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Study in Netherlands


The Dutch make really good hosts for students pursuing higher education, as they are heavily invested in their education system. The Netherlands has a really big community of international students from as many as 160 different countries. Studying in the Netherlands is cheaper than other popular destinations such as the U.S. and U.K.

In 2019, the Netherlands was the 17th largest economy in the world; cram that into one tiny country and you have a place with an amazing per capita income. The Dutch believe that no education is complete without proper job experience, which leads to programs that are structured specifically towards the industry needs. If you choose the Netherlands for your studies, you get a place that ranks among the top ten universities in terms of safety and happiness. Teachers at universities are highly approachable and encourage interactions.

The Dutch people are extremely open-minded, a fact that is reflected in the rising number of atheist individuals in the Netherlands. This makes them a community that is free of religious bias in general and therefore, much more welcoming compared to countries that have a strong religious majority and orthodox views. The majority of locals can speak in English.

Some of the world's biggest multinationals, including Philips, Heineken, KLM, Shell, ING, and Unilever, are Dutch. Netherlands is a world leader in agriculture, water management, art & design, logistics, and sustainable energy. Netherlands is meant to be the gateway to Europe, which means that one can travel to London, Paris, or Berlin in less than 6 hours by high-speed trains.

Education System

With more than 2,100 international study programs and courses, Netherlands has the largest offer of English-taught programs in continental Europe.

The higher education system in the Netherlands is based on a three-cycle degree system, consisting of a bachelor, master, and Ph.D. Dutch higher education has a binary system, which means that one can choose between two types of education:

  • Research-oriented degree programs: Offered by research universities.
  • Professional higher education programs: Offered by universities of applied sciences.

A third, smaller branch of higher education is provided by institutes for international education, which offer programs designed especially for international students. Some research universities offer 2-year professional doctorate programs in engineering (PDEng).

Credit System

Netherlands follows the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, ECTS for allocating credits to courses. Each academic year requires 60 ECTS credits. 1 credit point refers to 28 hours. Attending lectures, preparing for exams, participating in seminars come under completion of these hours. Other components include writing thesis, researching, working on modules or courses, preparing for placements. The credits are assigned based on the successful completion of assessments, thesis, research work, or passing exams.

Top Courses

Popular Courses in the Netherlands

Popular courses to study in the Netherlands along with their duration and fees are mentioned in the table below.

Name of the course Duration Fees
Econometrics and Data Science 24 Months 20,473 Euro/Year
Animation 12 Months 8,198 Euro/Year
Big Data Engineering 24 Months 14,500 Euro/year
Water Science Engineering 18 Months 14,628 Euro /yea
Medical Physiology 24 Months 18,900 Euro/Year
Health Sciences 12 Months 14,500 Euro/Year
Economics 12 Months 14,762 Euro/Year
Law 12 Months 17,078 Euro/Year
MBA (Management Consultancy) 12 months 14,762 Euro/Year
Industrial and Applied Mathematics 18 months 16,200 Euro/Year
Biomedical Informatics
Course Duration - 24 Months
Information Studies
Course Duration - 12 Months
Biomedical Sciences (Neurobiology)
Course Duration - 24 Months
Earth Science
Course Duration - 24 Months
Forensic Science
Course Duration - 24 Months

Admission Process

Most universities have varying requirements for admission. Some seek specific subjects as a part of the curriculum while others may exempt a student for a 4-year bachelor's requirement. The general admission requirements for studying in the Netherlands are briefed below.

Course type Admission requirement
Bachelors programs

Higher senior secondary with minimum 55% aggregate

IELTS Academic - Minimum 6.5

TOEFL iBT - Minimum 90 overall

Masters courses

Bachelor’s degree with a score nearing 70% in bachelors

Work experience, if required


IELTS - Overall 6.0-7.0 minimum

TOEFL iBT - Minimum 90-100 overall, preferred 21 in individual section

A few universities also accept TOEFL CPT, TOEIC¸TOEFL PBT, TOEFL ITP and Cambridge English (169-172).

Cost of Attendance

Compared to other European study abroad destinations, tuition fees in the Netherlands is much lower. The cost of studying is different for EU and non-EU students. Costing around 1800-4000 EUR per year for EU students against 6000-20000 per year for non-EU students, universities in the Netherlands are known for their emphasis on practical education methodology. Generally, the upper limit of the tuition cost for bachelor’s and masters courses in the Netherlands reaches up to EUR 19,400 to 52,000 per year respectively. Courses such as Business Administration, Medicine, Law usually have higher fees. See the list below for most affordable universities in the Netherlands. Radboud University University of Twente (UT) Utrecht University HAN University of Applied Sciences Read about program wise tuition fees, cost of accommodation, food cost, travel cost, insurance pricing, and other details of costs involved to stay and study in the Netherlands as an international student. Intakes and deadline The universities in the Netherlands accept applications twice a year. The two intakes are: Intake Starts from Deadline Key features Winter intake February November- December Secondary intake All universities are not open for applications. Autumn Intake September June- July Main intake time Maximum universities accept applications It is advised to check with a university for the exact deadline. Most of the courses have their deadline up to May 1. Others may be accepting applications from the 1st of February and 1st of March only.

Best student cities

Popular Cities in the Netherlands Leiden Amsterdam Groningen Rotterdam The Hague AKA Den Haag Eindhoven


Steps to apply for the Netherlands Student Visa The first step is to have a valid passport. In case, one wants to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days, a residence permit is required. Additionally, a long-stay visa called MVV is required as an authorization for a temporary stay. MVV is nothing but a stamp that will be marked on a visa. In some cases, one may be exempted from the requirement of the MVV visa. The educational institution applies for the MVV (long term stay study visa) and the residence permit at the same time on behalf of the student. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has to give a decision within 60 days about the residence permit. If the IND intends to grant the visa, then they will inform the education institutions that applied for the MVV on the student’s behalf to collect the MVV from the Dutch Embassy. There will be a set of legalized documents to be provided by the student. A student has 3 months to collect the MVV. Make an online appointment for this with the Embassy in the student's home country. A student’s passport must be valid for at least 6 months on the day one gets the MVV. Once he has collected his MVV, he can travel to the Netherlands. Entry into the Netherlands is allowed within 90 days of the issue. The validity is shown on the MVV sticker. The MVV allows one to travel within the Schengen Area. Students are requested to go through the link to understand the step by step procedure for obtaining an MVV. The following are the steps one needs to follow to obtain a residence permit once reaching the Netherlands. The residence permit has to be obtained after reaching the Netherlands at the IND office. An appointment should be booked before visiting the office. One needs to be clean when it comes to having a criminal record. This has to be proved by signing an antecedent certificate. A TB test is to be given. There are some exemptions and documents to be filled for the TB test. Certain conditions are to be fulfilled after reaching the Netherlands that are advised to be known by a student. One might need a Citizen Service Number as well. For obtaining the residence permit, below mentioned conditions are to be met. The primary condition is to be accepted by a university or university of applied sciences which is a recognized sponsor. The program should be full time accredited. One can check for the university's recognition on this list. Proof of sufficient amounts is to be produced.

Top Scholarships

Given below is a set of universities, third parties and government institutions that offer scholarship opportunities to international students wanting to pursue their studies abroad. List of scholarships for Study Abroad for Fall/Spring 2020. No scholarships to show

Work Opportunities

Work while you study in Netherlands: If you want to take a job along with your studies, your employer needs to apply for a work permit for you. The organisation that decides on work permits is called UWV Werkbedrijf. If you are studying at a Dutch host institution and you need to do an internship as part of your study programme, you do not need a work permit. Your host institution and your employer do need to sign an internship agreement. A Citizen's Service Number (Burgerservicenummer – BSN) is also required in order to start working in Netherlands. You can get this from your local city hall when you registered as a resident (usually arranged by universities in the first week of student orientation).You need to be aware that as soon as you pick up a job, you are obliged to take out the Dutch basic healthcare insurance. If you do not meet this requirement you risk a huge fine. You may only work in paid employment if your employer has a permit for you. You are then allowed to work: 1.for a maximum of 16 hours a week; or 2.full-time during the summer months June, July and August. 3.If you work for more hours than allowed or if your employer was not issued a TWV for you, then you are (unintentionally) working illegally. In case of an infringement, the IND will contact the educational institute where you are studying. The Inspectorate will then fine the employer for illegal employment. Here are some tips for finding a job in Netherlands that suits you: Search for all the opportunities you have – websites, friends, colleagues, shops near your place – you never know which one will be the your lucky shot unless you try. Don’t forget to type in Dutch so that you have more chances of finding something (use google translate if you don’t know the language yet). Show that you have motivation – Dutch people seem to appreciate more people who show motivation and ambition. Whether it’s about learning the language, learning some skills that are vital for your job or simply why you want to get this job – show it! Don’t be afraid to learn Dutch – A new language sounds weird and mostly is really hard to learn, but once you feel the surrounding environment around you, it won’t be that hard to get some some phrases in Dutch or even make a proper conversation. Fix your time management – Of course, nothing can be perfect, but why not try to make it close enough to that. Get one of those agenda books and fill everything in. In this way you will make sure you won’t forget anything and will keep track. Working as an intern in Netherlands: A very common method to find an internship is through your university. Almost all universities have a dedicated desk where they can give you access to their database of internship opportunities. If you want to do an internship as part of your study programme in Netherlands, you can do this on the basis of your student visa. The employer does not need to apply for a work permit for you. The employer must, however, be able to present an internship agreement to the Labour Inspectorate, upon request. As long as your pay is only a compensation for expenses, it will not be subject to taxation. Expenses include, for example, travel expenses. Work on a self-employed basis: Next to your study you are allowed to work in the Netherlands as a self employed person (without a TWV). Important is that you continue to meet the requirements for your residence permit for study. You need to register your company in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). You need to pay taxes yourself. You might be obliged to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance. Work after your degree: Netherlands Alumni are highly employable. A special portal is set up by the Dutch government with information about all the career opportunities, about business culture, salary and practical information on Career in Holland set up by Nuffic (the national organization that deals with education in Netherlands). Currently, over 660,000 people are employed in agriculture: good news for students of Food Science and Technology, Environmental Studies, Power and Energy Engineering and of course, Agriculture. Students with transferable skills in fields such as Marketing, Management or Engineering could similarly find a position within this field. Creative industries are also a key point of investment focus for the government. Comprising industries such as architecture, design, gaming and fashion, students in fields of Media, Graphic Design, Architecture, Game Design and Software Engineering are well-positioned to find themselves a role. Approximately 172,000 people are currently employed within the creative sector, with around 66% of them self-employed. With key focus on Civil Engineering and needs for skilled workers to maintain and create structures, transferrable problem-solving and material-based skills are well in demand.


1. Can international students work in the Netherlands? Most students prefer to work while studying in the Netherlands. International students with a valid residence permit are allowed to work either full time in June, July & August and 16 hours per week during classes. 2. Is education free in the Netherlands for international students? Higher education in the Netherlands is not free for international students, however, it is fairly accessible and affordable. Know more about the cost of education in Netherlands in our article 3. Is the Netherlands a good place to study? Amsterdam is one of the Netherlands' most popular student cities. It houses more than 100,000 students globally. Studying in Amsterdam for Indian students is one of the most welcoming experiences worldwide. 4. What is the difference between Statutory tuition fees and Institutional tuition fees for international students in the Netherlands? Dutch universities charge differently to non-EU/EEA students and EU/EA ones. This gives rise to the terms Statutory tuition fee (for EU/EEA students) and Institutional tuition fees (for non-EU/EEA international students). 5. What is a numerus fixus? It simply means a limited number. Each program has certain seats fixed for an academic year. 6. What happens under numerus fixus program? If a program has limited capacity and receives more applications than the number of seats it has, the selection happens through numerus fixus program. 7. How do I know if my desired program falls under the numerus fixus program? It should be checked with the university. Applications, then, can be submitted through Studielink or directly to the university. 8. Is there any deadline to apply through Studielink for the numerus fixus program? Yes, one must apply before January 15 through Studielink to apply for numerus fixus program. 9. How many numerus fixus programs can I apply to in an academic year? Applications can be sent to only 2 numerus fixus programs in an academic year. There are exceptions for programs such as Dentistry, Medicine, numerus fixus programs for which an application can be made only one in an academic year.1 10. When does the selection process for the numerus fixus program start? The timeline for review of applications for these programs is 15 January to 15 April. 11. How will I know if my application is accepted for the numerus fixus program? You can check it on Studielink. If accepted, you will know by April 15. You should accept the offer within one week as later you lose your ranking and the seat is passed on to the next candidate. 12. What are foundation courses in the Netherlands? These are aimed at preparing international students for language skills required to pursue bachelor’s or masters courses. These also help them to adapt to the environment at the new university and the country. Some foundation courses may guarantee admission in one of the university’s courses later. 13. What are pre-bachelors programs in the Netherlands? These are nothing but foundation programs to help students learn practical aspects of an academic program and provide them English language training to help them fulfill the requirements of the bachelor's program. These serve as a good way to help students adjust to university life. 14. Do I need to obtain a residence permit after reaching the Netherlands? Yes, if you are a non-EU student, you need to apply for a residence permit after reaching the Netherlands. Usually, your university will apply on your behalf after you submit the required documents. 15. Is there any fee for residence permit application in the Netherlands? Yes, there is a fee of EUR 174 16. Do I need to maintain any minimum credits to obtain my residence permit in the Netherlands? Yes, you need to maintain at least a 50% minimum credit requirement to get your resident permit. 17. What are the minimum and maximum duration of a preparatory program in the Netherlands? It can range from 6-12 months. 18. Who will decide whether I need a preparatory course in the Netherlands? This is at the sole discretion of your educational institute. 19. Is a preparatory program available only for bachelor’s programs in Netherlands? No, it is available for the Masters program too. 20. Do I need to pass IELTS even when I opt for a preparatory course? Yes, passing IELTS is a must. An IELTS score of 5.0 lets you do a preparatory course for 12 months. 5.5 IELTS score is required for a 6 months preparatory course. 21. Which languages should my documents be translated into to apply for an educational institute in the Netherlands? 22. Do I need health insurance for applying for a Netherlands Visa? No, if you are younger than 30, you can stay insured from a health insurer in your home country and do not need Dutch insurance. 23. Is it necessary to have Dutch health insurance when I get a full-time job in the Netherlands? Yes, you must get one within 4 months of getting a job. If you don't get one, you are charged a heavy fine of 450 USD approximately. 24. Can you provide some examples of Dutch companies I can take my health insurance from? Some examples of health insurance providers in the Netherlands are LoonZorg, ONVZ, OHRA, UnitedConsumers, Besured, Salland, and ZorgDirect. 25. When should I apply for an extension of my residence permit in the Netherlands? You must apply for an extension before 3 months of the expiry date of your residence permit.26. What is the application fee for the renewal of my residence permit in the Netherlands?It is close to 404.66 USD.