Study In Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the popular study-abroad destinations for international students. Every year more than 90,000 students from 157 countries, including Germany, Belgium, China, Spain, and Italy, choose this country for their higher education. Universities in the Netherlands provide world-class education and are ranked among the best in the world. Although Dutch is the national language, the country has the second highest proficiency of English in the European continent. Almost 95% Dutch population can speak English, which makes this country international student-friendly. As a result, many Dutch universities provide the largest number of English-taught programs in Continental Europe. The Netherlands also ranks top in work-life balance and performs well in various other parameters such as jobs & earnings, housing, education & skills, environmental quality & health status.

Important Facts About Netherlands

  • The cost of studying in the Netherlands is more affordable than many other English-speaking countries like the US and the UK.
  • 7 universities from the Netherlands feature in the top 100 rankings.
  • There are numerous part-time jobs available for students while studying and they help them cover their living costs in the country.
  • Students have many scholarships to choose from to cover their living costs in the country.
  • The Netherlands is home to several internationally acclaimed businesses, including Heineken, KLM, Shell, ING, Philips, and Unilever.
  • The Netherlands is the “Gateway to Europe” so you have excellent opportunities to travel through Europe!
  • More than 90% of Dutch people speak English and consider it their second language. 

Education System In The Netherlands

Higher education in the Netherlands is offered by two types of institutes – the research universities (universiteiten; WO) and universities of applied sciences (hogescholen; HBO). The universities of applied sciences comprise all general institutions, as well as institutions that specialize in a particular field of study such as fine and performing arts, agriculture, and educational training. However, the research universities comprise general universities, as well as technical universities. These study institutions offer bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees.

  • Bachelor’s: An HBO bachelor’s program requires students to complete 240 credits or 4 years to obtain the title of Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Laws (LLB), or any degree in their field of study. However, the WO bachelor’s program requires a student to complete 180 credits or 3 years to obtain a degree in BA, BSc, and LLB, depending on the discipline. 
  • Master’s: An HBO master’s program requires the students to complete 60 credits/1 year or 120 credits/2 years and after this the graduates are awarded a degree depending on their field of study, ex. Master of Social Work. A WO master’s program requires students to complete 60 credits/1 year or 120 credits/2 years to obtain the degree. Some programs may also require 90 credits/1.5 years or above 120 credits/2 years for completion. Mathematics, agriculture, engineering, and natural sciences are a few disciplines that require 120 credits while pharmacy or veterinary medicine are few disciplines that require 180 credit/3 years for completion. The students are awarded Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), and Master of Laws, depending on their chosen field of study. 
  • Doctorate: This is the highest degree offered by research universities. It may take four years to complete the doctorate.

Grading System In the Netherlands

The universities in Netherlands use grades from 10 to 1 to indicate students’ performance in university exams. Grade 10 is the highest grade awarded to a student, and 1 is the lowest grade. This grading system was introduced in the 19th century. A grade of 10 is only awarded to a student if they achieve an absolute perfection, which is very rare. A grade of 9 is also rarely awarded; however, grade 8 is considered excellent. Similarly, grades 1, 2, and 3 are rarely awarded to students. The table below offers insights on the grading system in the Netherlands and comparable grades from the UK and US.

Scale UK Grade US Grade Meaning
10.00 A+ A+ Outstanding
9.5 A+ A+ Outstanding
9 A+ A+ Very Good
8.5 A A+ Very Good
8 A/A- A Good
7.5 B+ A/A- Good
7 B B+ More than Satisfactory
6.5 C+ B More than Satisfactory
6 C/D B-/C Satisfactory
5.5 D D Satisfactory
5 F F Almost Satisfactory
4 F F Unsatisfactory
3 F F Very Unsatisfactory
2 F F Poor
1 F F Very Poor

Types Of Educational Institutes In The Netherlands

There are four types of higher education institutes in the Netherlands. They are as given below:

  • Research Universities (wetenschappelijk onderwijs, WO): These universities offer research-oriented education in subject areas like engineering, agriculture, and so on. There are currently 14 research universities in the country. Some of the major ones include Amsterdam University College, University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit.
  • Universities of Applied Sciences: These universities offer degrees in common subjects and specialized subjects such as pedagogy, art, agriculture, and so on. There are 39 universities of applied sciences in the country.
  • Institutes for International Education: These are small groups of educational institutes targeting foreigners.  They offer English-taught programs in social, environmental, and economic sciences. There are five major institutes and various small institutes offering international education for students.
  • University colleges: These are colleges attached to Dutch universities and offer degrees in general subject areas. The colleges are best for students who aren’t clear about the type of degrees they must take in the future.

Top Courses To Study In The Netherlands

Some of the best courses in the Netherlands for international students are:

Popular Universities To Study In The Netherlands

The Netherlands is home to a few of the world-renowned universities and below is the list of the top universities as per QS Top University Rankings 2022/23.

University QS University Rankings 2022 QS University Rankings 2023
University of Amsterdam 55 58
Delft University of Technology 57 =61
Utrecht University 110 =112
Leiden University =112 =131
Wageningen University & Research 123 124
Eindhoven University of Technology 125 138
University of Groningen =128 145
Erasmus University Rotterdam 179 =208
University of Twente =189 =212
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam =209 214
Radboud University 220 232
Maastricht University =233 278
Tilburg University =356 =356

Popular Universities in the Netherlands That Require No IELTS/TOEFL

The following are some popular universities in the Netherlands that require no IELTS/TOEFL score and allow students to seek admission with alternate exam scores.  

  • University of Amsterdam 
  • Delft University of Technology 
  • Leiden University 
  • Leiden University 
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam 
  • Utrecht University 
  • Leiden University 
Following are the commonly accepted English proficiency tests to study in the Netherlands:

  • Cambridge Assessment English (CAE)
    • C1 Advanced, or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
    • C2 Proficiency, or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)  
  • Duolingo (DET)

If you are opting for courses in Dutch, here are few proficiency exams you can opt for:

  • Staatsexamen Nederlands als Tweede Taal (NT2)
  • Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal (CNaVT)

Popular Cost-Effective Universities In The Netherlands

The tuition fees in the Netherlands are lower than in many other European countries like the UK. However, it is more expensive than in countries like Belgium, Germany, and so on. The Dutch universities charge two types of fees – institutional tuition fees and statutory tuition fees.  All Dutch students and students from EU/EEA countries and Suriname must pay statutory fees. However, international students have to pay institutional fees. These institutional fees tend to be higher. International students have to pay institutional fees from €6000 to €15000 in tuition fees. However, the cheapest universities may charge them anything between €6000 to €12000 in tuition fees. 

Listed below are some of the cost-effective universities in the Netherlands:

Universities Name Type of University
Delft University of Technology Public University
Breda University of Applied Science Private University
Maastricht University Public University
University of Amsterdam Public University
Radboud University Public University
The Hague University of Applied Science Public University
University of Groningen Public University
Wageningen University and Research Public University
University of Twente Public University
Utrecht University Public University

Admission Process To Study In The Netherlands

  • Step 1: Make a list of study programs and institutes you would like to pursue your course.
  • Step 2: Check the individual websites of these institutes to check the application process and deadline. Many numerus fixus programs follow an application deadline of January 15 and other programs follow a deadline of May 1. Universities receive a large number of applications from international students for some popular bachelor’s programs, which may get overwhelming at times. So, to avoid overcrowding, many leading universities fix a certain number of admissions quotas known as numerus fixus. A student can submit a maximum of two applications for a particular degree program at two different universities. Many programs such as dentistry, medicine, physiotherapy, and dental hygiene would accept only one application. It means, a student can only submit one application for physiotherapy or dentistry at one university and cannot apply to a second university.
  • Step 3: Arrange all required documents needed for the application. Most universities require you to submit mark sheets, a portfolio of previous work experience, a letter of motivation, a recommendation letter, and so on. 
  • Step 4: Apply through Studelink portal. This is the official application portal for programs at higher education institutes in the Netherlands. It allows you to apply for a maximum of four courses at a time. However, some institutes may use a different portal or their individual websites. So, before applying you need to check on the university or institute website whether you need to apply through the Studelink portal or their own website. 
  • Step 5: You have to wait for several weeks before the application is accepted. If you receive an offer, you have to accept it within two weeks and pay the tuition fee through Studelink. If you do not accept the offer within two weeks, the place will be automatically assigned to another student.

Eligibility Criteria and Application Requirements

Basic Criteria for the UG Degrees include:

To be admitted to the UG degree, a student must:

  • Complete 12 years of secondary education in home country
  • Complete the upper secondary certificate from a recognized institute in their home country
  • Have a minimum score of 60% in the senior secondary school certificate examination, however, this requirement may vary across institutes and subject areas
  • Possess a valid school leaving certificate
  • Prove proficiency in English or Dutch, depending on the language of instruction chosen

Basic criteria for the PG Degrees

To be admitted to the PG degree, a student must:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in any relative field
  • Possess an average GPA score of 7.5 or higher on a 10.0 scale
  • Have a minimum GRE score of 310 to 330 or a GMAT score of 600
  • Submit a proof of English proficiency – IELTS -6.0; TOEFL – 550

In addition to the above, the students must submit the following documents:

  • Motivation letter
  • Results of TOEFL or IELTS
  • Mark sheets of Standard X, XII, and also the bachelor’s degree 
  • GMAT or GRE score (as applicable)
  • Resume/ CV (course-specific requirement)
  • Recommendation Letters
  • A Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • A valid passport
  • Bank Statements proof and proof of financial coverage for your entire study timeline 

Intakes In the Netherlands

The universities in the Netherlands majorly follow two intakes -Autumn and Winter. 

Autumn Intake: The first intake usually starts in September. Most leading universities in the Netherlands offer maximum courses in this intake, which is why it is popular with international students. Let us look at the timeline for this intake.

  • January – March: Research the universities, courses, application deadlines and start arranging the required documents. Many numerus fixus programs have an application deadline of January 15 and other programs have May 1.
  • April – June: Appear for English proficiency exams and standardized exams like GRE and GMAT or any other exam as per the course requirement. It is always better to appear for these exams a little earlier because you may be required to appear for re-test if the scores are low.
  • May – June: Start applying to the colleges with all necessary documents through Studelink.
  • June – July: If your application is accepted, then an offer of placement will be sent. You have to accept it within two weeks and pay the tuition fee through Studelink. If you do not accept the offer within two weeks, the place will be automatically assigned to another student. 
  • July – September: Start applying for the visa as soon as you receive the acceptance letter. This is also the time to arrange for your finances, like applying for student loans or scholarships.
  • September: Buy tickets and prepare to start your semester in the Netherlands.

Winter Intake: The intake usually starts in February, and is less competitive than the Autumn intake. Let us look at the timeline for this intake.

  • June-August: Research the universities, courses, application deadlines and start arranging the required documents. Many numerus fixus programs have an application deadline of January 15 and other programs have May 1. 
  • September-October: Appear for English proficiency exams and standardized exams like GRE and GMAT or any other exam as per the course requirement. It is always better to appear for these exams in a little earlier than this timeline because you may be required to appear for re-test if the scores are low.
  • October – November: Start applying to the colleges with all necessary documents through Studelink.
  • November -December: If your application is accepted, then an offer of placement will be sent. You have to accept it within two weeks and pay the tuition fee through Studelink. If you do not accept the offer within two weeks, the place will be automatically assigned to another student. 
  • December -January: Start applying for the visa as soon as you receive the acceptance letter. This is also the time to arrange for your finances, like applying for student loans or scholarships. : Apply for student loan, scholarships, and student visa.
  • January – February: Buy tickets and prepare to start your semester in the Netherlands.

Cost Of Studying In The Netherlands For Indian Students

Here we have included the average annual cost of education in EUR (€). Actual values may differ across cities and universities in the Netherlands.

Types of Expenses (Annual) Expenses in EUR
Tuition Fees

€6000 - €15000 for bachelor’s programs and €8000-€20,000 for master’s programs at public universities

Private University Fees: Up to €30,000 for Bachelor’s Programs (for four years) and Master’s Programs at some private universities

Living expenses including accommodation, food, transportation €9600 - €14,400

Types Of Student Visas In the Netherlands

The following are a few popular types of student visas for the Netherlands:

  • Netherlands short-stay student visa: This visa is issued for short courses lasting 3 months or 90 days, such as language courses for Dutch.
  • Netherlands student visa for secondary and vocational courses: This visa is usually granted to students seeking admission to secondary and vocational programs.
  • Netherlands long-stay student visa: This is a student visa for graduate and post-graduate programs in the Netherlands. This visa also serves as a residence permit and validates up to five years. 
  • Intra-EU mobility visa: This visa stands valid for studies across the EFTA/EU countries.

Netherlands Student Visa Process

If you are an Indian student planning to study in the Netherlands, you may require a student visa. You can make a visa application following these steps:

  • Confirm your place at the university. Your host university should immediately start the visa application process. 
  • Submit all required documents for the visa application process to the university.
  • When the university receives the documents, the application will be sent to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
  • You will be informed of the application status by the university. The visa processing time lasts for a month.
  • Once IND approves the visa, you can seek an appointment with Dutch Consulate General or Embassy in your country for the Provisional Residence Permit (MVV). This must be collected from the embassy within three months of your application being approved by the university. The validity of MVV is three months and is not extendable.
  • If you are planning to study in the Netherlands for more than 3 months, then you should apply for a residence permit. Your photo and fingerprints will be taken at the embassy when you go to collect the MVV visa at the embassy. Your biometric information will be sent to the IND for processing your residence permit card. 
  • The residence permit card can be collected from the IND office after arriving in the Netherlands. This residence permit card stands valid for the entire course duration.

The following are the documents required to submit for your visa application.

Best Student Cities In Netherlands

The best student cities in the Netherlands for international students are:

Nijmegen

The Hague

Tilburg

Eindhoven

Delft

Utrecht

Rotterdam

Leiden

Amsterdam

Groningen

Exams to Study in the Netherlands

Language proficiency test requirements

The universities in the Netherlands offer courses in English. To be accepted, you must submit scores of the following English language tests.

  • IELTS
  • TOEFL iBT
  • Cambridge English

If you are seeking admission to Dutch language programs, then you need to submit the scores for the following Dutch language tests.

  • NT2
  • CNaVT

Standardized test requirements

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

Government and Non-government Scholarships To Study In the Netherlands

The following are some popular government and non-government scholarships available to international students in the Netherlands.

Scholarship Program Description
Holland Scholarship This scholarship is awarded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science and many universities of applied sciences and Dutch research universities to international students outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to pursue their master’s and bachelor’s in the country. This scholarship doesn’t cover a full tuition fee, and an amount of € 5,000 is awarded to a student in the first year. Based on merit, the student may receive up to three Holland scholarships to the maximum of € 15,000.
Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) This is the Netherlands government-funded scholarship program awarded to female students wishing to pursue a short course, Ph.D., or master’s in the country.
Orange Knowledge Programme in The Netherlands This Netherlands government-funded scholarship is awarded to students wishing to pursue short or master’s programs in Dutch organizations that offer OKP-qualified courses or programs.
Orange Tulip Scholarship Program This scholarship program is managed by the Netherlands Education Support Offices (Nesos) and is awarded to students from India and Indonesia.

Note: In addition to the above, most Dutch universities offer scholarships to international students for bachelor’s, and master’s programs. You can check their individual websites to know the information.

Post-Study Work Visa in the Netherlands

You must possess any of the following visas to continue in the Netherlands after graduation.

1. Orientation Year Visa: This visa is known as Zoekjaar Hoogopgeleiden or Zoekjaar visa in Dutch language and is ideal for students who have recently earned a bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degree from a  Dutch university. This visa will allow them to stay in the country for 12 months. The student must have graduated in the last 3 years to qualify for this visa.

2. Orientation Year for a Highly Educated Migrant Visa: This visa is also known as regeling hoogopgeleide and is ideal for students who have completed a master’s degree or PhD in particular subjects. 

3. Orientation Year for a Highly Skilled Migrant: This visa is known as kennismigrant in Dutch and is awarded to a student younger than 30 years old and earns an annual salary of €38,040. If a student is older than 30, the required annual salary is €51,888.

4. Orientation Year for a Scientific Visa: This visa is usually awarded to PhD students. Generally, the research institute where they are currently enrolled for a PhD program or wish to continue their research in future will apply for the visa on the student’s behalf.

5. Start-Up Residence Permit: This residence permit is awarded to students who wish to run an innovative business in the country after their studies. The student must collaborate with an experienced facilitator to be granted this permit. A facilitator is a business mentor who offers tailor-made packages to support the entrepreneur.

6. European Blue Card: A student is awarded an EU Blue Card for four years. To avail of this card, the student must have a minimum gross salary of € 5,403 per month and possess a job contract lasting at least a year for highly qualified employment.

7. Permanent Residence: A person can apply for a residence permit after staying in the country for five years. 

On-Campus And Off-Campus Jobs In Netherlands

Types of part-time jobs in New Zealand

  •  Casual employee
  • Permanent employee

On-Campus Part-Time Jobs

  •  Teaching Assistant
  • Library Supervisor
  • Peer Tutor
  • Department Assistant

Off-Campus Part-Time Jobs

  • Waiter
  • Cashier
  • Delivery executive
  • Cook

Popular Career Prospects For International Students in the Netherlands

This section features the highest-paying careers in the Netherlands along with their annual average salaries in EUR (€). 

  • Banking: AML Analyst, assistant bank manager, ATM manager, bank accounts analyst, bank accounts executive, bank clerk, bank compliance specialist (€21,240 – €128,400)
  • Energy: Assistant yard manager, biomass plant technician, biomass power plant operator, chemical plant operator, crude oil marketing executive, dispatcher (€20,400 – €120,000)
  • Information Technology: 2nd line systems administrator, ABAP developer, Application System Specialist, AI developer, AI and ML specialist, business intelligence analyst, business intelligence developer (€31,320 – €94,800)
  • Healthcare: Academic clinician, acute care nurse, ambulance officer and paramedic, anesthesiologist, occupational therapist, behavioral health specialist, biomedical health specialist (€19,560 – €2,55,600)
  • Travel and Tourism: Motel manager, quality, health, and safety coordinator, regional restaurant manager, room reservations manager, travel agent, travel consultant (€16,200 – €107,250)

Frequently Asked Questions On Studying In Netherlands

Yes, Indian students can work part-time in the Netherlands between 10-16 hours weekly.

Students can earn between 6-10 per hour while working part-time in the Netherlands. However, students make much more during their internships and industrial placements arranged by the universities in the Netherlands for students.

The student visa processing time for Holland is usually 30 days to 90 days.

Yes, the country is safe for international students. It regularly features on the list of the safest countries in the world.

Generally, PhD students aren’t charged tuition fees in the Netherlands. They are usually treated as university employees but they have to pay statutory fees. However, doctoral candidates who are termed as contract doctoral research associates and external doctoral candidates are not treated as university employees. Contract doctoral research candidates are funded by an external source and external doctoral candidates are self-funded. They have to pay some tuition fees at the university. The statutory fees cover costs of examination, administration, supervision, and university access. These fees may vary across universities as well as disciplines. The students can seek university scholarships to cover their statutory fees and other living costs. This Dutch funding is offered by Nuffic, Study in Holland, and Euraxes. 

Yes, there are many big companies in the country. The companies like Tesla, Netflix, Nike, Panasonic Europe, IKEA, and Adidas have their regional headquarters in the country. Other big companies like Aegon, Unilever, Royal Dutch Cell, and Heineken also have offices in this country.

Have any questions?