General Information

Established in 1880, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading European research university, consistently listed amongst the top universities in the world in different rankings. At our university some 78 nationalities work and study closely together, creating a vibrant international academic community.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is the first university in the Netherlands established by a private person, the statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper, without interference from the church or the state. This heritage is still very much part of who we are: Vrije Universiteit translates literally as 'Free University'. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an open organization, strongly linked to people and society. What matters is not just the acquisition of a greater depth of knowledge, but also a wider one.

Our basic philosophy is expressed in three core values: responsible, open and personally engaged. We encourage students to develop their own opinion through independent and creative thinking and to look further than their own interests and their own field. Teaching is conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception and where students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors. This provides an inspirational educational setting in which you can develop your potential to the full.

Amsterdam is unique in having all the benefits of big city life in a compact city. It is easy to feel at home in a city like this, which is so well geared to meeting the needs of its many international residents. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is directly located in one of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands, the Zuidas. Almost all of our students, staff and programmes are located at a modern campus, with student housing just a five-minute bike ride away. Accordingly, it is very easy to familiarize yourself with other disciplines. Since 2011, the law faculty is housed in a brand new building at the campus, offering a large lecture hall, computer rooms, study group rooms and a sandwich bar.

The lecturers of the law faculty are drawn from the ranks of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as well as the law practice. Many of them are both academics and working lawyers, therefore our staff is not restricted to information contained in books. They can call upon years of practical experience. Our programmes also include contributions by guest lecturers from institutions such as the Permanent Court of International Arbitration and major international law firms.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers four international Master’s programmes in law:

LLM International Business Law

The Master’s programme in International Business Law is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in the field of international commerce. It aims at developing an understanding of the world’s trading system and rules for international investments. The programme also looks into the legal fields of business such as contracts, taxes, competition, insurance, financing, market access and dispute settlement. You will study the interaction between the actors involved in transactions. In addition, you will develop skills to anticipate, analyse and address legal problems that may arise in the practice of international business.

MSc International Crimes and Criminology

International crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and other gross human rights violations pose a threat to international peace and security and call for effective action. The Master’s programme in International Crimes and Criminology deals with these crimes in a broad framework and trains students to become both academics and professionals. The programme offers a multifaceted approach to international crimes. Insights from various disciplines such as sociology, psychology, criminology and political science are dealt with extensively. You will acquire the necessary intellectual skills to take a multidisciplinary approach to international crimes and learn how to apply these skills to real-world situations.

LLM Law and Politics of International Security

Issues of international peace and security are becoming increasingly important in legal, political and administrative practice. The concept of ‘international security’ is no longer confined to traditional issues of war and peace, but now also covers topics such as terrorism and criminal law. The Law and Politics of International Security programme is based on the assumption that international law cannot be properly understood outside its political context, whereas contemporary international politics cannot be fully grasped without a solid knowledge of international law. The programme offers a multidisciplinary approach and gives students the opportunity to specialize in an increasingly crucial field of studies.

LLM Transnational Legal Studies (specialization of the Master of Laws programme)

The traditional distinctions between national, European and international law fail to capture the nature of law in a globalizing world. Cross-border phenomena such as terrorism, economic interdependence, migration, global warming and the internet invite us to use and think about law in ways that challenge traditional ideas of sovereignty and jurisdiction. The Master’s specialization Transnational Legal Studies focuses on law beyond the state in its social, political, economic, symbolic and policy context. You will be encouraged throughout your year to participate in departmental seminars and discussions. Whatever your fields of particular interest, our aim is to stimulate depth of knowledge, breadth of vision, and intellectual curiosity.

LLM Law, Markets and Behaviour (specialisation of the Master of Laws programme)

This legal Master’s programme has deep-rooted multidisciplinary perspectives and delivers lawyers who know their way in the wider arena of the future. The law still is pivotal. Tort law, contract law, corporate law, regulatory law and insolvency law; the anatomy of these fields is explored in depth. But further perspectives are added. We will examine the legal side of corporate finance, but also delve into the underlying balance sheets and profit and loss accounts; we will examine the regulatory framework in which banks operate, but also question their role in society as a whole; we will examine the structure of contract law, but also focus on the psychology behind contract-negotiations and dispute resolution. In short, the Law, Markets and  Behaviour master’s programme both deepens our understanding of the law and fosters our knowledge of the fields with which the law interacts, such as finance, psychology and ethics.

LLM International Migration Law (specialization of the Master of Laws programme) International migration is one of the most important social issues of our time. People move across border for work, studies, love, as well as in order to flee poverty, persecution and violence. We will address international migration from the perspective of international and European law, and focus on the way these legal orders function in domestic legal orders. The International Migration and Refugee Law track specifically focuses on the interplay between international, European and domestic law and is being taught by prominent specialists in this field.




I was looking for an interdisciplinary Master's programme encompassing the increasingly complex aspects of contemporary international security, and I found it at VU University Amsterdam. The Law and Politics of International Security programme's multidisciplinary approach – the comprehensive integration of legal and political perspectives – gave me an in-depth understanding of increasingly intertwined and complex security issues, making it the perfect preparation for my subsequent position as an NGO Security Advisor in Afghanistan.

Philipp Schweers, Germany, alumnus Law and Politics of International Security

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