How do a get a space for a debate, movie night or a similar activity?

If you are looking for a space to host an event, you should first try to decide what you need: how many people will attend? What kind of technique do you need? Will there be drinks afterwards? Et cetera.

When you have a clear picture of what you need, you have a whole range of options to choose from. For instance, you can try to arrange a space via the UvA or HvA. In most cases, you should approach the secretariat of your study programme to help you with this. They can, for instance, reserve a classroom for you or another room normally used for educational purposes. Besides, the UvA and HvA have a number of nice lecture halls that you can reserve. The only downside when it comes to reserving these spaces at the UvA or HvA is that they might not always provide access to study associations for hosting activities. Besides, the UvA and HvA spaces might not have the cosiest ambiance for hosting activities like debates or movie nights.

Another good option is CREA, the Cultural Student Centre of the UvA and HvA in the Amsterdam city centre (Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, on the Roeterseiland campus). With a theatre room, music room and a big café, CREA offers a set of great options for you to host a debate, movie night or a similar event. Also, it is a good location to organise drinks before or after the event.

Furthermore, there are ample locations in the city of Amsterdam where you can organise an event, which are often much more expensive than the spaces available at the UvA, HvA or CREA. Usually, you can try to bargain a bit, for example by offering to promote their location amongst the members of your association by use of advertisements on your website, in the email you send out to your membership, etc.

My association wants to organise a big or novel event. Can ASVA support us with that?

It could be that you are planning to organise an activity that your association has no experience with yet. Especially in case the event will be bigger in terms of organisation and budget than the type of events your association usually organises, it may be wise to ask ASVA for support.

For study associations both at the UvA and the HvA, ASVA has a Coordinator of study associations. To get in touch with them, send an email to verenigingen@asva.nl. Student associations can contact our General Commissioner via ab@asva.nl.

During a meeting, you can decide together what kind of help you’d need. Maybe one meeting will suffice, but it could also be that you need support on a more structural basis. There are also people working at ASVA who can help you out with setting up an action plan, a budget or with fundraising.

Apart from that, ASVA lends out all kinds of products to her partner associations that could be useful when organising an activity. Think of a carrier cycle, a projector or a reflex camera. You can reserve these via studentenbalie@asva.nl.

I want to found a study association, or breathe new life into an existing study association. Where to start?

Founding a study association or giving it a second start takes a lot of effort. Luckily, you do not stand alone! Contact one of ASVA’s  Coordinators of study associations, we have one Coordinator for the UvA and one for the HvA. It’s best to call the ASVA office to schedule an appointment, 020 525 2926.

Based on this appointment, we will determine what kind of support you’ll need. For instance, the “White paper for study associations”, which is published by ASVA, may help you a great deal. If you need help on a more structural basis, there may be people within the ASVA network who can help you out. When it comes to laying down the statutes or other documents your association will need, you can ask ASVA’s legal office for support.

Who does what within the ASVA student union?

If you have specific questions for our staff members, you can contact them via their personal email-address. For study associations within the UvA, the person to go to is Alba van Vliet, the chair of ASVA. You can reach her via alba@asva.nl.

For study associations affiliated to the HvA, the person you should contact is Bibi Smaal, Coordinator of Study Associations HBO. You can reach her via bibi.smaal@asva.nl.

You can also make a phone call to the ASVA office, 020 6225771.

For student associations, Anouke Mandjes, secretary, is the person you should go to. You can reach her via anouke@asva.nl.

If your study or student associations is seeking to rent something from ASVA, such as a projector or a carrier cycle, it’d be best to get in touch with our student desk via studentenbalie@asva.nl. You can also call the ASVA office, of course. You can contact the legal office via rechtsbureau@asva.nl.

What do study associations need to know about the Law on fixed book prices (“Wet op vaste boekenprijs”)?

In 2005, a number of things in the regulation of book prices have changed. The changes have consequences for the way in which study associations and bookshops collaborate.

An association that orders study books at a bookshop at a discount (10% on books for educational purposes) and re-sells the books to its members, must receive a mandate from the educational institution to which it belongs. Without a mandate, study associations cannot receive the educational discount of 10%.

Bookshops are allowed to sell books written in Dutch to study associations at a 10% discount, under the condition that it’s an order of 2 books or more. Besides, the study association must act under a mandate, the books should be prescribed literature – mentioned in the course manual or communicated via email/on paper – and the discount must – with possible deduction of sales costs – recharged in the final price paid by the members. If more than 100 books are ordered, a bookshop is allowed to give discounts at a rate above 10%.

The association can only receive and recharge a discount on books in the Dutch language, and only if the book is prescribed literature. What has changed, is that under the new law study associations have an obligation too, whereas under the old regulations the principal responsible party was the bookshop. This means that possible fines can now also be imposed upon study associations. Thus, the best thing to do is to double check the prices listed in the offer of the book supplier. Do you give up a price too low? Then you may receive a four-digit fine.

Bookshops can also offer discounts to students. This is allowed if it concerns prescribed literature and if the student buys at least to books written in Dutch. The possibility for bookshops to give these discounts faces study associations with increased competition from bookshops.


For more information, please get in touch with the ASVA legal office via rechtsbureau@asva.nl.

Do study associations need to pay taxes?

Most study associations do not pay taxes. However, on strictly legal grounds, some associations actually should. Below you can find an overview of the different kinds of taxes that to which associations may possibly be subject:

  • Corporate income tax: associations usually do not aim to make profit. However, consistently turning profits is considered aiming for profit according to the tax authorities (“Belastingdienst”). In that case, corporate income tax must be paid. You may get exempted, if you meet the following conditions:
    1. During the actual activities or when the assets are used, a general social, ecclesiastical, philosophical, charitable, cultural, scientific or social interest is the primary interest.
    2. The earnings are only used for the benefit of a (previously) mentioned cause.
    3. The earnings are primarily generated thanks to the efforts of volunteers.
    4. The activities with which the earnings are generated do not severely distort the existing competitive position vis-à-vis entrepreneurs operating in the profit sector.
    5. There is no objective to make profit, or this objective is only of secondary importance.
    6. The annual profit does not exceed €7500 or, in the relevant year and four preceding years, does not exceed €37.500.
    7. The profit that has been generated will only be used for the benefit of a cause listed under point 1.
  • BTW: Value Added Tax (“Belasting Toegevoegde Waarde”), also referred to as turnover tax, must be paid is an association carries out activities with the aim of generating remuneration. There is a number of activities that are exempt from taxation. These exemptions apply to many of the main and side-activities of associations. Besides, annual turnover generated through supplies up to €68.067 is also exempt from turnover taxation. In regard to turnover generated through service provision, the maximum annual tax-free amount is €22.689. Besides, there is the so-called “canteen regulation”, which exempts turnover generated through sales at a bar from taxation.
  • Income taxation: usually, study associations are run solely by volunteers, which means they don’t have to be concerned about incomes taxes. It should be noted, however, that compensation granted to volunteers must not exceed €20 per week and €700 per year (the €20 should be paid all at once, paying the €700 all at once is not allowed according to these regulations).

You can find more information about taxes for study associations in the White Paper for Study Associations. Get your copy at the office of the ASVA student desk. For further inquiries, we recommend contacting the legal office, rechtsbureau@asva.nl.

Does an association need insurance?

Insurances are rather pricey, but in some cases, we’d recommend getting one. In case of liability or damages, the costs may turn out to be very high. It is important to know which insurances the UvA has arranged already for the building that hosts the association, so be sure to check that first.

Here follows an overview of insurances that an association could consider taking out:

  • Third party insurance: insures associations against injury or property damage inflicted upon itself.
  • Fire and theft insurance (also referred to as contents insurance): insures household effects against theft or fire.
  • Business policy: a set of insurances that cover the most significant risks of a company.
  • Money insurance: insurance against loss of money.
  • Legal assistance insurance: insures the costs of legal aid.

Choosing whether or not to get insures depends on a variety of factors. So, make this decision together as a board.

What about liability of an association and its board members?

As a legal person, an association can be held liable for contracts it has entered. For instance, an association will need to pay the damages if it inflicts damages on a third party.

A board member of an association with full legal competence will not be liable individually. Board members, however, can be sued for actions of the legal person (i.e. the association) of which they are a board member, based on a number of statuary provisions. For an overview of these exceptions, click here to be directed to the webpage of the Chamber of Commerce.

How can associations and board members protect themselves against liabilities?

  • An association can protect itself by means of a liability insurance, which usually covers all injuries and property damages caused by the insured party itself.
  • Board members can protect themselves with a “board insurance”, which usually covers material loss and the costs of legal assistance.

For more specific questions about liability, it might be best to contact the legal office, rechtsbureau@asva.nl.

How does ASVA support study associations, besides via the partner membership?


  • The Coordinators of Study associations are ASVA’s contact persons for study associations. You can contact them for all services listed here below.
  • Besides, they focus on questions/problems that study associations are facing and they support study associations wherever possible. If you are in an argument with your faculty or grant provider and you don’t want to risk (further) harming your relationship, you can also commission ASVA’s support.


  • During these meetings, which take place every six weeks, various relevant topics for study associations will be discussed. We will hear from you what you are working on or which issues you are struggling with, you will here from us what we are doing.
  • It’s a good opportunity to get to know other study associations, during dinner (before the meeting) or drinks (after the meeting).
  • We organise study association consultations both for the UvA and the HvA.


  • For courses and training for both the board and members of an association, ASVA can help you out. We can get you in touch with someone in our network whose expertise you may need.
  • Contact ASVA Academy via academy@asva.nl.


  • For legal questions, study associations can go to ASVA’s legal office, rechtsbureau@asva.nl. Learn more here.


Since many years, Marjan Kuiper has been in charge or everything related to grants for board members. You can reach her via 020-525 2149 or send her an email via bestuursbeurs-sts@uva.nl. But first, be sure to check the website www.student.uva.nl/bestuursbeurs for more info!

Any tips when it comes to alumni policy?

There is not one way of doing it right, but here are some general tips:


  • What has been done in the past? What is currently going on around alumni, and who is in charge?


  • Do you want a separate alumni association, activities with alumni organised by the study association, structural or ad hoc collaborations with the study programme?


  • Often, study programmes organise their alumni policy and activities by use of “alumni circles”. Discuss with your programme if you could possible work together. They can help you with providing contact information, but they may also give subsidies for alumni activities.
  • Contact former student (for instance ex-board members), maybe their network can help you along.
  • Make a Facebook and Linkedin page, so that alumni who may be hard to reach can contact you themselves.


  • Set up the administration of your membership in such a way that you know when your members will become alumni. Setting up an alumni policy is a long-winded process. If you rearrange your administration now, you will reap the benefits in four years’ time.
  • Actively approach students for your alumni activities when they have just graduated.
  • Just start somewhere! Even if there are very few alumni that potentially will join your event, you got to start somewhere. The contacts and experience you will gain, will help you improve your activities and expand your network.

ASVA association shortlist

For the correct information about the ASVA association shortlist, visit: http://asva.nl/diensten/uitleen/asva-partnerverenigingenshortlist/

To which other funds can I turn?

Unfortunately, we can only briefly sketch out the possible funding and sponsoring possibilities, because one could write an entire book about this topic. The UvA has two funds which are of great importance to study associations: the AUV and the Foundation for Allocations (“Stichting Toekenningen”).

The AUV is the fund of the General University Associations (“Algemene Universiteits Vereniging”), manages (and financed) by alumni of the UvA working in the business sector. This fund mainly funds study trips and relevant activities that require a lot of money, such as conferences and the like. Stichting Toekenningen is ran by three students who administer money coming from gifts to the UvA. They cannot offer large amounts of money, but will almost always support well-founded activities with interesting content.

Both funds, and in fact virtually all funds, attach great value to the study-related content and relevance of your activity. Stichting Toekenningen generally also values the social aspect (gezelligheid) for students, whereas AUV likely is more charmed by an ardent plea arguing why this activity is of relevance for the study programme(s) of the students.

Beware that none of the funds will consider applications lacking a transparent and accurate budget, so make sure this is in order. Next to that, a recommendation committee may increase your chances of success. The AUV has strict deadlines when it comes to applying for funding, take this into account.

More information you can find here:

www.stuc.uva.nl/toekenningen (Stichting Toekenningen) or

www.alumni.uva.nl/faciliteiten click: AUV-fonds


Apart from these two funds, there are lots of other organisations that also provide funding, sometimes targeted at any type of activity, sometimes targeted at your study programme specifically. ASVA has a funding guide, which board members can consult any time. Ask our student desk about it via studentenbalie@asa.nl.

When are we required to have in-house emergency personnel?

It is no longer legally mandatory to have in-house emergency personnel present during activities organised by study associations.

The general rule is that there should be one in-house emergency officer per 50 attendees. For activities organised at the UvA, this is rarely a problem. During daytime, there are plenty of staff member with an in-house emergency service diploma present. Be sure to check with the building manager if this is indeed the case! During, say, parties organised in a club in Amsterdam, the study association must inquire with the owner about the number of in-house emergency officers during the night of the party. Usually, there will be enough personnel. However, an often-heard problem is that lessors of group accommodations do not have an in-house emergency service diploma. It’d be wise to make sure someone with a diploma is present. So, be sure to ask the person who rents out the accommodation about this.

Who does what within the UvA?

  • Facility service: 020 525 3232
  • Student affairs Maagdenhuis: depends on your specific question, contact the Coordinator of study associations
  • ASVA: Coordinator of study associations UvA or HvA: 020 622 5771
  • Central student council: csr@studentenraad.nl, 020 525 3726

Grants for board members: Marjan Kuiper: j.m.kuiper@uva.nl, 020 525 2149