Dutch University Key Facts and Unique Aspects

Dutch universities offer some excellent value for international students.

  • There are 14 research universities and 36 universities of applied sciences in the country. Between them, they now offer around 390 Bachelor’s degrees in English.
  • Bachelor of science or arts take 3 years, bachelor of applied sciences takes 4 years.
  • The Dutch have embraced a residential university experience with a liberal education approach called University Colleges:
Size Class


Residential? Cost (EAA/Non-EAA)
Amsterdam University College 300 20 3 years € 4,610/ € 12,610
Erasmus University College 

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218 15 1 year €4,800/ €13,500
University College Fryslân 200 25 1 year
Leiden University College

-The Hague

204 18 2 years €4 ,756/ € 14,647
University College Groningen 150 17 1 year € 4,380 / € 13,093
University College Maastricht 275 12 no € 3,655/ € 14,217
University College Roosevelt 200 20 3 years € 3,750 / € 9,450
University College Tilburg 200 25 Optional € 2,209 / € 9,000
University College Twente 50 16 1 year €4,418/ €13,084
University College Utrecht 

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250 20 2 years € 4,584 / €14,000


  • In government-sponsored programmes there were:
    • 43,500 students from EU countries and EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland);
    • 20,350 students from countries other than EU and EFTA.
  • School year starts in September, but several universities offer mid year entry in February
  • Many options for pursuing Liberal Arts. In the last 20 years, Ten universities set up comprehensive Liberal Arts colleges or individual tracks.
  • Most of the courses taught in English are open enrolment: If you are qualified, you will gain admission. Some especially popular programs such as medicine, psychology, international business administration, economics and physiotherapy, are Numerus Fixus and will result in a more competitive entry and evaluation.
  • New this year: All students will go through a matching process–non binding. See below for details.
  • International students can stay to work up to three years after graduation.
  • Download NACAC’s Guide to Applying to the Netherlands
  • Official The Netherlands Country Profile by Study in Europe.

Cool Country facts

Entry Qualifications

Application Process Step by step:

Step 1: Choose your Bachelor’s programme. Here is another searchable database.

  • Not sure what you want to study? Try this tool which allows you to enter you primary courses (it is designed for A-Levels, but you can put in your three Higher Levels for IB or Advanced Placement courses).

Step 2: Check the admission requirements + deadlines of the specific programme. Dutchopendays.com can help you find the best time to visit.

Go through matching for your program:

What is matching?

  • A study choice check for non-selective programs
    • An activity for students to find out, in-depth, the content of a program and the expectations they will need to meet to be successful
    • In 2019 this will apply to all programmes (Dutch law)
    • Is not part of the admissions procedure/does not affect admissions decision BUT may be mandatory
    • Each individual program what the process will include:
    • No fees involved
    • (Online) skills/interest test or questionnaire
    • Interview/meeting
    • Motivation letter
  • Other
    • Outcome not binding, only advisory:
    • offers candidates insight into their chances of successfully completing the program

Step 3: Apply according to the application guidelines

Step 4: Register with studielink based on the instructions given by the institution. Students are allowed to register for 4 programmes in Studielink

Of those 4 only 2 can be NF

Unless the NF is medicine

Here is a more indepth explanation of the process.


  • Spring of Junior year: Research universities and programs.
  • studielink and Individual university applications open in Early October.
  • General application deadline: May 1, but you are well served to apply sooner.
  • University Colleges & Selective programs: deadline between Jan 1 – May 1
  • Numerus Fixus programs typically have a deadline of January 15.
    • Ranking released April 15 through Studie link
    • They will know how many spaces and wehre they are
    • they have two weeks to respond.
    • Deposits may be required.
  • Non-selective programs: deadline May 1 for EU / July 1 for non-EU

Tuition fees:

  • Average Tuition fees (in US Dollars/year):
    • Citizens: $2420
    • International students: $17,498
  • Examples for international students
    • University of Maastricht arts/humanities:Euro 8000
    • University of Maastricht Business: Euro 8000
    • University of Delft  Engineering:Euro 14500
    • McGill Engineering: $42,392.10
    • McGill Business $48,747.90
    • McGill Social Sciences: $19,169.70

Research Links

  • Interesting article on student life in the Netherlands
  • Overview of Dutch universities
  • Information about Numerus Fixus (More selective programs, often requiring higher standards or extra admission components).
  • Compare programs at this government website, studiekeuze123. While the website is in Dutch, your Chrome browser will automatically translate it to English.
  • Check out these video playlists/webinars from the Dutch Research University Consortium:

DRU Nuggets

Learn about the 8 DRU Members in short, 90 second pitch videos we call DRU Nuggets! Get a quick overview of who we are and what we offer before you decide which longer presentation you may want to watch!  Take me to the playlist


DRU member presentations

Find out more about the DRU member institutions that interest you most by watching a more in-depth presentation about what to expect, programmes on offer and more.  Take me to the playlist


DRU Studying in the Netherlands video series

Learn the general story about studying in the Netherlands. This playlist will give you access to short videos about why you might consider the Netherlands as a destination, how you would go about applying and more about admissions, where you might study and what is on offer, practical matters and more.  Take me to the playlist

  • The two main rankings of Dutch Higher Education Institutions are Keuzegids and Elsevier. Neither is published in English. Keuzegids offers separate publications covering Research Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences and they are further subdivided into bachelor and master levels. It is possible to access Keuzegids rankings online but only in Dutch.

Numerus Fixus

What is Numerus Fixus?

  • A programme with a limited number of spaces–here is a listing (in Dutch) of current Numerus Fixus
  • Small number of English-taught programmes have this designation. How does it work?
  • The university determines the selection criteria
  • All eligible applicants will be ranked by university admissions office
  • Ranking is released on April 15
  • If selected, student has 2 weeks to accept the offer, no exceptions
  • Not selected? As others accept and decline offers, students will move up in rankingDeadlines & important points
  • Very strict application deadline: January 15 in Studielink
  • Restriction on number of NF programmes to which a student can apply•Highly standardized, no exceptions made
  • Popular programmes can be NF: Psychology, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Business (various), International Relations and Organisations


Podcast by David Hawkins, The University Guy

Webinar with David Hawkins:
Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and Belgium