Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) students are immersed in Amsterdam during their studies. This bustling cosmopolitan city, and capital of the Netherlands, is home to people from 180 nations and English is widely spoken. Amsterdam is an international business hub, renowned as a hotbed of education and research in all conceivable areas: culture and society, trade, logistics, aviation, shipping, information technology, sports, healthcare and more.

The slogan of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) is 'Creating Tomorrow'. The university inspires students to work on the future by producing creative solutions and sustainable innovations, connecting today with tomorrow. ‘Creating Tomorrow’ expresses the active social role that the AUAS plays in Amsterdam.

With the city as their classroom, our students and lecturers work closely with countless industries, companies and organisations to come up with smart solutions to challenges facing our city. The unifying theme of the research done at AUAS is to respond to the city’s needs. The wide range of research and education offered by the AUAS contributes to solving metropolitan problems.

AUAS at a glance

Our university of applied sciences consists of seven faculties. We have a total of 48,669 students and offer 92 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Associate degree programmes. We are one of the biggest employers in the field of higher education, and in Amsterdam, with some 4,469 staff members.

Download our international brochure for information on our English offering at AUAS.

The AUAS is a university of applied sciences that revolves around the city of Amsterdam. The urban environment serves as a laboratory and source of inspiration for our practice-based research – both in Amsterdam and further afield in our network of international partner cities. Our multidisciplinary approach sees us collaborate to find solutions to metropolitan and social issues. AUAS research is always linked to the education we offer at AUAS.

The AUAS works closely with other knowledge institutions, the business community and the government in so-called Centres of Expertise (CoE). Within the AUAS there are seven CoEs: Applied Artificial Intelligence, City Net Zero, Creative Innovation, Economic Transformation, Urban Education, Urban Governance and Social Innovation and Urban Vitality.

The business sector needs graduates who have both intercultural and international (work/study) experience. We have 250 partner institutes across 50 different countries and contribute to various international educational projects such as curriculum development, research projects, student/lecturer exchanges and work placements. This ensures that the education, and research activities, provided by AUAS are internationally orientated.

AUAS is a founding member of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance (U!REKA). This unites seven European higher education institutions, which have formed a strategic alliance around the shared themes of applied research, professional education, focus on our students’ future world of work and the professional development of our staff.

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences was created in 1993 following the merger of two large universities of applied sciences, the Algemene Hogeschool Amsterdam and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. The AUAS as we know it today has existed for 30 years.

Universities of applied sciences are ‘new’ institutions

Universities have a long tradition, but universities of applied sciences (hogescholen in Dutch) have only existed since the mid twentieth century. In the Secondary Education Act of 1963, which was came into effect in 1968 under the name Mammoth Act (Mammoetwet), universities of applied sciences were established as a separate sector of education for the first time. Yet this kind of educational institution has existed for longer.

The origins of higher professional education

The origins of higher professional education, often shortened to HBO in Dutch, lie in the second half of the eighteenth century. The formal abolition of the guilds in 1818 marked the end of the guilds’ craft education system. In the industrialisation of the second half of the nineteenth century, private individuals again took the initiative to provide vocational training, and technical and economic training in particular. In the course of the twentieth century, vocational education increasingly became the responsibility of the state and received state funding. In the education, behavioural and health care sectors in particular, ‘pillarisation’ (the compartementalisation of society by religion and politics) was an important factor in establishing institutes for higher professional education with their own religious signature.

(Bemmel, A. van. (2006) Hogescholen en hbo in historisch perspectief. Association of Universities of Applied Sciences.)

The AUAS’s predecessors

The AUAS had many predecessors: trade schools, nautical schools, schools for social work, fashion colleges, technical colleges, nursing colleges, economics colleges and more. This variety was clearly evident in the large number of institutes, namely 17. It was decided in 2008 to group the study programmes by subject, leading to the seven faculties we know today, each with its own degree programmes.

The Amsterdam Nautical College is one of the oldest predecessors of the AUAS. It was founded in 1785 by the Fatherland Fund to Encourage the Nation's Shipping Service (Vaderlandsch Fonds ter Aanmoediging van 's Lands Zeedienst). This was the first institution on the continent to offer nautical education in the form of a boarding school. In 1971, the Nautical Training College and the Maritime Academy of the Seaman’s Home (Hogere Zeevaartschool van het Zeemanshuis) merged to become the Amsterdam Maritime Academy Foundation (Stichting Hogere Zeevaartschool Amsterdam). This academy became in 1977 part of the AUAS and the Maritime Officer course became part of the Institute of Industrial and Maritime Technology (Instituut voor Industriële en Maritieme Techniek).

Amsterdam has for centuries been known for its high-quality technical and nautical education, and this is still true today. The Maritime Officer programme is highly regarded, scoring at least an 8 out of 10 in student satisfaction surveys.

Published by  Communication 8 November 2023