Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
16 June 2024

& Blog

The Essential 8

Need a break from staring at your laptop or test tubes all day? The VU campus offers plenty of diversions. Check out these 8 can’t-miss hotspots: from a hidden rooftop terrace to an authentic Dutch pub.

Get physical on Campus Square

In the mood for a game of volleyball, table tennis or basketball? Campus Square is the place to go! But where do you get bats to play table tennis? And can anyone just use the basketball court? You’ll have to bring your own bats and balls, but you can play ping-pong or basketball any time you want. If you want to use the volleyball field, you have to reserve a timeslot at the VU Sports Centre.

image: Bryce Benda

Take a shower at the OZW building

Now that you’ve worked up a sweat, you might want to take a nice refreshing shower before heading to class (your fellow students will thank you). And you can! There are men’s and women’s showers and changing rooms on the sixth floor of the OZW Building – the dark-red building right next to the Main Building. Turn left when you get off the lift and you’ll see the showers by the coffee corner. Don’t want to take a shower all by your lonesome? Then use the communal showers at the Sports Centre on the ground floor of the OZW Building instead. 

image: Bryce Benda 

Rooftop garden on the fourth floor

Looking for a place to kick back and relax after a particularly intense game of ping-pong? Look no further than the rooftop garden on the fourth floor of the Main Building – a spot not many people know about. This hidden oasis offers peace and quiet, surrounded by greenery, right in the middle of campus. It’s a great place to chill out or study, or to just lie back and stare at the Dutch skies. Entering the Main Building from Campus Square, turn right and take the stairs to your right, next to the entrance to the Student Dock. The terrace is on the third floor, so it’s a bit of a climb, but then you get up there and open the door, and the most serene spot on campus stretches out before you. 

image: Bryce Benda

Mini oasis behind the Initium

Don’t feel like climbing all those stairs before starting your chill session? Then check out this idyllic mini oasis by the water on Buitenveldertselaan. Soft grass to stretch out on, trees for shade and there’s even a fountain! What more could you want? It’s slightly off the beaten track, but if you head down the alley to the right of the entrance to the Initium (which houses the Faculty of Law), you can’t miss it. 

image: Bryce Benda

Mindfulnest on the second floor

Need some alone time? Try the Mindfulnest in the University Library’s study room, on the second floor of the Main Building. This soundproof, egg-shaped cabin is a great place to meditate, listen to relaxing music or simply enjoy the silence. Perfect for a quick recharge!

image: Rob Bömer

Study spots galore

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but you might have to actually study from time to time. Luckily, the campus offers no shortage of fancy study spots. On the same floor as the Mindfulnest, you’ll find armchairs and leather sofas, bookcases, plants and the Pride Library. But there are all kinds of study spots on campus, so you’re always sure to find one that suits your needs. For a complete overview of all the study spots on campus, go to the University Library’s page on the VU website

image: Bryce Benda

Dutch pub in the W&N Building

Done studying and ready for a drink? If you’re looking for an authentic Dutch pub experience, there’s a genuine ‘brown café’ hidden inside the W&N Building, in room D-103 on the first floor. De Tegenstelling is run by the study association for biology and biomedical sciences students, but everyone is welcome. You can pop in for a drink on Wednesdays or Fridays, from 5 p.m. Just make sure you don’t have an exam the next day, because a freshly tapped beer (or a non-alcoholic beverage of your choice) will only set you back 1.10 euros. 

image: Gyrinus natans

Menstruation cupboards

If you need sanitary towels or tampons, drop by the Student Dock on the ground floor of the Main Building. There you’ll find a red cupboard with free sanitary products. The idea for the cupboard came from student union SRVU, which felt that sanitary products should be available to everyone. Too far away from the Main Building? There’s a second (white) cupboard at the Faculty of Medicine.

image: Bryce Benda

Translation: Taalcentrum VU


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