The organisation

With approximately 5,500 employees, Vrije Universiteit (in short VU Amsterdam) is a complex and dynamic organization whose daily work involves education, research and all related areas. The Executive Board is responsible for the day-to-day management of the university, while the faculties are responsible for teaching and research. Supporting processes such as Communication & Marketing, Information Technology  and HRMAM are overseen by the university’s service departments.

Organization and management of VU Amsterdam


Our mission

We take responsibility for people and the planet by delivering value driven education, research and knowledge transfer. We imbue students and professionals with knowledge and ‘A Broader Mind’. We pursue pioneering research, both within and across disciplines. As free thinkers with a focus on diversity, purpose and compassion, our students and staff have a deep connection with one another while being fully engaged with society as a whole. This is Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s mission.

The basic philosophy of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is expressed in three core values: responsible, open and personally engaged. Those who are part of the VU community endorse these values.

Our mission and core values

Our history

Vrije Universiteit was founded as a private university in 1880 by five professors (including the initiator of the university, Abraham Kuijper), who taught five students. Vrije meant ‘free’, as in free from the prevailing church, state and commercial interests. In this line of thought, VU Amsterdam was funded through many small personal contributions by people from every part of Amsterdam’s society.

From its modest beginnings on the Keizersgracht with just three faculties – Theology, Art and Law – the Vrije Universiteit grew into a medium-sized university by the 1960s. Today we are a dynamic educational organization with 5,500 employees and over 30,000 students. Throughout the years, we have remained true to the ideals of our founders: diversity, solidarity (inclusion) and quality. 


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