Foreign students are keen on Dutch universities, but few study science

Dutch universities are the third most popular in Europe with foreign students, both from elsewhere in Europe and further afield, according to research by website StudyPortals.

In particular, Greek, British, Indian, German and American students are keen on a move to the Netherlands, the research shows. Britain and Germany are the most popular locations for people wishing to study abroad.

Nevertheless, the research also shows that interest in studying in the Netherlands has grown less sharply than the interest in studying in a different European university as a whole. This may be because other countries are now organising more courses in English, the organisation says.


The Dutch government last month agreed to do more to retain foreign students and highly-skilled migrants, saying this will boost the Netherlands’ prosperity, its economy and Dutch higher education in general.

In particular, the efforts will focus on attracting science and technology students, ministers agreed.

According to the StudyPortal research, some 80% of foreign students in the Netherlands opt for a non-science degree and only 15% of Dutch students who study abroad opt for science and technology.

In Germany, by contrast, four in 10 foreign students take a technical subject. Business and economics are the most popular subjects for foreign students in the Netherlands.

Figures published earlier by the government’s macro-economic think-tank CPB show that if one in five foreign students stays in the country, the Netherlands would earn €740m a year from them.

StudyPortals bases its research on visits to its websites.

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