Student numbers soar 5%, hit a record high of 290,000

Photo: Bart van Overbeeke / Hollandse Hoogte

The number of students registered at the Netherlands’ 13 universities is up 5% this academic year, taking the total to a record of almost 290,000, according to preliminary figures from the Dutch university association.

The rise in student numbers is almost double earlier education ministry estimates, which will have an impact on university funding.

VSNU chairman Pieter Duisenberg says the strong growth in student numbers is to be welcomed, but is also worrying because of the rising pressure of work and the shortage of academic staff.

‘Signals about the pressure of work in the education sector, including universities, must be taken very seriously,’ he said. ‘The government has a responsibility to make sure that academic education in the Netherlands remains top quality, while meeting demand. That requires major investment.’

Student union ISO is also concerned. ‘Students are already listening to lectures sitting on the stairs,’ said chairman Tom van den Brink. ‘Students should not be the victims of mistaken estimates and cuts. Quality should always be paramount.’

Foreign students now account for 55,000 places, or almost one in five of the total. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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