Study abroad in the Netherlands

Why study in the Netherlands?

  • Getting to the Netherlands from the UK is really easy! Flights take only 50 minutes, or it's four hours by train
  • The Netherlands is a very diverse country, and it is home to people from over 190 different cultures - a great opportunity to meet all sorts of new people
  • Most people are fluent in English and, with over 1,500 courses taught entirely in English, communicating with others shouldn't be too much of a problem
Discuss studying in the Netherlands with others in the forums.

The Netherlands' education system

The Netherlands has four different kinds of higher education institute. The one you choose depends on the kind of qualification you want to receive.

Study in the Netherlands
  • Research Universities: Mainly focused on independent, research-orientated work in an academic setting
  • Universities of Applied Science: Primarily for students who want to enter a specific career after graduation, as their courses involve work placements and periods of studying abroad
  • University Colleges: Specialised branches of public universities which mainly teach liberal arts degrees. Here students are required to live on campus and so there are limited places on the courses.
  • Private Universities: Universities which specialise in really niche subjects, they also charge the highest fees

At most universities, undergraduate courses last four years. Following this, students can go on to study postgraduate degrees; PhDs are a reasonably popular option because the Netherlands have a really great research reputation. On the international scales of number of publications per researcher, it comes second, and it is in fourth place on citation impact scores. However, PhDs are only offered by Research Universities, and those studying for one are regarded as professional researchers as opposed to students.

Sometimes when you're applying for courses, the more popular ones - such as medicine and law - will be oversubscribed. In the Netherlands they try to solve this using a technique called numerus fixus; this means that positions are allocated at random out of everyone who applies.

However not everything is that different from studying in the UK; the academic year runs from September to July, and a lot of the same sorts of subjects are popular. Engineering, behavior & society, economics and language & culture courses are usually the most popular with international students.

The Dutch grading system is another difference between the Netherlands and the UK; students are scored via a 10 point grading system where 10 is the highest and 6 is the minimum score you need to get a pass grade.

Furthermore, the whole system of exams is very different. Instead of being very focused on closed-book exams, like many universities in the UK are, often modules will only be assessed by 1/3 closed book exams. The other 2/3 of the module is assessed on your performance in seminars, group work and participation in class discussions. Overall, this structure focuses more on understanding how to practically apply the material you've been taught.

Find out how to apply to university in the Netherlands

How much will it cost?

Tuition fees

The tuition fees in the Netherlands, while generally cheaper than the UK, differ between the type of degree and which type of institution you get it from.

All home and EU students, can expect to pay around €1,906 (£1431) per year for either an undergraduate or a Masters degree in the 13/14 academic year.

However, there are some exceptions, for example, a Masters degree at a University of Applied Sciences is likely to be more expensive; tuition fees can be up to €10,500 (£9,500) per year.

Living expenses

For each month, you'll probably need between €750 and €1,200 for living expenses such as accommodation, food and social activities. Here's an idea of what sort of thing you can expect to be paying each month:

  • Accommodation: €300 - €600 (£225- £451)
  • Food: €180 (£135)
  • Books and study materials: €65 - €85 (£49- £64)
  • Insurance: €40 - €80 (£30- £60)
  • Social / Other activities: €100 - €250(£75- £188)
Find out about student visas and what you need to apply to university in the NetherlandsStudy abroad in the Netherlands stats


The currency in the Netherlands is the Euro, depicted by €. The current exchange rate is $1 : £0.75

Exchange rates can change quickly and, while this value is correct at the time of writing, it's worth checking again before you travel.

Financial assistance

Loans, grants and scholarships are available for both home and EU students in the Netherlands. To find out about scholarships you can either search the website below or contact the Dutch embassy in the UK.

Search for scholarships available in the Netherlands here.

Tuition fee loans are also available. They are paid in 12 monthly installments and cover the cost of the degree. Two years after graduation you must begin to repay the loan, regardless of location or income.

Other loans to cover living expenses are also available. Students under 30 who are working at least 56 hours per month, are eligible for a loan of €279.14 per month from the Dutch government.

Working while you study

As a UK student in the Netherlands you are permitted to work for as many hours as you want alongside your studies without needing a Visa or work permit. However, while you are allowed to work, finding a job can be difficult. Generally, you need to be able to speak and have a good understanding of Dutch to be in with a chance or finding employment.

Living in the Netherlands

What to expect from people

Living in the Netherlands

In general, you'll find most Dutch people friendly and helpful, but they also consider punctuality and politeness as being very important.

As a whole, society is non-hierarchical, consequently students and teachers tend to have a very informal relationship - with informal dress and free debate. On the whole, university life is far less isolated than in the UK; student life is integrated into the whole of society.

Outside the universities

The Netherlands is a very safe country where you'll find low levels of street crime and violence, even in the largest cities.

Almost 30% of students are found in Groningen which has the largest student population in the Netherlands, but other cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Maastricht are also popular with students.

A really popular way for students to travel around is by bike; it's the fastest and cheapest way to get around. However, public transport in the Netherlands is also great across the country.

Trains, buses and - in some places - subways, are all popular ways to travel with tickets being relatively cheap; starting from €2 per ticket.

Find out about student accommodation in the Netherlands

Where to study?

There are over 70 universities in the Netherlands including universities of all four types. These include six universities which are in the 2014 QS World Rankings top 100; University of Amsterdam at 50, Leiden University at 75, Utrecht University at 80, Delft University of Technology at 86, University of Groningen at 90 and Erasmus University Rotterdam also at 90. A complete list of all Dutch universities is below, with their world rankings, where appropriate, in brackets.

  • Amsterdam School of the Arts
  • Apeldoorn Theological University of the Christian Reformed Churches
  • ArtEZ Institute for the Arts
  • AVANS University of Applied Sciences
  • Codarts University of the Arts
  • De Kempel University Teacher Education College
  • Delft University of Technology (86)
  • Design Academy Eindhoven
  • Driestar University of Teacher Education
  • Dronten Professional Agricultural University
  • Ede Christian University
  • Eindhoven University of Technology (147)
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam (90)
  • Fontys University of Applied Sciences
  • Gerrit Rietyeld Academie
  • HAN University of Applied Sciences
  • Hanze University Groningen
  • HAS Den Bosch University of Applied Sciences
  • Hogeschool Edith Stein OCT University of Professional Teacher Education
  • INHolland University of Applied Sciences
  • IPABO Amsterdam, University of Teacher Education
  • Iselinge University of Professional Teacher Education
  • Islamic University of Rotterdam
  • Kampen Theological University of the Reformed Churches (Liberated)
  • Leiden University (75)
  • Maastricht University (118)
  • Manrix Academie, University Institute for Teacher EducationManrix Academie, University Institute for Teacher Education
  • NHL University
  • NHTV Breda University of Professional Education
  • Nijenrode University
  • Nuffic
  • Open University of the Netherlands
  • Radboud University Nijmegen (156)
  • Reformed University of Applied Sciences
  • Rotterdam University
  • Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Design, Music and Dance
  • Saxion University
  • Stenden University of Applied Sciences
  • STOAS Professional University for Teacher Training
  • The Hague University of Applied Sciences
  • TiasNimbas Business School
  • Tilburg University (367)
  • University of Amsterdam (50)
  • University of Gronigen (90)
  • University of Humanistics
  • University of Professional Teacher Education PABO Zwolle
  • University of Twente (212)
  • Utrecht School of the Arts
  • Utrecht University (80)
  • Utrecht University of Applied Sciences
  • Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences
  • VU University Amsterdam (171)
  • Wageningen University (151)
  • Windesheim University of Applied Sciences
  • Zeeland University of Applied Sciences
  • Zuyd University

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