If Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and speed skating go together in your mind, and you like mobility and open-minded people, then perhaps you were made for studying in the Netherlands.
Extra treats are the internationalised community, hearing English spoken as frequently as Dutch, great museums, and a colourful nightlife. Sure, the rainy weather might be a bit of a downer, but you won’t mind it when you have great company.
What can we say? There are few other study destinations better than the Netherlands. But it’s never a bad idea to give you more specific details, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Dutch public universities have very affordable tuition fees if you're an European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) national. You won't usually pay more that 2,100 EUR per academic year, with various study programmes often being cheaper than that.
The story is a bit different for non-EU/EEA students, who pay anywhere between 6,000 and 20,000 EUR per year. That's still much more affordable when compared with tuition fees of over 50,000 EUR per year in the USA.
Over 90% of Dutch citizens speak English. Whether you want to visit a famous tourist attraction on your own, ask for directions, or buy something from a shop, you won't have any headache regarding language barriers.
The popularity of the English language also makes it very easy to socialise and connect with people, to take part in social and cultural events, or simply make friends and go out.
In this case, work flexibility means two things: one, you can work in any number of fields after graduation and enjoy great salaries and employee benefits; and two, the Netherlands is one of the leading countries where the 4-day work week is a common option in all sectors of the economy.
According to governmental statistics, there are over 23 million bikes in the Netherlands, more than the number of actual citizens (around 17 millions). Cycle lanes are literally everywhere, and many students and employees use them to commute on a daily basis.
It represents a great way to reduce air pollution and increase personal health and wellbeing.
The Netherlands is one of the safest and happiest countries in the world. This is hardly surprising when we look at the high standard of living, the educated citizens, and society as a whole.
Students in the Netherlands are encouraged to be very active. Professors are very approachable and avoid too much formalities. Also, the Netherlands has a big international students’ community which is very friendly and open to other newcomers. Dutch students are approachable and can be perfect party buddies.
On top of that, you can always use a bike to go to school, the distances are short, and there’s always some cultural activity going on.
Numerous English-taught programmes and native English-speaking teachers make studying in the Netherlands very appealing to international students. And there’s no other country that can beat the Netherlands at programmes related to Water Resource Management. By now, you already suspect that some of the most popular study options in this country are related to Engineering and Tech.
Here are some key subject areas you can study in the Netherlands:
The Netherlands has ten major cities that attract both students and tourists, and are great urban hubs. Dutch cities are often lively, environmental-friendly, and maintain a cultural vibe.
Some of the best student cities that you can choose from are:
With over 10 universities featured in the top 500 international higher education rankings, Netherlands is an exciting country to study in. Dutch universities attract their students with a casual approach to education and top English-taught degrees.
If you don’t know where to start looking for a Dutch university, we have a few international universities we recommend:
The Dutch higher education system is based on the Bologna process. There is an official country website providing information about studying in the Netherlands, and you can visit the educational institutions' websites for more information. Enrolment applications should be submitted via Studielink.nl.
Generally, your starting point should be the website of the educational institution. Here you can find all the information about the content of the programme and also how to enrol. Usually, this will guide you to Studielink for the enrolment application. In Studielink, you should follow the next steps:
Each degree and university have their own application requirements, so pay attention and carefully check the list of documents. For questions about or help with your enrolment, you can contact the student services of your prospective university.
Usually, the documents required are:
Some universities may require extra documents, such as:
These kinds of courses enable degree-seeking students to get an extra educational boost just before they start their Master’s degree or other post-graduate degree programmes.
Try a pre-MBA, pre-Law, or pre-Medicine programme, as well as any other foundation or preparation courses that will allow you to study in the degree programme of your choice.
If you’re attending a degree programme in the Netherlands, you will need to prove that your language skills are good enough to participate in the classes and understand the lectures; some schools will require Dutch, while others will require strong English skills. These courses will also prepare you for any of the English-language tests that universities require.
The language certificates you will need to provide, depending on the language in which you wish to study, are:
Sometimes, if you don’t hold a language certificate, you can take a language test at the university and find out if your level is good enough.
This option is only available at some universities, so always check with the institution!
Let's take a closer look at the average tuition and living expenses in the Netherlands:
As part of the EU, the Netherlands practices different tuition fees for EU/EEA students and non-EU/EEA students. Tuition fees for EU students are between 700 and 2,100 EUR/year, while for non-EU students they start at 6,000 and can reach 20,000 EUR/year. Private universities are even more expensive.
Still, you should be mindful that the cost of studies is influenced by the type of degree and by the subject area. For example, Master’s programmes are typically more expensive than Bachelor’s programmes, and can reach even 30,000 EUR/year.
The Netherlands is not the cheapest country in the EU, but the living costs here are not that high either. On average, you need a budget of 800–1,200 EUR/month. Here are some figures that will give you an overall idea about what you can expect in terms of Dutch living costs:
Interesting facts about the Netherlands
Everybody knows that the Netherlands is the country of tulips and windmills. But did you know that Netherlands is not only big on tulips, but on all flower bulbs? About 80% of the world’s flower bulbs come from the Netherlands.
On a more serious note, Netherlands has a very rich cultural history, as it was the home of painters like Hieronymus Bosch, or Jan Steen, but also of the famous sixteen century scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam.
For those of you who still call the Netherlands Holland, you’re in for a surprise: Holland is actually a region of the Netherlands. This means that not all Dutch people come from Holland, but all Hollanders come from the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is also a monarchy since… forever. Interestingly enough, today’s ruling monarch, King Willem-Alexander, is the first male monarch the country has had in 123 years.
Some other interesting facts that might also influence your stay in the Netherlands that you should know about are:
If you've decided to study a Master's degree at a university in Netherlands, you will have to gather the right documents to prove that you fit the university requirements. Provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information, and a personal statement.
To apply to a university in Netherlands you will likely be asked to provide some of the following documents:
Depending on the subject or specialization of your chosen Master's, you might also be asked to provide scores for additional tests like the GRE, GMAT or LSAT. Check if your programme requires any of these, or others.
The list of documents depends on the specific requirements of universities in Netherlands so you might be asked to include additional documents. It’s also likely you’ll have to provide official English translations of your documents, or translations in the local language.
Because you’ll study an international degree in English, you'll have to present a language certificate. Some popular options for international students are IELTS, TOEFL or C1 Advanced language certificates. You’ll have to meet a minimum language score set by the university, and your test scores shouldn’t be older than 1-2 years. If you don’t meet the minimum language requirements, you will have to improve your skills and scores by taking an English preparation course.
The deadlines for applying to a Master's in Netherlands are usually during summer (June-July), or in winter (January-February). Keep in mind that some universities don’t have application deadlines, which means you can apply whenever you are ready.
To avoid delays or missed deadlines send your required documents with plenty of time in advance.