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Study in the Netherlands


Do you wish to study in the Netherlands? Find, in this article, an overview of the Dutch higher education system and university enrollment procedures.

Every year, the Dutch higher education system attracts thousands of foreign students from across the globe. In fact, the country hosts numerous national and international universities, colleges, as well as other higher studies institutes which offer high level courses. Among these, nine State universities, a municipal university and three private and confessional universities, as well as 41 professional high schools which are known as “hogescholen”. These can be public or private and are open to students wishing to enroll in professional specialized courses.

The country also hosts the Netherlands Open University which is recognized by the State. This university is open to working people and to those who cannot enroll for full time courses. They can hence enroll for online or distance learning courses.

Funding and scholarships

In general, university registration fees amount to some 1,500 euros. To register with a “hogescholen”, you will need some 2,500 euros. All European are eligible to a State scholarship in accordance with the European Union's regulations regarding citizens’ rights. However, the scholarship applies only to regular students.

Admission Requirements

Admission to Dutch universities is based on the International European Baccalaureate system. In fact, most universities will request for a Baccalaureate series qualification in a particular field. Enrollment formalities are centralized and can be filled in online on the Studielink website which is a higher education information portal. This platform also handles registration renewal, double curriculum registration, as well as scholarship requests.

In case of preparatory or upgrading classes, you are required to contact the university administration department personally. As regards artistic courses, special skills are required and last seats are allocated following a lucky draw.


A certain level of mastery of the language of instruction will be required for the requested study program. Thus, English programs will require a minimum score at TOEFL or at IELTS which is an international English examination. Furthermore, you will need a B2 level to be allowed to register for Dutch courses. You are advised to inquire with your selected university beforehand.


You are required to prepare an application file to register for further studies in the Netherlands. Documents to be produced are the following:

  • a Bachelor - a degree or equivalent in the context of a Master
  • TOEFL or IELTS (minimum scores can vary according to the university)
  • a downloadable passport size identity photo (in appendix to the printed version)
  • a resume or summary of your previous experiences*
  • a cover letter in English*
  • letters of recommendation from your former teachers and employers*.

*These documents may be requested by some universities.

The application file should be submitted to the Central Bureau Aanmelding en Plaatsing. You will then be called to take an entry examination. Note that incomplete application files will be rejected.

 Useful links:

Department of Education
Study in Holland - Study in Holland
Study Finder - Find a course of study
Association of Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands
4 International Colleges and Universities – List of universities and colleges in the Netherlands

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