Study in the Netherlands

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Famed for its multicultural cities and institutions, why not join the thousands of EU students already studying in the Netherlands each year…

Many of the Dutch people speak fluent English and there are a number of English based courses to choose from, so you needn't worry about getting to grips with the language before you go. However a basic knowledge of Dutch will be useful when connecting with fellow students.

In your free time there will be plenty to see and do in this creative country. Exploring the towns and cities, boat trips along the canals, nights at the theatre, entertainment at concerts and musicals and visits to countless museums. The Netherlands is well connected to other European cities with London, Paris and Berlin only a train ride away.

The Dutch education system

There are two types of higher education system in the Netherlands:

  • Research universities - these focus on independent study of research-based work in an academic or professional location. Also known as wetenschappelijk onderwijs or WO.
  • Universities of applied science - these offer professional programmes in the applied arts and sciences that help prepare students for specific jobs. Named hoger beroepsonderwijs or HBO.

There are 12 Dutch universities in the top 200 of the 2013-14 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The highest institution is Leiden University which comes in at number 67.

According to NUFFIC (Netherlands Organisation for International Co-operation in Higher Education), the top four most popular subject areas among enrolled foreign students are:

  • economics;
  • behaviour and society;
  • engineering;
  • language and culture.

Entry requirements

When applying to higher education institutions, it is important to contact them individually first. This way the institution can tell you exactly what is required to apply for your chosen programme.

When applying for a Masters degree, students must have a minimum qualification of a Bachelors degree or equivalent.

There are more than 1,500 international study programmes in the Netherlands, the largest offering in continental Europe, and all are taught in English. Of these, 1,088 are degree programmes and 472 are non-degree programmes, which includes traineeships, short courses, certificates and diplomas.

There are regular degree programmes taught in Dutch which you can apply for, with a number of institutions offering Dutch language courses to help sharpen your skills before lectures begin.

To search for courses, go to NUFFIC.

Course fees

European Union (EU) citizens are entitled to attend university in the Netherlands or any EU country (this means the 27 member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The same conditions apply to all EU citizens whether a national of the country or not.

The average annual fee for enrolment on a degree programme or course at a Dutch higher education institution is €1,906. Non-EU students face the considerably higher cost of €8,000.

Funding study in the Netherlands

Funding and study grants in the Netherlands are available depending on individual circumstances.

To search for a specific grant for your nationality, subject area and level of study, go to Netherlands Student Grantfinder.

For those looking to study a PhD in the Netherlands, you can find helpful information at EURAXESS Netherlands.

The Dutch government offers different types of study grants. Be aware that the money you are given must be repaid in monthly instalments. Payments begin two years after your right to a student grant comes to an end.

Dutch exchanges and placements

Students attending UK universities can take part in the EU's education, training and youth support programme Erasmus+. The scheme replaces its predecessor 'Erasmus' and offers study, training, work experience and voluntary placements to millions of young people, students and adults. Opportunities last from three months to one academic year.

Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ initiative to any UK public, private or not-for-profit organisation actively involved in education and training.

Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in another EU country. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.

Student visas

As an EU citizen, you are permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:

  • are studying for more than three months;
  • are enrolled at an approved university educational institution;
  • have sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support;
  • have comprehensive health insurance cover.

All students in the Netherlands are obliged to have health insurance. In addition, students staying for longer than four months are required to register at their local municipality.