Travel & accommodation

Travel to Amsterdam

VU encourages sustainable travel. If possible, we hope you will travel by train or bus rather than plane to visit the conference. On this page you will find some information to help plan your trip.

Venue address: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), main building, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Google Maps

Nearest international train station: Amsterdam Central Station & Schiphol Airport  
Nearest domestic train station: Amsterdam Zuid 
Nearest bus/tram stop: De Boelelaan/VU
Nearest international airport: Schiphol Airport

Transportation within Amsterdam

The VU campus is easily accessible, both by bike and public transport. On the VU website, you will find detailed route descriptions.

Bike  The most enjoyable way to move around in Amsterdam, including getting to the conference, is by bike. You can rent a bike at VU Campus via the Donkey Republic app and at Station Amsterdam Zuid station via Black Bikes. Another bike rental in Amsterdam is MacBike.

Public transport  There is a wide local bus, tram, metro and rail network in Amsterdam. To pay for your travel cost you need an OV-chipkaart. With this smart card you can pay for your trip in the Netherlands using all forms of public transport: bus, train, tram or metro. 

You can purchase a disposable OV-chipkaart at a ticket vending machine at the station, at the service counter of any public transport company, at a newsagent or at a supermarket.    

Find the best public transport connection from your location via 9292 travel planner, or take a look at the most common travel routes below.

From Amsterdam Central Station

  • Metro 52 direction Station Zuid (10 min.) à Exit: Station Amsterdam Zuid (see further directions below)

  • Metro 51 direction Isolatorweg (15 min.) à Exit: Station Amsterdam Zuid (see further directions below)

  • Tram 24 direction VUmc (35 min.) à Exit: De Boelelaan/VU    

From Station Amsterdam Zuid

It is a 10-minute walk to VU Amsterdam from station Amsterdam Zuid.

Via public transport it will take 2 to 4 minutes. For example: tram 5 (direction Amstelveen Stadshart) or bus 62 (direction Haarlemmermeerstation). Stop at ‘De Boelelaan/VU’.    

From Schiphol Airport

  • Train to Station Amsterdam Zuid (7 min.) See further directions above.

  • Bus 341 direction Station Amsterdam Zuid (25 min.) à Exit: De Boelelaan/VU

  • Find here more information on transportation from Schiphol to your destination

Taxi  Taxis are widely available across Amsterdam. Contact TCA (taxi central Amsterdam) via tel. +31 20 777 7777 or book a taxi online.

Construction works
at Amsterdam Zuid station

Please note that there’s construction work going on at Amsterdam Zuid station, so not all elevators/escalators may be accessible and working and some metros will run less frequently.

If you plan to walk or cycle then follow the instructions below:

Walking route from Amsterdam Zuid to VU campus
Exit the station via the Gustav Mahlerplein, turn right toward the Claude Debussylaan. At the main road, the Parnassusweg, turn left. Stay on the left side of the road, cross the Gustav Mahlerlaan and head toward the intersection with De Boelelaan. At the intersection, use the pedestrian crossings to cross De Boelelaan and the Parnassusweg. Head west along De Boelelaan for about 100 meters, toward the entrance of VU main building. 
A step-free access to the building can be found on the right side of the entrance. 
Cycling + Walking Route – Parnassusweg road closure! 
For the duration of the conference the underpass on the Parnassusweg will be closed due to construction work, which will affect most cycling routes to VU. All traffic will be redirected via the Beethovenstraat, as indicated by ‘V’ signs on the cycling paths.
Please note that cycling through Station Zuid is not allowed.  


All delegates must arrange their own accommodation. The Organizing committee has obtained some exclusive discounted hotel rates, (use Firefox if link does not open in Safari). Booking via this link is optional, so feel free to also look on other platforms. Please book early if you can, possibly with a cancellation option, as summer is peak season in Amsterdam.


Unfortunately we are not able to provide childcare services
during the conference. There is a high demand on childcare facilities in the
Netherlands and most childcare providers have long waiting lists. We kindly ask
that parents make their own arrangements. Some hotels offer a childcare service
and some childcare agencies can arrange childcare in hotel rooms and holiday

The following websites could be useful:

At the VU campus

The conference will take place in the Main building (HG) and the New University Building (NU) of VU Amsterdam.

At the entrances of the university buildings you will find hosts who will help you find your way. You can also watch this virtual tour of the main building. At the campus, all buildings, hallways and rooms have codes, which follow this structure: if your room is HG-A105, you read this as:

So: HG is the main building (HoofdGebouw), hallway A, on the first floor, and room 05.


For accessibility information view this page.


In case of an incident or emergency, please contact the VU Security department

Going local

There are many things to see and do in Amsterdam. You can enjoy the canals by (electric) boat tour, visit one of the many museums, or just take a stroll around the city. The most popular highlights can be found at the website of I amsterdam.

Below you will find some personal tips by members of the local organizing committee.

Places to eat around the VU

Amsterdam is not short of places to eat out – with a short tram or metro ride you can be in the heart of De Pijp, Amsterdam Oost, Amsterdam West and the Jordaan. However, for those looking for somewhere nearby, we have curated a list of spots within an easy walking distance of the VU.


Insider tip: around the VU you will also notice there are a few Albert Heijn To Go’s (one at Station Zuid and another by the VU medical centre). These are usually much more expensive than the regular Albert Heijn supermarket, so we recommend walking the extra few minutes to this location.


Local tip: if you are looking for a place for a coffee, make sure to Google “café” and not “coffee shop”…

Located on campus in the NU building, serving all day breakfast, vegan lunch options, drinks and snacks.

A cosy oasis inspired by the cafes in Bali. Great for coffee and light meals.

One of the few exclusively vegan options in the area.

The famous Danish chain serving mostly smoothies and juices.

A Dutch staple for coffee and sandwiches; also one of the few places in Amsterdam to get a bagel.

An easy option for all day breakfast.

Great coffee. Also offers sandwiches and vegan smoothies.

Another quick option for coffee and sandwiches.


As mentioned above, Amsterdam in the summer can get very busy, so we recommend booking or calling in advance.

A Dutch institution, famous for its steaks and cocktails. It’s also a good spot for drinks or a long lunch.

A market-style food hall with plenty of different food options.

A local favourite for Japanese cuisine. Also a great option for lunch.

Hot Pot has taken Amsterdam by storm, Yuan’s being one of the more popular spots. This is their new location near the Zuidas.

Simple and tasty Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Upmarket, French-style bistro. Also offers an extensive wine list.



Local tip: if you are looking for a place to go for drinks after a long conference day, our first suggestion would be to head into Amsterdam itself – after all the VU is located in the city’s financial district. However, if you wish not to travel far, here are some closer options:

Our VU local! Located in the NU building and great for a casual beer and “borrel”.

Located near the station, a favourite amongst the employees of the financial district.

Similar to Olivers, its always busy on a Thursday and Friday.

In Amsterdam

Beautiful botanic  Tip from Evelyne Griffioen, management assistant

Right next to the VU campus, you will find a green and peaceful hidden gem amongst the tall buildings of the Amsterdam Zuidas. The Botanical Garden Zuidas houses a rich plant collection with more than 6.000 species. The exceptional cactus and succulent greenhouse, houses the largest collection in the Netherlands. Some of these plants are more than a century old. The garden is very close to VU, and therefore you could even go here if you just have half an hour in between sessions.

Phenomenally veggie  Tip from Laura Paschedag, communications advisor

Amsterdam offers many places where you can enjoy a delicious vegetarian or fully plant-based brunch, lunch or dinner. Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Neni is close to VU and offers a vegetarian Balagan menu, meaning ‘sympathetic chaos’. Food court Market 33 is also very close and is the place to go for a quick bite. If you have time, I would also highly recommend Yerba, at Museum Square. 

Mesmerizing Micropia   Tip from Lotte Snellenburg, management assistant

Micropia is the first microbe museum in the world, and it is my favorite place in the city. I find it mesmerizing how microbiology can help solve global problems. From water purification to the production of energy, food and bio-plastics. Fun fact: even the building that houses the museum was made in a sustainable way. 

Spots to recharge  Tip from Makoto Takahashi 

Need to recharge? Choose from a range of coffee roasts at Uncommon and enjoy their excellent Kimchi toastie or banana bread. For a touch of class, consider catching a film at Pathe Tuschinski. This lavish cinema boasts a gorgeous bar with Art Deco and Art Nouvaeu flourishes. 

Morning jog  Tip from Michiel van Oudheusden, vice-chair

If you enjoy a relaxing early morning jog (or walk) without too many people around (but plenty of ducks), head to the Amstelpark, located along the river Amstel. There’s lots of paths and plants to discover, a fountain, and other things. The scenery and scents offer a nice change of pace from the conference and the city itself.

Cultural immersion  Tip from Pim Klaassen

Amsterdam is a hub for music and art. On (typically Dutch) rainy days, my favorite thing is to see a film at cult cinema Lab111. More into music? Jazz lovers can indulge their passion at Zaal 100 (experimental jazz), and at BimhuisDe Ceuvel is the artistic place where arts meet science, meets bar and more. Looking for a bite to eat? De Sering TestTafel offers an awesome seven-course experimental all-vegan menu!

Canal kayaking  Tip from Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, chair

There is simply no better way to experience Amsterdam than by kayaking through the canals and on the Amstel River. If you roughly know how to handle a kayak, I recommend you take a few hours to explore Mokum as seen from the water. Rent a kayak here and if you’re up for it, paddle down to the Willem II rowing club on the Amstel river. They have a lovely jetty that is perfect for going for a swim. Beware: ‘hand over sail over engine’ does apply on the canals, but this does not include professional commercial vessels, so those canal tour boats will not give way (and tourists on rented boats often don’t have a clue they should make way)!

Queer Amsterdam Tip from Jess Coetzer

The beauty of Amsterdam is that almost everywhere you go can be considered a queer-friendly space. However, if you are looking for dedicated LGBTQ+ spots, there are plenty to choose from. The epicentre of queer activity is the Reguliersdwarsstraat, which is a street full of bars and clubs of all different shapes and sizes. If you are wanting something more low-key for a relaxed drink or meal, Lola the Green Aardvark and Pamela are great options. I also recommend checking out the events at The Queens Head; their Drag Bingo is always busy, so book ahead!

Playful Amsterdam Tips from Marjoleine van der Meij

In case you visit Amsterdam with children (age 0 to ±12), I would recommend the following (free) places. When the weather is great, you can seduce your children to learn baking pizzas in the kinderkookcafé Vondelpark (and let them play while the pizzas are in the oven). For slightly smaller kids, the Terrasmus in Erasmus park is a great place to enjoy your refreshments while your children play in the wooden playground. If the thermometer hits 20+ celsius, there are open air toddler pools in the Vondelpark, Beatrixpark, and Amsterdamse bos (small and big). In case you are up for serious swims, there are various open water swimming areas and numerous affordable public pools in the city. Little animal lovers will enjoy the Geitenboerderij Amsterdamse Bos (and then go to the Pancake farmer house Meerzicht in Amsterdamse Bos), the children playzone in the Amstelpark, kinderboerderij de Pijp (centre-east), and Stadsboerderij Zimmerhoeve (in the Old West area). When the weather is terrible (you may need to spend a little bit of money) I would recommend NEMO science museum, Scheepvaart Museum, Jump square (east) or Candy Castle (west) for indoor play and fun.

Alternative Amsterdam Tips from Renate Baumgartner

Discover some of my favorite, vibrant spots in Amsterdam, such as OT301; a former film academy transformed into a cultural center. It features concerts, art exhibitions, workshops, and film screenings. Or visit De Hallen, located in a beautifully restored tram depot. This place offers a food hall, boutique shops, a cinema, and a library. Alternatively, venture to the NDSM area; an artistic and industrial neighborhood on the northern bank of the IJ River. Admire street art, visit creative studios, and experience the alternative vibe at this former shipyard turned cultural hotspot. Rather sit back and relax? Have a drink at Nieuwe Anita; a quirky café and bar with a retro vibe hosts live music, dance parties, and themed nights. For a unique experience, I highly recommend to join an Ecstatic Dance session on a boat at Odessa. Enjoy free-form dancing, connect with others, and even take a dip in the water after the dance.

On the beach in Amsterdam  Tips from Lea Lösch

While Honolulu, the site of the last 4S meeting, is probably difficult to top for its stunning beaches, there are also some beautiful beach(-like) spots to discover in and around Amsterdam. Strand IJburg offers a little city beach experience, and at restaurant PLLEK at the NDSM wharf, you can also sit nicely on some sand by the water. De Nieuwe Meer in the Amsterdam Forest (close to VU) and outdoor pool Marineterrein aren’t technically beaches but are both good spots to go for a swim. Zandvoort and Bloemendaal are the closest ‘real’ beaches, with a direct train from Amsterdam to Zandvoort taking only 30 minutes. In that area, there is also a beautiful walk from Sandpoort-Noord train station to Overveen station (or Zandvoort), which takes you along the beach and through the dunes of Zuid-Kennemerland National Park. If you don’t mind a longer journey, Castricum aan Zee and Noordwijk Aan Zee offer additional lovely beach options.

Around Amsterdam

Co-housing “experiments” in Utrecht Tip from Evelien de Hoop

Utrecht is home to a number of co-housing communities, often designed and built by their inhabitants. Their gardens are usually accessible. Examples are Groene DakKersentuin and Klopvaart

Illuminated Utrecht  Tip from Carina Pittens

On a 30-minute train ride from Amsterdam, you will find my beautiful hometown: Utrecht. Dive into the city’s history at the museum underneath the landmark ‘The Dom’, explore light artworks with Utrecht Lumen, or go stargazing in an old fortress at observatory Sonnenborgh.