How to Study in the Netherlands as an International Student

The Netherlands is a great country for studying abroad as an international student, offering some of the best universities in Europe and incredible cultural experiences with other students from around the world. It’s not always easy to study in the Netherlands, however, if you don’t know what to expect or how to prepare yourself before you arrive on campus. Then, this article is for you! Continue reading to learn more.

How to Study in the Netherlands as an International Student

Approximately 220,000 students from more than 160 countries around the world are currently studying in the Netherlands, with many more choosing to study abroad every year. The Netherlands has long been a popular destination for international students from all over the world looking to earn their degrees from one of the many prestigious Dutch institutions of higher education. Although relatively small, the country can boast several world-class universities that attract thousands of international students every year.

The Dutch university system offers some unique advantages and challenges that are important to be aware of if you plan on studying in the Netherlands as an international student. For more information on how to study in the Netherlands as an international student, read on!

Study in the Netherlands

Foreigners looking to study in the Netherlands will find a wide range of Dutch universities offering degree programs. Many of the Netherlands’ universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in English. Whether you’re looking for a bachelor’s degree, diploma program, master’s, or Ph.D., the Netherlands has it all. Many opportunities await you after completing your education in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is a great destination for international students looking for quality education in Europe. The Dutch environment and people are very friendly towards foreign students and there are many English-taught programs available. The low tuition fees and affordable living costs are the most important benefits for students. Moreover, the Netherlands consistently ranks high when it comes to the best countries in Europe to study abroad. Especially when it comes to access to higher-quality teaching and achieving career goals.

Why Study in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is home to some of the world’s finest universities that offer a modern approach to education, great student life, and a welcoming environment. There are several reasons students consider the Netherlands one of the top destinations for international studies. Here are a few reasons that will convince you that the Netherlands is a perfect study destination too.

  • The tuition fees in the Netherlands are not as expensive as in other destinations such as the United Kingdom or the United States. The tuition fees are relatively low because education in the Netherlands is subsidized by the government.
  • Wide range of English-taught programs
  • The Netherlands is a very safe and welcoming country. People are warm and value individual freedom.
  • Netherlands provides you with an international and multicultural environment
  • Afordable living expenses. When compared with other western European locations, the cost of living in the Netherlands is relatively low.
  • Excellent opportunities for travel. No matter where you stay, you will always have easy access to other parts of Europe.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the Netherlands?

Higher education in the Netherlands is not free, however, it is subsidised by the Dutch government, making it affordable for Dutch students and also fairly accessible for international students. The Netherlands uses the Euro (€) as its currency. Public Dutch universities charge tuition fees to all international students regardless of their country of origin. However, students coming from the EU/EEA, and Switzerland often pay lower tuition fees than non-EU/EEA students. Below is a table showing you the different average tuition fees for EU/EEA students and non EU/EEA students:

Programs Average tuition fees for EU/EEA students Average tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students
Bachelor's programs €1,040 - €2,083 per year €6,000 - €15,000 annually
Master's  €1,070 - €2,083 per year €8,000 - €20,000 per year

In terms of cost of living (which includes accommodation and other basic living expenses), students, on average, can spend between EUR 800 to 1200 per month which depends on the student and the location as well. Your living costs will depend on where you live in the Netherlands. The bigger cities will be more expensive than the smaller cities and towns. On average, you should budget between €500 and €1,500 per month for accommodation, travel, food and other living expenses. If you do choose to take on some part-time work, you will also need to have public health insurance.

Top Universities in the Netherlands

Furthermore, Netherlands is home to some of the top universities in the world. Here are some of the best universities in the Netherlands:



(QS World Ranking 2022)

Average Tuition fees/ Annual
University of Amsterdam 55 €11,000 - €20,000
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) 57 €13,000 - €20,000
Leiden University 112 €10,000 - €17,000
Utrecht University 110 €11,000 - €20,000
University of Groningen 128 €13,000 - €35,000
Wageningen University and Research 123 €17,000
Eramus University Rotterdam 179 €10,000 - €23,000
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 209 €11,000 - €25,000
Radboud University 214 €11,000 - €17,000
University of Twente (UT) 189 €12,000 - €17,000
Eindhoven University of Technology 125 €8,000 - €18,000

Scholarships in the Netherlands

Moreover, there are a number of scholarships that are offered to international students who choose to study in the Netherlands. These scholarships can be government funded or offered by the university of choice based on merit. However, universities or government in your home country may also offer for financial aid options. Here are some of the various scholarships and grants offered by Dutch universities and organizations:

The Global Study Award

International students aspiring to pursue a Masters in the Netherlands in an English-taught program. 

  • Benefit: 10,000 EUR 

Holland Scholarship Program

International students aspiring to pursue a Bachelors or Masters in Holland.

  • Benefit: A grant of 5,000 EUR in the first year. 

Orange Knowledge Program

Offered to students from third world countries to pursue masters or short term programs.

  • Benefit: Covers cost of living, tuition fees, health insurance etc. Students also receive a monthly fixed amount during your study.

Erasmus Mundus Scholarships

Students pursuing masters degrees. 

  • Benefit: Coverage of tuition fees, insurance, travel costs etc. 

University-Based Scholarships

Students enrolled in Holland Universities. They grant a reduction or coverage of tuition fees and offer additional scholarships based on Merit. Universities included are University of Maastricht, Radboud University, Utrecht University, University of Groningen, VU University Amsterdam, University of Twente offer such scholarships.

  • Benefit: Reduction of tuition fees, insurance cover, travel or cost of living expense grant.

How to Apply for Study in the Netherlands

The Netherlands have an application system called Studielink, however, not all institutions or courses use it. You have to contact your chosen university directly to find out whether you need to apply directly or through Studielink. Here are the process to follow once you chosen the institution of your choice.

1. Choose a program

To begin with, choose a degree program that is right for you. Select the level of studies you are looking for (bachelor, master, Ph.D.), and then, your field of study. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, there are degrees in a multitude of fields across disciplines.

2. Check specific admission requirements

Depending on the university, specific documentation could be required. Among the basic paperwork that is commonly required by all universities is a letter of motivation, recommendation letter. Universities will also require proof of completion of previous studies, you will have to send the university an official transcript from your education. You may also need to successfully pass an English proficiency test, such as the TOEFL Test if you are not a native speaker.

3. Complete your application

To study in the Netherlands, the application process after finding your desired course of study is fairly simple and straightforward. Universities in the Netherlands have two main intakes which are in all starting September and in spring starting February every year. You can apply through an online application system, Studielink for some degree programs to universities in the Netherlands. Studielink allows you to apply for up to four courses at a time. 


4. Apply for a student visa

The university you applied to will send you an official letter of admission once you've been invited to enroll to a higher education institution in the Netherlands. You should begin the visa application process as soon as possible. The several process can take time and requires several important documents. Here's a guide on how to apply for a student visa.

Once you've been admitted to a university and have received the necessary visa, then, it's time to start preparing for your study adventure in the Netherlands. Budget for your spending in terms of cost of living in the city where you will be staying in. You can start looking for accommodation once you have determined what your budget will be.

Working in the Netherlands as an International Student

There's a great demand for international students in the Netherlands. There are many job vacancies and fewer people to occupy a job. Check out our guide on how to work in the Netherlands for more details.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, studying in a new country can be both challenging and exciting. However, if you’re planning on pursuing your education abroad, you’ll have lots of important questions to answer. For example: how much will tuition cost? What are the employment prospects like after graduation? And how will I adjust to life outside my home country? Fortunately, there are lots of online resources that can help with these issues—and more. We hope this article have provided some answers to your enquiries. So don't hesitate any longer! You too can become part of this diverse and welcoming community. Proceed with the link below for more information on how to study in the Netherlands.