Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Gerrit Rietveld Academy

Gerrit Rietveld, founded in 1924 (officially named Gerrit Rietveld in 1968 after the death of the architect/designer with the same name), is in the Old South District of Amsterdam, near the Olympic Stadium where the Summer Olympics were held in 1928. Of the 800+ students enrolled at the GRA, about 40% come from outside of the Netherlands and over 50 nationalities are represented in the student body.

The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is a progressive, innovative Dutch art and design school that values the productive interplay between theory and practice, research and experimentation. Stressing independence and creativity through highly individualized curriculum and instruction, you are expected to be self-reliant and highly motivated. Within the GRA’s unstructured, group studio environment, you are not given assignments or syllabi but receive individual coaching from the 200 Academie tutors, many of whom are independent artists or designers, bringing real-world, professional experience to the classroom.

For more information about the school, visit the Gerrit Rietveld website.

About Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital and largest city in the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland, with a population of over 762,000 people. As a student at Gerrit Rietveld, you will find yourself part of a vibrant city with an extensive arts scene. Dutch is the official language of Amsterdam, but English is widely used, and German and French are spoken by many. Wherever you choose to live in the city, you won’t be far from public transportation, and if you want to live like the locals do, biking is very common. Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world, and there are bike paths and bike racks all over the city.

Living in Amsterdam, you will become very familiar with the arts and culture in the community. There are plenty of galleries, theaters, museums, and libraries to explore, as well as art fairs and events throughout the year. There is a great live music scene, and the cultural season lasts all year long.

Amsterdam’s weather is often mild and damp, with rain throughout the year. The winter is usually clear and frosty, with December and March being the coldest months.

(Source: Amsterdam.info)

Courses of Study

The GRA curriculum is not based on classes or assignments; you work on independent projects under the supervision of tutors and attend lectures in theory that include museum excursions, films, and lectures by experts. The school has well-equipped studios including up-to-date computer facilities using a Mac platform.

Discplines at the GRA include:

  • Architectural Design
  • Audiovisual
  • Ceramics
  • Fashion Design
  • Glass Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Industrial Design
  • Jewelry
  • Photography
  • Textile Design
  • Theatre Design and Art Direction
  • Theory
  • Visual Arts

Term Dates

The fall semester runs from early September until late December; the spring semester runs from early February until late May.

Housing Overview

Housing can be challenging to find in Amsterdam. It is a student city and many young people want to live in the center or in the popular areas of town. Prices are usually related to the area you choose. The city of Amsterdam is working to provide more student housing. Student housing agencies rent out rooms at student buildings on the basis of a campus contract.

Housing Options

Gerrit Rietveld does not own any student housing facilities; however, there are a few agencies you can go through when looking for a place to live: www.studentenwoningweb.nl and www.duwo.nl. A registration fee is required to access the housing listings, which. Listings include short-term housing. Further information about renting and housing facilities, landlords, and habits can be found at www.huurders.info.

The average cost for rent of a student room is between € 375-550 (approximately $450-700 USD) per month.

Application Requirements

SFAI students who wish to apply to Gerrit Rietveld are required to send the following:

- SFAI Study Abroad Application
- Gerrit Rietveld application
- Two letters of recommendation from SFAI faculty. Download the recommendation form.
- Official SFAI academic transcript
- Two passport-style photos and a copy of your passport
- Portfolio including 30 original or (preferably) photographs or prints of recent work (no more than 3 years old) -- drawings, paintings, photographs, collages, graphics, textiles, garments, ceramics, items of jewelry, floor plans, models, or texts. It is important that you do not just submit finished results and that you also include sketches and unfinished plans and ideas. The photographs should not exceed a3 format, preferably they should be formatted to a4. Students may submit an additional cd/dvd with thier work, but only as a supplemental form.  Films can be submitted on DVD or as a link to a website as part of the portfolio.
- Brief table of contents and explanation of the work
- Cover letter that includes your name, address, phone number, email address, date of birth, nationality, prior education, and course list.
- Choice of the department in which you wish to spend your exchange semester 
- Your reasons for choosing the Gerrit Rietveld, your expectations regarding your exchange semester, goals for your development, your interests, and your future plans, (e.g. museums, film, music, dance, theatre, collecting, philosophy)