What You Need To Know About Studying in Netherlands

The Netherlands is part of mainland Europe, it is located in Western Europe with an extensive coastline to the North Sea and shares land borders with both Germany and Belgium. The Netherlands was the first non-native English speaking country to offer courses taught in English to international students. Now almost all courses offered to international students are taught in English and Dutch, which is great if you’re planning on studying in the Netherlands.

Like it is in popular study abroad destinations, study in Netherlands has the following terms of duration:

  • Bachelors Degree (BA, BSc, BEng): 3-4 Years
  • Masters Degree (MA, MSc, MEng): 1-2 Years
  • PhD: 4 Years

The higher education system in the Netherlands is made up primarily of three different types of institution, each with a unique offering to an international student. These are: Research Universities, Universities of Applied Science and Institutes for International Education.Certain degrees levels are only available from each institution type.

  • Bachelors: Available at Research Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences
  • Masters: Available at all Institution types
  • PhDs: Available only at Research Universities



In Dutch most courses and degrees run for more than one year most hence, international students will require an entry visa called a Provisional Residence Permit or Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf (MVV). Your MVV will allow you entry into the country for a six month period and once in the country you will need to apply for a Residence Permit – your chosen University should do this on your behalf.

A Provisional Residence Permit (MVV) will only be granted if your application meets certain requirements, including but not limited to:

  • A  valid passport
  • Sufficient financial means
  • All required fees have been paid
  • A letter from your host University stating you have or will be enrolling


A level of competence with the English language is required before you can study at degree level in Holland as with other destinations, this will need to be proven when applying for your course by showing the results of an accepted English Language test. You will require a score no lower than 6.0 IELTS or TOEFL 550 (Paper Based), 213 (Computer Based). Other language tests may be accepted so please check with your chosen institution.


The Netherlands is home to one of the world’s oldest and most highly respected systems of higher education, dating back to the 16th century. The QS World University Rankings 2018 includes 13 universities in the Netherlands, all ranked within the world’s top 400, and an impressive eight of these are within the global top 150. The nation’s highest-ranking institution is Delft University of Technology at 54th in the world, with the University of Amsterdam and Eindhoven University of Technology not too far behind, at 58th and 104th respectively. Combine this high quality with relatively favorable tuition rates and plenty of English language courses (the Dutch are generally known for their fluency in English as a second language) and you can begin to see why the Netherlands is one of continental Europe’s most popular choices for international study.

The following are the top six Dutch universities in the QS World University Rankings 2018 are:

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) 

The country’s oldest and largest public technical university, Delft University of Technology was founded in 1842, and is currently ranked 54th in the world, overtaking the University of Amsterdam as the highest-ranked Dutch university in 2018. Also known as TU Delft, it teaches about 19,600 students, with a focus on engineering disciplines, computer science, mathematics, applied sciences, and policy and management in technology. Prometheus, a figure from Greek mythology, is an important symbol of TU Delft, and his statue stands in the center of the newly renovated Mekelpark campus. In the 2017 edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, TU Delft places within the global top five for architecture.

University of Amsterdam 

The University of Amsterdam is the country’s largest higher education institution, with around 31,500 students enrolled. Established in 1632, it’s the third oldest university in the Netherlands, and the second highest-ranked, at 58th in the QS World University Rankings. Within Europe, it’s the 15th best university. It teaches undergraduate and graduate programs across a broad spectrum of subjects, with a large selection of English-taught master’s degrees, and a few English-taught bachelor’s degrees.

Eindhoven University of Technology 

Ranked 104th in the world, Eindhoven University of Technology – as its name would suggest – is especially well-reputed in the engineering and technical fields, and also ranks among the world’s leading universities for architecture. Eindhoven conducts high levels of research, and is located in close proximity to several tech-focused companies, including Philips, ASML and DAF. The university maintains close contacts with many of these companies, and produces almost 3,000 scientific publications, 140 PhD-awards, and 40 patents every year.

Leiden University 

Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands,  was founded in 1575 by William I, Prince of Orange, an ancestor of the Netherlands’ monarchy. The institution is currently ranked joint 109th in the world alongside Utrecht University. It has around 26,900 students, who study a broad range of subjects from bachelor’s up to PhD level. The university houses more than 40 research institutes and has links with many national and international leaders, including former US President John Adams, two Secretary Generals of NATO, as well as 16 Nobel Prize winners.

Utrecht University 

Established in 1636, Utrecht University is another of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe. The QS World University Rankings 2018 place Utrecht University joint 109th in the world with Leiden University and therefore joint fourth in the country. Currently almost 30,400 students are enrolled across the university’s seven faculties, which makes it one of the largest universities in the Netherlands as well. The university claims 12 Nobel Prize laureates among its former students and staff, alongside 13 Spinoza Prize laureates.

University of Groningen 

The sixth-ranked university in the Netherlands is the University of Groningen, placed 113th in the world according to the latest QS World University Rankings. Established in 1614, it was one of the Netherlands’ first few universities, and has a long history of leadership, including claims to the country’s first female student, first female lecturer, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. About 27,000 students are currently enrolled, and, like other top universities in the Netherlands, it’s a popular choice for international students.

Other Dutch universities ranked among the world’s top 400 include:Erasmus University Rotterdam, Wageningen University ,Maastricht University, VU University Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen, the University of Twente and Tilburg University.

                            BENEFITS OF STUDYING IN NETHERLANDS

Higher education in the Netherlands is subsidised by the government and helps to keep tuition costs below that of the main study abroad destinations – USA, Australia and the UK. The qualifications will boost you career prospects as well as show you as an ‘out-of-the-box’ thinker for choosing a less well-known destination.

The Dutch are a welcoming nation of open minded and tolerant people and you will find a very diverse culture in most cities and their Universities. The country offers excellent transport links to other European countries which gives you the option of travelling and sight-seeing in other popular destinations such as France and Germany at a low cost during your time there.

                                COST OF STUDYING & LIVING

The currency in the Netherlands is the Euro (€). The expected cost of living is approximately €800-1,100 a month for a student lifestyle.
Discounts for students are available on many leisure activities and transport costs can be reduced by buying a discount card for rail travel. You are advised to split your funds into three equal amounts:

  • 1/3 on housing

1/3 on food and sustenance

  • 1/3 on transport, leisure and study materials.

Dependent on your nationality, working while studying for a limited number of hours is allowed. Your employer will have to apply for a work permit on your behalf and you should not assume there will be a job available as part of your budgeting.

                                                HEALTHCARE INSURANCE

If you are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Swiss national, and you are not working or doing an internship whilst you study in Holland, you are likely to be eligible for a European Health Insurance Card, which should cover any medical costs during your time in Holland. You can apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in your own country before starting your studies.

Should you take on employment or a paid internship during your time in Holland, you are obliged to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance cover, known as zorgverzekering. This insurance covers only your medical expenses. Your chosen university in Holland should be able to assist with selecting the best deal for you from those available from Dutch insurance companies.

For more inquiries about admissions and visas to study abroad, send an email enquiries@study-domain.com or call: +2347037293057, 08125835476



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