There are different ways of obtaining a doctorate at VU University Amsterdam.
Most people do so in a doctorate programme as an employee of the university. This means that the supervisor has obtained the money (via a grant or competition) to set up research, and thereby creating a PhD position. These position are advertised on the VU website.
Other people have obtained a grant themselves (from their home country, or via Nuffic) to do their doctorate research here. These students first need to find a suitable supervisor, they can do that by browsing our website, and find the staff members who are doing research they are interested in. Quite often the supervisor has to sign on the grant application that he/she indeed agrees to supervise the applicant.
Finally, some people come as ‘external PhD’s’. They are not paid by VU University, but are employed elsewhere and are doing their research under supervision of a VU professor. They also need first to contact a professor who agrees to supervise them.