Dutch education

Higher education in Holland is known for its high quality

This quality is guaranteed through a national system of regulation and quality assurance.

Accredited programmes

Degree programmes in Holland must be evaluated against a specific set of criteria, to assess content and level. Programmes that meet the criteria are accredited (i.e. officially recognised) by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).

Institutions may also offer programmes that have been accredited in another country. In these cases, the degree may be recognised in that country, but not necessarily in Holland.

In our Studyfinder database a special icon indicates if the course is accredited. With more than 2,100 courses, Holland has the largest offer of English-taught programmes in continental Europe.

High rankings, low cost

11 Dutch research universities rank among the top 200 universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education World university rankings 2020.

See how the Dutch institutions score in the other main rankings:

QS World University Rankings 2020

Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019

Dutch higher education also has reasonable tuition fees.

Read more about costs and value for money

Students from all over the world

In 2017-2018 Holland hosted 122,000 international students. These are students from all over the world, with the largest percentages coming from Germany and China.

Infographic - international students

The most popular fields of study for international students are:

  1. Economics & Business
  2. Human & Social Sciences
  3. Engineering

Two types of higher eduation

In Holland you can choose between two types of higher education:

There is a 3rd, smaller type of education designed especially for international students. This is offered by institutes for international education.             


Both research universities and universities of applied sciences can award a bachelor's or a master's degree.

You first obtain a bachelor’s degree and you can then continue to study for a master’s degree. After completing a master’s programme you can start a PhD degree or PDeng degree programme.

Read more about degrees


Many students do an internship as part of their study programme. As a foreign student, you may also be interested in doing an internship in the Netherlands.

More information

Higher education system in the Netherlands (factsheet)

The Dutch education system (52 kB)

Education system the Netherlands (extensive description) 

last modified Sep 19, 2019 04:59 PM