25 Things You Did Not Know About Studying In The Netherlands

25 Things You Did Not Know About Studying In The Netherlands

Netherlands is one of the most sought-after study destinations for international students. If you are wondering why this is so then this article will be of good use to you. Universities in Netherland have been described as the next best alternative for international students after UK. So you need to know why people opt for Netherlands and what makes this place a worthwhile destination for you to look for scholarship opportunities. This country is also very popular for having flat landscape of canals, tulip fields, windmills, and cycling routes that will make your stay very exciting. The country also boasts of some of the oldest universities in the world. It is among the very first countries in Europe to introduce English-taught courses. It also has some of the highly ranked, prestigious medical schools, engineering schools, law schools, and business schools across the world.

Here are 25 things you may not know about studying in the Netherlands which definitely make this country a great destination for international students.

1. Their Universities are among the highly ranked in the world rankings

The Netherlands has good quality universities and colleges. Report by the Times Higher Education list of best universities globally for 2021 shows that there are Ten Dutch Universities and colleges in the global best 100. The highest-ranked university in Netherlands is the Wageningen University and Research which is placed as 59th best university in the world. This shows that you can get top quality education from Netherlands especially at university level.

2. Many universities have lots of English taught courses

This is where you can get one of the largest ranges of English language programs in non-English speaking European countries. In Netherlands, almost every university offers an English version of programs taught in Dutch. Lecturers who teach these courses are usually bilingual and can interact with English-speaking students easily. This means you can easily feel at home with lecturers and students when you study in Netherlands.

3. Netherlands has three types of Universities

Universities in Netherlands are divided into 3 main groups: Research universities, Universities of Applied Sciences, Institutes for International Education, and other institutes. This classification of Dutch universities is premised on the type and level of programmes of study they offer. These programmes also offer education options available in English language and this helps to accommodate more international students.

4. Tuition fees are a bit expensive

This might not sound good to you but you need to know the real facts about Dutch universities. Though tuition fees in the Netherlands are relatively not as expensive as you can find in some other places in Europe, they cannot be said to be cheap anyway. International students coming from Europe are expected to pay around $1984 to $4409 on tuition per academic year while international students coming from other parts of the world are expected to prepare a budget of around $6613 to $22,000. This is why it is essential to look for scholarship opportunities in Netherlands as a way of getting funding to study in Dutch universities.

5. Scholarships are available to assist with tuition fees

You can find scholarship opportunities to study in Holland. There are so many scholarships that can cover tuition fee and much more either provided by government or by the university where you applied to study. Just search the internet for lots of such scholarship opportunities existing in Holland for undergraduate and post-graduate studies.

6. Netherlands has restrictions on work-study options

For international students from non-EU countries, they are permitted to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week during academic periods. Non-EU students are allowed to work full time in the months of June, July and August. For students from EU countries, they are permitted to work full time all year.

7. Health insurance is not mandatory

The Netherlands is among the few countries in the world where health insurance is not mandatory for international students. This applies as long as you do not work. The moment you get a job, it does not matter whether it is part-time or full-time, you are expected to register for health insurance.

8. English language is widely spoken in the Netherlands

If you are from an English speaking country you will feel at home in the Netherlands because English is widely spoken there. Nearly 80% of residents of Netherlands speak fluent English. You will find it easy to communicate with the locals though it won’t be a bad idea to learn how to speak the Dutch language because it will be an added advantage for you.

9. Universities have unique learning approach

Dutch Universities have a unique way of teaching. Their teaching technique is interactive and the students are taught to work together in groups not just to think of themselves. Many of the tutorials and seminars are done in small groups of around 15-30 students to encourage team play. The essence of having most of the coursework in groups is to develop students’ ability to work together as part of a team, including developing your academic learning.

10. The people are very warm and welcoming

There is diversity in Netherlands because of their warm and welcoming nature. There is high tolerance among locals and this is a basic part of the building block in Dutch society. For instance, Amsterdam which is the capital of that country is a city filled with tourists, international students, and people from diverse backgrounds.

11. Amsterdam is one of the best student cities in the world

One of the most popular student cities in Netherlands is Amsterdam. There are over 100,000 students from different parts of the world in this city. It is a multicultural city. Amsterdam is known for the many pleasant student associations and you will surely find one to join. There are many trendy, fun, and affordable restaurants in Amsterdam that students enjoy in this city and it also has the coziest food & lifestyle spots.

12. There is relatively low cost of living is Netherlands

You can live comfortably in this country with a budget of about $880 to $ 1100 a month and this can take care of your accommodation, food, and utilities. It could even be cheaper in some cities in this country.

13. There is a multi-cultural environment

Netherlands has many international students. As at 2018 for instance, there were over 157 countries studying in the Netherlands. If you study in this country you will be exposed to different cultures and different people. Your stay will definitely be filled with fun.

14. You can have fun riding bikes

The Dutch love bikes and there are lanes dedicated to bikes alone around the country. This is just one of the many side attractions that will make you enjoy Netherlands as an international student.

15. Active and Healthy Lifestyle.

People have healthy lifestyle in Netherlands and you will adapt to this lifestyle too as an international student. The Dutch are ranked among some of the healthiest people in the world largely due to the healthy activities they do such as cycling around their cities, sports, and other physical activities. As an international student in the Netherlands, you are likely going to participate in such activities with other students in groups or teams.

16. Nice and delicious variety of Dutch foods everywhere

One thing many international students often miss is their local delicacies back home but as an international student in Netherlands this might be far from your worries. The Dutch have variety of delicacies that will thrill any international student. Among some of Dutch’s favorite snacks are stroopwafels, pancakes, apple tarts, and licorice make up some of the. You will have a great experience with foods in the Netherlands. You can try poffertjes, tiny powdered pancakes, or oliebollen, the Dutch version of the doughnut. There are several other food options to keep you busy out there.

17. So many places to explore

International students studying in Netherlands can find some of the most beautiful, unique cities in the world. You can just take a walk along the canals of Amsterdam, or take visit to the ports in Rotterdam. You can just gaze at the beautiful architecture of The Hague. You will love your stay in Netherlands due to these side attractions.

18. Explore Europe with your student visa

Because the Netherlands part of the Schengen agreement it allows freedom of movement for forbearers of passports of member states. So as an international student you can use your student visa to explore up to 26 countries in Europe. This is so much fun.

19. Get two master’s degrees for the price of one

State regulation in Netherlands says that if you are studying in any public university and you pay the statutory tuition fees for your first enrolment (in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree) and decide that you would like to study a second degree at the same time, you will be exempted from paying any tuition for your second programme. What an opportunity to have a second degree in a prestigious country.

20. Over 85,000 students were in the Netherlands in 2018

There were over 85,995 international students in the Netherlands in 2018. German nationals make up the largest population of international students in the Netherlands, as they have an estimated 22,584 students there. Next in line you have the Chinese and Italian students that come a distant second and third respectively. The Netherlands is really a popular destination for international students.

21. TOEFL is needed for courses taught in English language

One of the exams you have to take to study in Netherlands is TOEFL. A basic requirement for eligibility to study in the Netherlands is that you speak, read and write English very well. So you must pass an English language test. IELTS and TOEFL are two of such exams that are commonly accepted but some institutions could accept other tests such as Cambridge English. Proficiency in English language is very necessary.

22. Most international students live on campus

One thing that is common among international students when it comes to housing is that most of them tend to live on campus. You need to register on time to get accommodation on campus because the space is limited. Otherwise you go for shared apartment which many other people, just as most Dutch students do. Shared apartment is not a bad idea at all. Such apartments are also very affordable.

23. Weekdays are for parties, weekends for studying

This is very great for your social life as an international student though it sounds a bit strange to hear that parties hold on week days while studies take place on weekends. This is part of the traditional lifestyle in Holland. The parties and other student activities tend to hold during weekdays while weekends are devoted to studying and visiting family. Adapting to this lifestyle won’t be a problem for you at all.

24. Opportunity to live and work in the Netherlands when you graduate

This is one opportunity international students on scholarship or paying for their studies like to have where they study. The Netherlands offers visas for international students who would like to stay and work after their studies. With the Orientation Year for Graduates Seeking Employment any international student can spend up to one year searching for work in Holland. You are also free to stay in Holland for as long as you have that job. What a nice reason to go and study in Holland.

25. The weather is friendly

One of the challenges some international students have is that the weather is often different from what obtains in their home country. This will be far from your worries if you study in Netherlands because the weather is mild and friendly. In this country there is little sunshine for most parts of the year and it has plenty of wet and windy weather. You will surely feel okay when it comes to weather condition in Holland.


You have enough reasons to opt for the Netherlands as a destination for your studies as an international student. You have now seen the 25 facts about Holland you may not have been aware of. If you were considering studying in Holland but you were looking for a way of convincing yourself to work towards achieving this dream, this article is enough to make you chase this dream and actualize it because it is really worth the experience.


About Chinenye

Chinenye is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in different universities.

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