Sunday 04 December 2022

More foreign students attend a Dutch university, but the growth is slowing

A meeting for international students in Leiden. Photo: Brandon Hartley

Some 85,500 international students are currently studying at one of the Netherlands’ 14 universities and 72% of them come from Europe, according to new figures from the Dutch universities association.

The total is an increase of 7.2% on the previous academic year, but well down on growth in previous years, which has ranged from 12% to 15%, the UvN said.

This year a number of universities had called on international students not to come because of the shortage of housing.

The Dutch universities association has campaigned since 2018 for new rules to allow them to manage the flow of international students and the impact on course quality.

‘International talent is essential’ for both research and industry but the increase in the number of foreign students is currently too great to maintain the high quality of courses and is putting too much pressure on staff, chairman Pieter Duisenberg said earlier this year.


The UvN told Dutch News on Thursday that universities are willing to impose caps on several courses which are popular with foreign students, in an effort to limit numbers.

In particular, seven universities are planning to limit the number of non-EU students taking a total of 24 courses, ranging from a bachelor’s degree in aviation and aerospace technology at Delft to a master’s course in artificial intelligence in Amsterdam.

This will be done either by imposing limits on the number of students who can sign up, or limits on the number of non-Dutch courses in subjects such as psychology, management and politics, the UvN said.

This academic year, 340,000 students were taking a bachelor or master’s university degree course in the Netherlands.

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