More foreign students come to the Netherlands

delft university students Przemyslaw PawelczakThe number of foreign students at Dutch universities and hbo colleges soared to 62,000 last academic year and now accounts for 9% of the student body, according to figures from international education institute Nuffic.

Germany still tops the list but there has been a rise in students coming particularly from Britain, Nuffic said in its latest report on the internationalisation of the Dutch education system.

The large number of English-language degree courses and the high quality offered by Dutch educational establishments are among the reasons for the increase, Nuffic said. Cheaper student fees are another draw, particularly for British students.

Nevertheless, the percentage of foreign students at Dutch universities is still below that in other EU countries, Nuffic said.

At the same time, Dutch colleges and universities are actively trying to recruit foreign students. ‘The world is becoming more international. It is important to bring other cultures here,’ Bastiaan Verweij, spokesman for the Dutch university association VSNU, told the Parool.


Maastricht is the most international Dutch university with some 7,200 foreign students, accounting for almost half the total student body. Most come from nearby Belgium and Germany.

The Fontys hbo college group and Groningen University are next on the list of popular places for foreign students, followed by Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Delft University of Technology.

In terms of specialist institutions, over 62% of students at the Rietveld art school in Amsterdam come from abroad.

Nuffic’s figures also show 22% of Dutch students spend part of their study period abroad. That is below the European average of 30%.

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