Study in Netherlands- The Netherlands, the land of tulips, has much more to offer than windmills and wooden logs which have made it famous. As the first non-English speaking European country to offer study programs in English, the Netherlands is known for its openness towards the international community. Its strategic location, excellent higher education and international learning environment, make it an idyllic destination for students seeking a true multicultural academic experience.
Higher education in Holland
Higher education in Holland has a worldwide reputation for its rich quality. Dutch universities have been consistently earning top spots in international rankings, largely due to research, innovations and funding opportunities for scholars. The top-notch universities in the Netherlands provide outstanding value to students at a very low cost. One can earn a quality degree which costs much less when compared to other European countries. Dutch Higher Educational Institutions offer more than 2,000 English study programes. In recent years, the country has been home to more than 100,000 students from all over the world. The most popular degree programs for international students are in engineering, management, economics, social sciences and languages.
Types of universities
There are two main types of universities in Holland - Research Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences. While research universities are mainly responsible for offering research oriented programs, universities of applied sciences offer programs focussing on practical applications of arts and sciences. The Netherlands has 13 research universities, 39 universities of applied sciences and 14 other institutions. Three research universities specialize in technology and one research university, Wagenigen, specializes in agriculture. The QS World University Rankings 2014-15 has included 13 universities in The Netherlands, all ranked within the world’s top 400 and an impressive six in the global top 100. The nation's highest ranking institution is the University of Amsterdam followed by Leiden, Utretcht, TU-Delft, Groningen and Erasmus University Rotterdam which were placed in the top 100 universities in the world.
Top study destination for international students
Home to top MNCs like Shell, ING Vysa and headquarter of the International Court of Justice, Holland has been one of the top study destinations for international students. Every year, hundreds of international students get enrolled in various Dutch universities for post-graduate and doctorate studies.
Scholarships, offered both through Dutch government and higher educational institutions, are a motivating factor for international aspirants to apply for universities in Holland. One of the scholarship recipients, Supriya Krishnan, says: "The JvE scholarship has been an exceptional avenue which helps students channelize all their energies to focus uninhibitedly and gainfully in their areas of study." Supriya Krishnan has been awarded with TU-Delft’s Justus en Louise van Effen fonds Foundation Scholarship. The scholarship is annually awarded to two outstanding international students and covers full tuition fees and living costs in Holland. The Holland Scholarship, which was introduced in 2014, is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science as well as 49 Dutch research universities and universities of applied sciences.
Curriculum and teaching methods
The Dutch are known for their astonishing inventions and revolutionary innovative ideas. Their ideas of innovation and reasoning have been very well documented in the curriculum and have been part of the teaching methods of universities. The Dutch teaching method is based on respecting every individual’s opinion and convictions. In a lecture, apart from course readings, students are expected to work in teams, analyse issues and participate in workshops and discussions. Mr. Ravi Teja, a final PhD student from Maastricht University, says: "As a student in Holland, I had the privilege to attend a seminar delivered by Dr. Jimmy Wales (Founder of Wikipedia) about Entrepreneurship and also a workshop by a social entrepreneur Illac Diaz (Founder of Liter of Light)."
Every year, universities accept applications during two annual intakes- February and September. The duration for Bachelor courses is 3-4 years, while it is two and four years for Masters and doctoral courses respectively. Mode of application in all the universities is online. The admission depends on the academic background and proficiency of the applicants. Each applicant is required to submit a statement of motivation and reference letters from previous professors/employers, besides other major details. Applicants from non-English speaking countries are required to produce English language efficiency test scores, which is a mandatory requirement for the admission process. Once applicants are selected, they are guided about necessary visa procedures, payments, housing and scholarship details by the respective offices of their universities.
The Dutch education system looks beyond offering good quality study programs. It is a common belief in the Netherlands that offering a good study climate alone is not enough, and that students need to be given the tools to start a great career after receiving their diplomas. It is, therefore, no surprise that large international recruitment agencies look for graduates from Dutch institutions. Upon completion of studies, students are usually given a one-year visa extension to explore employment opportunities. Today Dutch alumni can be easily spotted in corporate houses, energy giants, civic society organizations and even in the United Nations leading a very successful career.
Top colleges and select courses
Approx Fee (Euro)
Delft University of Technology
Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering
8,250 (per year)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Masters in Management of Innovation
Masters in International Development Studies
Wageningen University and Research Center
Masters in Plant Biotechnology
University of Amsterdam
Masters in Cultural and Social Anthropology
University of Groningen
Masters in Industrial Engineering and Management
Masters in Globalization and Law
Eindhoven University of Technology
Masters in Mechanical Engineering
Masters in Biomedical Sciences
Radboud University Nijmegen
Masters in Mathematical Physics
The author is Policy Advisor, Public Advocacy and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of the Netherlands in India, New Delhi