The VU or Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam was founded in 1880. At first it was only open to orthodox Protestants – the word vrije (free) refers to freedom from state and church interference. Since the 1960s, the university has been open to everyone but still retains ‘Christian standards’. Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende and finance minister Wouter Bos were both educated at the VU in Amsterdam which has around 24,000 students.