MA Student Information

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 ( for clarification

Please visit this website for more information regarding Dutch word list.

No, ISS has a special arrangement with the Immigration Authorities. During registration you will receive further instruction on when/where/how to pick up your residence permit.

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.

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.
• Safe@EUR
EUR and ISS have a policy against unwanted behavior. Are you experiencing unwanted behavior? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Safe@EUR.

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. For more information please visit here.

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 more information please visit our dedicated page on your physical health well-being.

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.

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
Railway services

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.

City centre

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.

International organizations

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:

Arts Committee
Editorial Committee
Environmental Committee
Gender and Sexual Diversity Committee
Housing Committee
International Relations Committee
Social Committee
Sports Committee
Volunteer Committee
Teaching and Learning Committee
Institute Council


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 has a wide offer in relation to health and wellbeing. Two dedicated psychologists are available to students and contribute to workshops on mental health and wellbeing. Our spiritual counsellors support students to practice their faith if they wish to do so, by linking them to local communities and multi-faith pastoral care in the Hague. A dedicated prayer and meditation room are available to all students. In addition, the Welfare Office arranges social and cultural activities, International Day, Sports Day, and a wider variety of bigger and smaller events throughout the year. A music room is available in collaboration with SCHOLAS and regular Art SeSSIons take place to express yourself creatively. Workshops on topics from menstrual health to burnout cover many areas of interest to promote wellbeing. 

ISS offers a prayer room, including a mosque area with wash basins. You can contact ISS’ spiritual counsellor for questions and guidance, and he’ll help you connect to places of worship, Casa Amalia, or whatever your spiritual/religious need may be. 

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
  • Medicines
  • 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.

As an MA student, private AON student health insurance has been arranged for you by the Admissions Office, or, you may have arranged for health insurance yourself. Regardless, having valid insurance is mandatory during your stay in the Netherlands. Failure to comply may result in high medical bills, considering that a day in the hospital can cost between 500-2,500 euros, expenses that would otherwise be covered by your health insurance.

It's important to note that if you decide to work while studying, Dutch law mandates taking out Dutch Public Health Insurance. Further details on this can be found here.

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