A Guide for First-Year Students

Best Locations On and Around Campus

By Chia-Ai Hsu | January 8, 2021

Header image: one of the entrances on the University of Amsterdam’s Roeterseiland Campus on November 25, 2020. Elisa Morand / The Amsterdammer

In 2020, first-year students were unable to participate in most  regular academic and social activities. As a  result of the limited on-campus activities, students in different years of a course are able to offer  a different perspective on their educational experience. 

Abiding by the regulations, first-year students can still safely explore the landmarks of a traditional campus experience. Sophie Nordenhed and Aakansha Gupta, two third-year students from the University of Amsterdam, recommend several spots which allow students to study and hang out with friends. 

Sophie, a 24 year-old who majors in Business Administration and Aakansha, a 21 year-old Communication Science major, have their facilities located on the Roeterseiland campus. From their experience of studying on  campus, they recommend several spots in and around Roeterseiland that they frequented. 

“On the first floor, there is a study room with a view of the canal next to the [C] building”, Sophie mentioned, “- that’s my favorite place to study and I’m the most effective there because I can see the weather and what’s going on outside but I can also see other people working which itself is very motivating.”

“You can sit under the bridge or those little windows outside the G building and have a chat even if it’s raining,” Aakansha added, and “if the weather is good, the green patch next to the G&K building” is the spot suggested by the 21 year-old to catch up with friends.

For places that allow a bit more time to either study or hang out, one of the top recommendations is CREA, located in building I of the campus. According to both students, it’s a great place to grab a coffee or beer after class.

“It’s nice and relaxing, you can get a nicer coffee than the ones in the canteen.” explained Sophie, “It’s an independent cafe but it’s got a students’ vibe.”

Other than CREA, there are several other cafes and bars for students to visit when regulations allow us to do so again. These include: Café de Krater, Kriterion, Coffee Company, Bagels and Beans, Poollokaal De Gracht (pool bar), Coffeeshop Het Ballonnetje, Bar Botanique and De Plantage. 

“If you want to be a little more fancy, [there’s a] a cafe called De Plantage, it’s next to Artis, and it’s very nice. They have affordable brunch meals but it’s a very fancy place so it’s nice to sit and maybe have a glass of wine in the middle of the day if you’re feeling exhausted.” said Aakansha.

“If you want to be a little more fancy, [there’s a] a cafe called De Plantage, it’s next to Artis, and it’s very nice.”

According to Sophie, along with the cafes and bars, most of the restaurants around campus also offer lower prices. Restaurants and brunch locations were frequent choices for students to meet up with friends who take different classes. The recommendations include: Benji’s, Water & Brood, The Breakfast Club, Vapiano (Italian restaurant) and Cantina Caliente (Mexican restaurant). 

Due to  current measures against Covid-19, it may be difficult for first-year students to properly experience  campus life. However, exploring the campus surroundings as well as the city’s hidden gems  is still a possibility

“Bike around the entire area, there are always things you can do and find; I think that’s the best way to explore.” added Aakansha. “If you really want to explore the campus, visit [it] at different times of the day. I think that gives you opportunities to see what campus life would be like. But in general, I think this is the best time to go around and explore the city of Amsterdam because that’s what you sort of do after classes anyway.”

No matter which campus your faculties are located on, it is always possible to explore the surroundings of other campuses. The book markets near the Oudemanhuispoort campus and the UvA Merchandise Store near the University Library are some spots Aakansha also recommends. 

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