education and meeting on our campus. We have worked hard to get this relaxation done and are pleased that our call for more physical contact between students and with teachers has been heard by the government.

The RIVM rules - e.g. keeping a distance of 1.5 meters - and their elaboration in our own campus protocols remain in force and space on campus will still be limited even after August 1st. Therefore, all lectures will be given online in the first semester of the new academic year and working groups will also take place mainly online. This also applies to taking exams. In doing so, we can use the scarce space on campus for location-based research and education and small-scale (educational) activities, focusing on meeting, working together and studying together. This is indispensable for our current students and even more so for prospective students who have yet to find their way.

Education on campus
In period 1 of the first semester, education remains online for the majority of students, but due to the expansion of public transport, there are now more opportunities to facilitate the important physical contact between students and their instructors. We will try to organize it in such a way that every student will be able to come to VU Amsterdam in the first semester for education or other activities. This will be noticeable for most students from period 2 onwards, because the timetables for period 1 have almost been worked out. In period 2 we are going to work with spaced lecture times and an adapted educational programme to be able to use the campus as well as possible within the 1.5 meter rule. In addition, we will also ask anyone who lives within a reasonable distance of VU Amsterdam to come on foot or by bike. This will allow a little more space in buses, trams or trains for those who need to travel a greater distance.

Meetings on campus
The government has also announced relaxations for meetings. A maximum on the number of visitors has been dropped, but the 1.5-metre rule continues to apply. As of the new academic year, promotions will again be planned on campus. Until then, they will be organized online. We are currently investigating whether we can also create space for other meetings on our campus.

Consultations with carriers
VU Amsterdam regularly consults with, among others, GVB, NS and representatives of the safety region. The new relaxations and how we are going to implement them are also discussed. Additional agreements are being made with these partners within these relaxations. We will announce the agreements as soon as they have been established



Travelling abroad

From 15 June travelling abroad is possible, but limited. It is only possible to travel to areas that have a green or yellow travel advice on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Due to the corona virus, however, there are still many uncertainties that could potentially lead to rapid and unexpected changes in travel advice, possibly leading to an early return. It is therefore recommended to check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you plan your trip and that if the travel advice is yellow to only travel if your trip is necessary and cannot be postponed. 

Students and researchers who want to go to areas with a yellow travel advice must discuss this beforehand with their tutor or supervisor. Any costs incurred in case of a cancellation or early return due to new corona measures, will not be reimbursed from the central financial resources. For exchange programmes, the previously communicated guidelines continue to apply.

Employees can contact their manager for advice and students can contact the International Office ( See specific information on VU travel policy on VUnet.



Education starts on campus

Due to the corona crisis, students of VU Amsterdam have been following online education for weeks. For most of our location-based education, such as education in labs, an online alternative was not possible or a huge puzzle. We are therefore very happy that for this type of education, students were allowed to come to our campus again. This week, among others, the first students will start at our Faculty of Science.

Lab skillsare learned on location
Thanks to the creativity and inventiveness of teachers, students have in some cases been able to follow their practical education at home. This is the case, for example, with the Bio-Analytic Chemistry lab of the Medical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Sciences programmes, which is taught by VU teachers Oscar van Linden and Jeroen Kool. "Analytical lab education consists largely of analysing, processing and writing down data measured with analytical equipment. Normally this data is measured by the students in the labs. With the help of an Excel script, we have now generated useful data ourselves, with which the students have then set to work after attending all the lectures that go with the lab," say Van Linden and Kool.

It is admirable that in a number of cases the practical education has taken place online. However, for students it is essential to follow their lab education on campus to master the general analytical and technical lab skills and to learn about the associated safety aspects. In the coming period, these students will be present in groups of five per day in a lab room and will all work individually, so that sufficient distance can be kept. 

Studying together
We expect that our education will have a 'hybrid' form for a longer period of time: online, and if possible, on campus. This not only depends on the space offered by the campus, but the possibilities in public transport also plays an important role. We are currently holding constructive talks in which we are working on more possibilities for students in public transport. After all, a physical meeting on campus is crucial for our education, because at VU Amsterdam you study together.



Contact and frequently asked questions
What are the consequences of the coronavirus for working and studying at VU Amsterdam? Read our frequently asked questions. The FAQ will be updated as soon as there is new information to share. If your question is not listed, employees and students of VU Amsterdam can contact their information points

Information about the new coronavirus
You can find the most up-to-date information about the new coronavirus on the website of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The RIVM is monitoring the situation in the Netherlands and has a questions & answers page available about the coronavirus. VU Amsterdam is following the advice of the RIVM closely, together with other Dutch universities.

Travelling abroad
Consult the FAQ page if you have a question about travelling abroad on behalf of VU Amsterdam. Everybody is advised to visit the websites of the central government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for general guidelines and travel advice before departing abroad.

What can people do to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
The most important measures that people can implement to prevent the spread of coronavirus are quite simple. It is important to implement them, as they apply to all viruses related to the flu or cold:

  • Wash your hands with soap regularly
  • Cough and sneeze on the inside of your elbow
  • Use paper handkerchiefs
  • Don't shake hands
  • Keep a good distance from other people (at least 1.5 metres)