Dutch higher education

High quality in an international setting.

Higher education in Holland is known for its high quality and its international study environment. With more than 2,100 international study programmes and courses, it has the largest offer of English-taught programmes in continental Europe.

Dutch higher education also has reasonable tuition fees.

Read more about costs and value for money

Binary system

Dutch higher education has a binary system, which means that you can choose between two types of education:

A third, smaller branch of higher education is provided by institutes for international education, which offer programmes designed especially for international students.

                       Infographic - university rankings

Three cycles

In 2002 Holland introduced the bachelor’s-master’s degree structure, but the distinction between the two types of education still exists. 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 (first cycle), you can then continue to study for a master’s degree (second cycle). After completion of a master’s programme you can start a PhD degree or PDeng degree programme (third cycle).


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

Download the factsheet 'Education system in the Netherlands' (67 kB)

Download the diagram 'The Dutch education system' (85 kB)

Download EP-Nuffic's country module on the Netherlands

last modified Jun 24, 2016 01:40 PM
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