Most students at the International Institute of Social Studies have never been to the Netherlands before. Others may only have limited knowledge of the life in this country. We are aware that some of you may feel a bit lost at the beginning of your stay here. In order to help you adapt quickly to life in the Netherlands, at the beginning of each academic year we organize a special introduction programme. Here you will also find some brief information about life as a student at ISS. Click the bar below to find out.
See this document for an example of the Orientation Week programme.
Please note that this programme is only indicative of the events may take place during the Orientation Week: the actual programme is determined on a yearly basis.
The Dutch has its own unique set of customs. For more information, please visit this page - Dutch Customs and Etiquette
Depending on where you live, you will be doing your regular shopping either in a modern shopping centre, in small shops in an old city neighbourhood or at an open market.
The large department stores in The Hague are HEMA and Hudson Bay. The quality of clothes in the larger shops is good.
Blokker is a popular shop for kitchenware, electrical goods, candles, etc.
Articles such as soap, toothpaste, etc. can be purchased from a drugstore e.g. Kruidvat or Etos.
Mediamarkt is convenient for computers, cameras, TVs and all other electrical and home appliances.
Tram 1 or 17 and bus 22 or 24 takes you to the downtown area from ISS (to walk will only take you approximately 10 minutes from ISS).
The most convenient shop for food is the Albert Heijn supermarket, a 5 minutes’ walk from the ISS.
The Hague has a large open market, De Haagsemarkt, popular with many of the ISS students.
This blog post provides a good idea of what to bring with you to ISS.
Please note that this list only provides you with basic information on what you need. If you would like to have detailed information, please contact Darren Baradhan (email@example.com) for clarification
No, as you will be studying here for 15.5 months, ISS has a special arrangement with the Immigration Authorities and you do not have to show your birth certificate when registering with The Hague Municipality.
The Library of the ISS specializes in English-language literature in the social sciences, with an emphasis on the economic and social development of developing countries and countries in transition. Full information about the library and the services it provides are on the Library pages of our website. The ISS book collection and study areas are accommodated in the basement of the ISS building.
• Facility Desk
This service desk is responsible for, amongst other things, cleaning, security, and technical services.
• Welfare Office - Room 2.29
Throughout your stay, you may have personal questions, big or small. The welfare officer is there to advise you how to go about solving those. It may be done through referral or counselling. This office is also in charge of organizing a variety of activities such as cultural events, workshops, seminars, social gatherings and sports tournaments and the orientation week, mostly in close cooperation with student association SCHOLAS.
• Confidential Counsellors
EUR and ISS have a policy against unwanted behaviour. The ISS Welfare Officer is a confidential counsellor for Erasmus University for students and staff who have become victim of unwanted behaviour. ISS also has 5 in house counsellors who can be approached for matters concerning unwanted behaviour at ISS
• The Teaching and Learning Service Team (TLST) desk - Room 2.06
You can contact the TLST with questions on all academic programmes (majors, courses and all other programmes), registration for courses, timetables and exams, but also if you need assistance with ad hoc problems like translation and explanation of Dutch letters.
After you arrive at ISS, you will be given a schedule for dates to visit the bank to open your bank account. ISS will assist you in this matter
Nationals of the EU, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands. However you will need a Residence Permit. ISS will assist you in attaining the Residence Permit.
No you do not. ISS will assist you by applying for your Visa.
The Admission Office will apply for your visa (MVV), once the finances for your participation have been arranged. The whole visa application can take up to 4 weeks. Do not apply for a visa yourself, since this will be more expensive and the process will take much longer.
Please note that ISS will only assist ISS students in the visa application procedure.
If you have a lot of luggage, we would suggest to take a taxi from this station.
The address is: Kortenaerkade 12.
After you have arrived at Station Holland Spoor, proceed to the tram stop and take Tram 1 towards Scheveningen. Alight at Station Mauritskade. As soon as you alight from the tram turn right and walk about 300 meters and you will see the ISS building. If by chance you do get lost, please ask for direction. The Dutch people are friendly and are very willing to offer assistance to you.
Participants arriving in the Netherlands will (most of the time) arrive at Schiphol Airport, near Amsterdam.
After you have completed passport and customs formalities, it is possible to make use of the currency exchange facilities in the arrival hall of the airport. As you will probably be travelling by train from the airport to The Hague, you should have some Euros with you. We suggest about 80 Euros.
At the train station at Schiphol, proceed to the main ticketing counter and mention that you would like to go to The Hague Central Station or Station Holland Spoor. After you have bought your ticket, do not forget to ask the ticketing person what platform the train will depart from.
NB. Although the ISS is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam, ISS is NOT located in Rotterdam but in The Hague.
Hopefully you will not need any medical care during your studies at ISS, but if you do, here is some important information:
The Netherlands has a very good health system, though the way doctors approach treatment in the Netherlands may be very different from what you are accustomed to. For example, do not expect to be prescribed with antibiotics easily.
General information on the healthcare system in the Netherlands is available on the Medical Care website.
Below you can find the location and contact details to some clinics in the city.
2511 VJ The Hague
070 - 382 47 77
International Health Centre
Jan van Nassaustraat 125 (in the Rosarium Building)
2596 BS The Hague
070 306 5100 / 070 306 5111
The International Health Centre The Hague has three main areas of practice: General Practitioners, specialists & additional services
2514 GM The Hague
The health insurance only covers emergency dental treatments. Regular check ups are not covered.
2585 AB The Hague
As in many European countries, the Netherlands uses the Euro (€).
• Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50 Euro-cent, 1 and 2 Euro
• Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100
All Euro coins and banknotes can be used in any of the Euro countries.
ISS will arrange for your bank account into which you can have your income deposited. You can either make cash withdrawals or fill in transfer forms by which money is transferred directly from your account to another account. Online banking is also an option. People mostly use cash or their debit account bank card connected to their bank account using a PIN-code. You can also use your debit card to withdraw money from your account, using an ATM.
Estimated living costs
The costs below show a rough estimate of the average costs for a student at ISS:
Estimated total monthly expenses: €900 per month (including accommodation), depending on type of accommodation and personal lifestyle.
Accommodation: €370 - €530 per month. Costs may vary depending on the type of accommodation.
Electricity, gas, and water: €0 - €100 per month. Costs are included in the price of campus accommodation.
Off campus prices vary depending on the provider and whether they offer inclusive or exclusive contracts.
Text books: €0. Reading materials are included in the tuition fee.
Additionally the library provides access to a lot of books, journals and academic literature.
Photocopying: €5 - €10 per month, Students have access to photocopying machines inside ISS. The cost may vary depending on courses and types of assignments.
Phone costs: €10 - €30 per month, depending on the contract with with phone providers and whether you use prepaid credit or a monthly subscription.
You can also save money by using free wireless internet in the university and WiFi hotspots in the city centre.
Public transport: €10 - €15 per month, depending on the location of your accommodation.
Second hand bicycles can be bought for €20-€50. Cycling is the most common form of transportation and is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the Hague.
Groceries: €20 - €30 per week. Students living on campus often share a kitchen and cook together to save money and to socialize.
Eating out: €15 - €20 per meal, depending on your lifestyle and preferences.
Winter clothing: €50+. Jacket price depend on lifestyle and brand preferences.
The Hague is a great place for international students. The city is vibrant and full of opportunities, both in the business world as well as in relaxation and leisure. The Hague is also the capital city of the province of South of Holland. It has over 500 thousand inhabitants and is the third largest city of the Netherlands.
The famous Scheveningen beach brings lots of entertainment in various forms. Be it bungee jumping, bowling, cinemas or theatre. There are many great and tasty restaurants offering food from various countries, so there is always something new to try. Events and festivals are sometimes organized at the beach, especially in the summer. There are also plenty of water sports on offer.
Travel and public transport
Trams and buses
Public transport services are affordable and very convenient. There are buses, trams, metros and trains that offer clean and comfortable transportation inside and outside The Hague. The major public transport companies are Conexxion, Veolia and HTM. You can easily plan all your travels through online trip planners that will show the different options to reach your destination.
For more information on public transport, go to:
The Hague public transport system
Public transport planner
To pay for travel costs most people use the OV Chipcard. Usually the card must be bought but ISS students receive it free of charge. You can load money on the card and then simply scan the card inside the tram or at stations at the beginning and the end of every trip. This smart card is the size of a bank card and contains an invisible chip.
Get more information on the chip card - OV Chipkaart
Of course, if you want to save money, do as the Dutch, get yourself a (second hand) bicycle! Bicycling is the most preferred form of transportation for both Dutch and international residents. It is cheap and very easy to get around with. There are cycle lanes all over the city and often cycling is faster than using public transport services
Cycling is probably the preferred form of transportation both for both Dutch and international residents. It is cheap and very easy to get around with. There are cycle lanes all over the city and often cycling is faster than using public transport.
One of the benefits of living in The Hague is the ease of transportation and connectivity with other major international cities such as Amsterdam (40 min by train), Rotterdam (20 min by train) or Brussels (120 min by train). You can also take your bike on the train and use it to get around in other cities.
The city is full of culture and attractions whether your interest lies in art, music, shopping, food or history. You will find many restaurants with delicious food from all over the world in the centre. There are also bars that serve great food and typical Dutch snacks. You will most commonly find this at Grote Markt or the Plein which is a town square where people often go for after-work drinks. There are many clubs that contribute to the city’s active nightlife. Thursday is also known as the student night where some bars and clubs have discounts and cheaper drinks for students.
Many international organizations have their seat in The Hague. Judicial branches of the UN such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are based in the city. You can also find the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Europol, and the Peace Palace which is within walking distance of ISS. The Hague is internationally known as the city of peace and justice and is the UN’s fourth major centre. Students sometimes visit these institutions during class trips; it is certainly an experience you do not want to miss.
Every participant in ISS degree and certificate programmes is a member of ISS student association SCHOLAS. It has several committees which organize academic, social and sporting events for ISS students. The committees are listed below:
Gender and Sexual Diversity Committee
International Relations Committee
Teaching and Learning Committee
Visit SCHOLAS page - SCHOLAS
Students have easy access to all our high quality facilities at ISS and the Erasmus campus in Rotterdam. The institute has its own restaurant with multicultural cuisine offering a wide choice of dishes.
Next to the restaurant, ISS also has the Butterfly Bar which is open on special occasions and serves drinks at a low price to students.
Students are always supported if they want to practice sports. Every Sunday evening from 17:00 - 21:00, ISS has pre-booked the sport complex about 15 minutes away from ISS for you to use. You can play sports such as football, volleyball, badminton, basketball and so on.
Students have created various clubs and associations through their own network and the university. You will quickly meet other students who share your academic and personal interests. There are also student events both inside and outside ISS, giving you the opportunity to meet students from different universities in The Hague.
ISS offers many activities that contribute to the health and well-being of students. Our dedicated Welfare Officer organizes several social and cultural activities throughout the year. These include a sports day, a Dutch evening, an International Food Fair, excursions, film nights, and so on.
Visit our YouTube page to get an idea on the activities that are held at ISS. .
In addition, ISS also has its own Counselling Team that seeks to contribute to a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all members of our community.
ISS is well known for its international environment. Both our students and staff come from all over the world, and our responsibility is to ensure that all cultures and religions are represented. The campus provides a prayer room as well as opportunities to network with people from your own and many other cultures. The Hague also offers houses of worship for all faiths which students can easily visit or join.
The Netherlands is generally very safe, especially The Hague. You will feel secure when travelling alone or when you are out and about at night.
One of ISS main priorities is for our students felt safe during their studies at ISS. We ensure that all information on safety and security while studying at ISS is introduced during the first few weeks at ISS.
The AON insurance covers the following:
- Medical care, including that provided by GPs, hospitals, medical specialists and obstetricians
- Hospital stays
- Medical Appliances
- Planned and unforeseen treatments abroad
- Medical transportation (by ambulance or by public transport, taxi or private car)
- Paramedical care (limited physiotherapy/remedial therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy)
The complete coverage of your insurance can be found in the AON Insurance page.
Everyone living in the Netherlands must have medical insurance which covers medical expenses, legal liability and other items. This insurance does not cover extra costs related to pregnancy and childbirth,n or the costs of dental treatment. Since Dutch dentists are quite expensive, you are advised to visit your own dentist before your travel to the Netherlands.
Illnesses that were contracted before the period covered by the insurance are excluded, as well as costs for childbirth and pregnancy. For Dutch students, the 'Basis verzekering’ is mandatory; ISS will arrange insurance for non-Dutch students (through AON).
If you already have insurance with European coverage, please inform the Admission Office and bring the policy with you.