Another new record

In the academic year 2015-2016, a record number of 258,054 students are studying at the various universities in the Netherlands, an increase of 1.8% compared to last year. 

These figures were published (Dutch link) on 8 February by the VSNU (the Association of Universities in the Netherlands), which represents the fourteen Dutch research universities.

More and more foreign students choosing Amsterdam

Among these 258,000 students are 36,711 students from abroad. According to Dutch newspaper FD (Dutch link), the number of foreign students at Dutch universities was only 8.1% in 2008-2009, but has since grown to 14.2%. The number of international students in bachelor and master programs increased by 19.5%, to reach 15,160. The most popular disciplines among these foreign students are economics (24%) and agriculture (20%).

The greatest number of foreign students at Dutch universities comes from Germany, followed by China, Italy, Greece, and the UK. According to VNSU chairman Karl Dittrich, “The growth in the number of international students is encouraging, as it shows the attractiveness and quality of our university education. This also brings us closer to the ideal of a genuinely international classroom.”

Many of these foreign students are studying in Amsterdam. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Utrecht University and the two largest universities in the country, together accounting for about 25% of all the university students in the Netherlands. Each of these schools hosts more than 30,000 students. 

English-language education a key benefit

Especially popular among foreign students are the relatively new University Colleges. There are now nine of these in the Netherlands, and their language of instruction is entirely in English. About 35% of the students at these colleges come from abroad.