Our story

Volksuniversiteit Amsterdam, established in 1913!

Founded in 1913, Foundation Volksuniversiteit Amsterdam (nonprofit) is the oldest volksuniversiteit (‘people’s university’) in the Netherlands. Professor S. R. Steinmetz, one of the founders, explained its purpose as follows: ‘The Volksuniversiteit’s aim is to contribute to the personal development of the people of the Netherlands, regardless of their origin or their religious or political beliefs.’ The Volksuniversiteit made knowledge available to all, which at that time was far from being standard practice. The three principles of neutrality, accessibility and a broad curriculum still form the basis for all Volksuniversiteit activities.

Since the 1990s our courses have been closely linked to the everyday lives and needs of our students. Do you want to learn a language to use on your travels? Or for your work? Are you curious about a current exhibition? Or would you like to get acquainted with new technology, such as 3D printing? The curriculum is diverse and is designed to meet the need for practical knowledge. Thanks to the collaboration agreement with the OBA in 2016 you can now follow Volksuniversiteit courses in several branches of the library. You will find us in the central library at Oosterdokskade and in the branch libraries at Javaplein and Roelof Hartplein, for example. Some of our evening classes are held at the Metis Montessori Lyceum on the Mauritskade. The administration office is located at OBA Javaplein. We are a nonprofit organization, our budget is aimed at a zero outcome at the end of the year.

Volksuniversiteit Amsterdam is looking forward to a stronger collaboration with the OBA and the creation of a new and contemporary programme of courses and events together. By making this available to every adult in Amsterdam, both OBA and Volksuniversiteit aim to create an inviting and inspiring place to meet for all Amsterdammers.