Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

By the turn of the 20th century, the Scottish Missionary Church became too small for the growing number of students and the university bought its first building, located at Keizersgracht 162. In the following years, the university acquired more buildings throughout the city. In 1905, VU was formally accredited and granted the legal right to award academic degrees. New faculties were subsequently added to the original three, including a science faculty (1930) and a medical faculty (1950).

Funding for the university was provided through the VU Association, an organization founded by Abraham Kuyper which was firmly rooted within the Calvinist community in the Netherlands. By the end of the 1960s, the university received financial support from more than 200,000 private contributors. Many were making small coin donations collected by some 10,000 (mostly female) fundraisers, who were going door to door with the quintessential green VU collecting box.

The upper floors of the Main Building's eastern wing, housing library stacks and showing the University emblem.
The main building has an inhouse restaurant serving pizzas, pasta, sandwiches and soup

On the south side, the Main Building provides access to the campus square ('Campusplein'). Many student organizations have their offices along the campus square entrance. South of the square is the Sciences Building ('Wis- en Natuurkundegebouw' or W&N), another 1970s building. The W&N is housing the faculties of Sciences and Earth and Life Sciences. In the middle of campus square is The Basket, the university bar, as well as a number of volleyball fields. Recent additions to the campus square area include a campus supermarket and an Italian coffeehouse. Also adjacent to the campus square is the modern building of the Institute for Health and Welness, which has been nicknamed the Red Potato after its distinct shape and color. Along the Buitenvelderselaan is the Initium Building, housing the Faculty of Law. The arch-shaped building, opened in 2010, now forms the eastern entrance of the VU campus. The Faculty of Social Sciences is located in the Metropolitan Building, technically just off-campus, on the other side of the Buitenveldertselaan. The medical faculty is located on west end of campus, adjacent to the sprawling VU University Medical Center. Besides the medical center lays the new research building named O2. Next to the latter is where the Academic Center of Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) is located.

The Vrije Universiteit is formally a private institution, part of the VU-VUmc Foundation. The other main institution within this foundation is the VU University Medical Center, which has a separate management structure.

The university is governed by the Executive Board, consisting of a President, a Vice-President and a Rector. The Executive Board has general management responsibilities and appoints the deans and professors of the faculties. The Executive Board is accountable to a Supervisory Board, appointed by the members' assembly of the VU Association, a private organization which founded the university in 1880.

The university's Works Council, a body of elected representatives of faculty and staff, as well as the Student Council, have consultation and co-decision rights in some areas of university policy and management. The College of Deans, consisting of all faculty deans and chaired by the Rector, acts as a coordinating and consulting body at the central level and is responsible for awarding doctoral degrees and honorary doctorates.

Ph.D. programmes are organized differently. Rather than applying to the university for admission, prospective students must find a (full) professor who has a position for a Ph.D. candidate, called a 'promovendus', and contact him or her directly. Most faculties advertise open positions on their websites. As is common in Dutch universities, 'promovendi' are paid a salary and are considered university employees, therefore they do not pay tuition.

Former eastern entrance to the campus, since 2010 the location of a new building for the Faculty of Law.

Like teaching, research at VU is organized mostly along the lines of the ten faculties and their departments. University-wide, four interdisciplinary themes have been determined as the principal focus areas of research:

De Rode Pieper ('red potato'), housing the Institute for Health and Wellness