Study in Netherlands

To see the scenic beauty of this country while obtaining quality education is probably the biggest plus for studying in the Netherlands. Beyond everything, Netherlands is known as one of the best countries in the world in terms of education. It has more than 2,100 international study programs and courses, being taught and most of them are in English, which makes it an ideal choice for international students. Some of the most popular cities here include Amsterdam, Velp, Haarlem, Dronten, Assen, etc. The country offers you a rich blend of both beautiful landscapes and a multicultural community for learning and studying. The cost of living and studying here is at par with most other European countries but could be reduced based on the kind of university or program you choose.

Education System in Netherlands

Netherlands has a binary system of education. It means that you can choose between two types of education:
  • Research-oriented education, offered by research universities;
  • Higher professional education, offered by universities of applied sciences.
For admission into one of the higher education programs, one needs to contact the institution and find out the exact admission requirements for the particular study program. For most undergraduate courses, you need a secondary-school diploma at the appropriate level. Each institution has a different set of criteria. However, there are always too many applicants and the quota tends to get filled up really fast. For admission to a master’s degree program, one has to get the bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

Language Requirements

  • It is mandatory for international students to speak, read and write English well. Most to the universities make it mandatory to take the English language test. IELTS and TOEFL are commonly accepted, but some may also check for Cambridge English.
  • See details about language proficiency tests

Preparatory Year

In some cases, the university may make it mandatory for you to do some extra preparation before taking the graduate or master course. This is also known as the preparatory year. The university may provide you with a conditional letter of acceptance. As per the immigration laws, you are eligible to come to the Netherlands for a maximum of one year prior to your studies to follow preparatory courses and pass the examinations set by the institution. On completing the same, you can then get conditional letter of acceptance that is converted into a definite letter of acceptance.

Three cycles

In 2002 Netherlands introduced the bachelor’s-master’s degree structure. However, there is still a distinction between the two types of education. It is available at both research universities and universities of applied sciences. One can get a bachelor’s degree (first cycle), then you may proceed to a master’s degree (second cycle). After completing the master’s program you can start a Ph.D degree or PDEng degree program (third cycle).


The system of getting scholarships and subsidized education here is relatively easy. Higher education is subsidized and tuition fees is relatively low. For EU students the annual tuition fees start at approximately €1,950. Those who come from the non-EU countries, the average tuition fee for bachelor’s programs can range between €6,000 and €15,000; For a master’s program tuition fees can be between €8,000 and €20,000.

Scholarships are available through different universities and even some private companies in case of engineering and other vocational courses. Here is a list of the general scholarship options.
  • Academic Research Scholarship
  • Amsterdam Merit Scholarships
  • Canon Foundation Research Fellowship
  • CEU Praesidium Libertatis Scholarship
  • Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program
  • Leiden University Excellence Scholarship program
  • Maarten van Hengel Loan Program
  • Maastricht University City of Horst Scholarship
  • Scholarship Atlantis
  • Scholarship Becas Magdalena O. Vda. De Brockman
  • Scholarship Grant CONACyT – FONCA
  • TU Delft Excellence Scholarship – Industrial Design Engineering
  • TU Delft Excellence Scholarships – DRI Infrastructures & Mobility
  • University of Twente Scholarship
  • Webster University “Gateway” Scholarship

Visa and Permits

To come Netherlands for study purposes, you might need a visa and/or a residence permit. Whether you need a visa or not, depends on:
  • Your nationality – as stated on your passport.
  • The duration of your stay: shorter or longer than three months.
  • Your purpose of stay: we assume that you will come to Holland to study or to do a preparatory year.
All the students who are enrolling for a student course or program should be in touch with their institution to start up the application procedure. You can also call up you relevant department dealing with international student mobility. Remember that the IND will generally process your application within two weeks. It is best to start the process at least 3 months prior to entering the country. The sooner you get your documents sorted, the better it is for you.

Types of Visa

For EU students

Students from EU countries who wish to study in Netherlands, there is no need for a student visa or residence permit. However, one has to register with any local governing body i.e. a council (‘gemeente’) if you are planning to stay in the Netherlands for at least four months. On doing so you get a personal public service number (BSN), which you should un-register when you leave.

Depending on your nationality, you would require visa to travel into the country. For stays of up to 90 days, this visa is called a ‘short stay visa’ or ‘Schengen visa’. For stays longer than 90 days, this is called an entry visa (MVV) and is always followed by a residence permit (VVR).

As the name suggests, the Schengen visa will usually allow you to travel throughout all countries in the Schengen area. But it can also be limited to a single country (for example Holland only) or a few countries (for example Holland, Belgium and France). However, the problem with this visa is that it is temporary and not meant for students who wish to pursue long-term courses. If you have this visa, and entered the Schengen area for 90 days you may not return until another 90 days have passed.

Provisional Residence Permit (MVV)
This visa allows you to enter Holland and study as per your country of nationality. Most students will need an entry visa called a Provisional Residence Permit, or ‘Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblifj’ (MVV) in Dutch. This MVV allows you to stay and study in Holland for 6 months. During this period you will need to file for a Residence Permit. The MVV is proof of your eligibility as a Dutch resident: when you enter the Netherlands under this permit. Take at least 3 months in hand to apply for this visa. Different institutes have their own application fees for filing for this visa for you. For example, Leiden University charges students €304 (US$423) to apply for a student visa and/or residence permit.

Residence Permit
Once you get through a Dutch university and get your MVV your host institution is bound to apply for a Residence Permit on your behalf. This usually happens within five days of your arrival in the Netherlands. Within 2 weeks you can collect your permit from a national immigration body office (IND). With this visa you can travel to any Schengen country for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day period. You are also eligible to stay in the country till you complete your education along an additional of three additional months for other proceedings.

Popular Courses to Study in Netherlands


The major engineering universities offer technological designer programs consisting of advanced study and a personal design assignment in a number of engineering fields. The technical designer program has 2 years to complete and graduates obtain the degree Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng).

For access to research-oriented bachelor’s programs, students are required to have a vwo diploma or to have completed the first year (60 credits) of a bachelor’s program at a university of applied sciences. In the latter category of students, additional selection criteria may apply. The minimum access requirement to universities of applied sciences is either a havo diploma or a diploma of secondary vocational education (mbo), provided certain conditions are met.
  • HZ University of Applied Sciences
  • The Hauge University of Applied Sciences
  • Avans University of Applied Sciences
  • Brads University of applied Sciences
  • Wageningen University

Agriculture and Environment

You can study courses in environmental sciences, Biosystems Engineering, marine life, animal sciences, rural development and many other similar options. There are also Masters degree in Agricultural Science provides you with the capacity to understand underlying and complex factors, which help in defining agricultural systems. Through this you can also get a solid obtain a sound foundation in the scientific principles and analytical skills. With lot of revenues coming from the agricultural sector and plenty of farming and agriculture opportunities here, one can easily venture out into a course that offers the best of both worlds.
  • Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences


There are management courses available in Holland at both graduate and post graduate levels. These include Bachelor of International Business and Management Studies (BBA) program, internationalization and globalization, along with similar courses in Masters too. The course offers you working in an international environment and being co-responsible for achieving high business results of an enterprise. With a worldwide reputation for combining management with a series of vocational courses, this sure is a great place to study management.
  • International Sustainability Management (VHL University of Applied Sciences)
  • Innovation and Leadership (NHL Hogeschool)
  • Business-to-Business Management (NHL Hogeschool)
  • Retail and Small Business Management (Stenden University of Applied Sciences)


Sports is encouraged in Holland and it is also taught at university level. Basically the course includes everything from practical knowledge to theory classes. Doing these courses one can learn about physical fitness, coaching, therapy and a blend of other subjects too that are focussed on sport sciences. With cricket, football and other sports taking a league of its own, you will find that there are a plethora of options to take up here.
  • VU University Amsterdam
  • Radboud University
  • Hogeschool Van Amsterdam
  • Maastricht University
  • University of Gronigen

Computer Science

Computer science is in great demand here and elsewhere. On an average, professionals working here earn about 23,144 euros a year. Computer science and its application courses include both graduate and masters degrees, along with an opportunity to get internship in some of the finest companies in Holland. Being a multicultural country there are many upcoming institutes offering a blend of practical and theoretical courses here. The emphasis of the course includes systematically studying methodical processes (such as algorithms) in order to aid the acquisition, representation, processing, storage, communication of, and access to information. Students have to focus extensively on analyzing the feasibility, structure, expression and mechanization of computer science processes. They gain proficiency in languages like Python and C , Haskell, Java and Pascal.
  • Stenden University
  • Holland University of Applied Sciences
  • Radboud University
  • ISBH
  • Saxion University of Applied Sciences
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