Foreign students dominate in 210 Dutch university and college courses


Dutch students are increasingly in a minority in Dutch university lecture halls and foreign students dominate in some 210 different courses, the Volkskrant said on Thursday.

In 70 courses, foreign students account for 75% of the total number of students, the paper said. It bases its claims on figures from international education body Nuffic.

Some of the courses affected are specialist Master’s degrees with small numbers of students, but other are larger Bachelor’s degrees with many hundreds of students.

The number of foreign students at Dutch universities and hbo colleges has doubled in 10 years, hitting 122,000 this academic year. Of them, almost 90,000 are taking a degree while the rest are on exchange programmes.

As reported by earlier, so many foreign students are enrolled for computer science and engineering degree in Delft that the university has frozen admissions for non-EU students.

The rise in the number of foreign students, attracted by relatively low fees and the high number of English-language courses, have also given rise to fears that Dutch students may miss out.

Earlier this year, the Telegraaf newspaper went as far as to say that Dutch students risk losing out on university places because of the surge in foreign students attracted by degree courses in English. ‘Stop the English madness,’ the paper said on its front page.


Nuffic’s director Freddy Weima told the Volkskrant universities must look for an alternative solution. ‘I understand their concerns, but it will not be good for our reputation if we refuse international students,’ he said. Foreign students, he argues, are good for the economy and for the quality of education.

Rhea van der Dong, chairman of the student union ISO, said universities are too late in thinking about what the large influx of international students will mean.

‘They have been recruiting international students for years. Only now that they are arriving in large numbers are they starting to consider what the actual consequences are,’ she told the Volkskrant.