The Netherlands

Study in The Netherlands

Last edited on 26 Sep 2018
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Welcome to the Netherlands!

The Netherlands gets its name from the fact that around a quarter of this small northwestern European nation lies below sea level. Beyond its traditional associations (think windmills, tulips and clogs), it is one of the most developed and wealthy nations in the world, with a largely urban population. One of the most densely populated countries in Europe, it’s known for its tolerant and liberal ethos, and boasts a wealth of great student cities – none of which are more than a bicycle ride (the nation’s preferred mode of transport) away from some picturesque countryside.

The Netherlands is located in North Western Europe and is bordered by the North Sea to the north and west, Germany to the east and Belgium to the south. The inland area is below sea level in some places, protected by coastal dunes and dykes. The capital of the country is Amsterdam, but The Hague is the seat of the King, Government and Parliament. Leeuwarden, in the North, will be a European City of Culture in 2018. The country has a population of 16.8 million. Key economic sectors include agriculture, chemicals, energy, as well life sciences, new and sustainable energy, high tech (Micro and Nano technology, ICT), and research and development. The official language is Dutch, while English is also widely understood and spoken. The Netherlands is a member of multiple international organisations including the EU, the Council of Europe, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).


Higher Education System

The education system in the Netherlands is known for its high quality in education and research, its international study environment and its competitive pricing. The Netherlands has the most English taught courses after the UK. The Netherlands is particularly popular with international students, and according to the latest statistics from UNESCO, it is a host country to nearly 60,000 foreign students each year – including almost 1000 tertiary level students from India. The Netherlands is particularly popular with international students, and according to public higher education (DUO) 112,000 international students studied in Dutch higher education.

The Netherlands higher educational system is a dual system composed of two main types of regular higher education: university education and universities of applied sciences. Universities and universities of applied sciences award both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. A bachelor’s programme at a university requires three years of full-time study (180 ECTS credits) to complete, while a bachelor’s programme offered by a university of applied sciences requires four years of full-time study (240 credits). Depending on the discipline, Master’s programmes at universities, universities of applied sciences and institutes for International Education, last one to two years (60-120 ECTS credits). Doctorate (PhD) programmes are only offered at universities and last at least four years.

The Netherlands has a very high standard of education and a total of 13 out of 14 research universities are featured in the Global Top 200 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017, of which 8 – Delft University of Technology (59), University of Amsterdam (63), Wageningen University & Research (65), Erasmus University Rotterdam (69), Leiden University (77), University of Groningen (80), Utrecht University (86), and Maastricht University (94)– are ranked in the global Top 100.

A database of 2,100 international study programmes is available on the website of the Netherlands Education Support Office.