International students in the Netherlands

The report ‘Incoming degree student mobility in Dutch higher education 2018-2019’ was published in March 2019 by NUFFIC. It shows that 11.5% of students enrolled at Dutch universities this year come from abroad. In the previous year the share was just 10.5%. In total, there were 85,955 international students enrolled in the Netherlands during the 2018-2019 study year.

New students choosing the Netherlands

In particular, the number of new international students enrolling at Dutch institutions is on the increase. When looking solely at new student intake, the percentage of international students is 20.4% this year (up from 17.8% in 2017-2018). It’s also noteworthy that the number of students coming from outside the European Economic Area is increasing – as universities do not receive additional government funding for these students, they pay more tuition fees to study here. The top three non-Dutch nationalities studying in the Netherlands are German (22,584 students), Chinese (4,547) and Italian (4,814).

What are international students studying?

While the majority of international students are enrolled in master’s programmes in the Netherlands, there has also been a surge in the number taking part in bachelor’s programmes – 2018-2019 actually marks the first time more international students are enrolled in bachelor’s at research universities than at universities of applied science. At research universities, social sciences programmes attract the most international students. Business and Economics programmes at universities of applied sciences have shown to be the most international.

Read the full report: ‘Incoming degree student mobility in Dutch higher education 2018-2019’. Later in the year, NUFFIC will publish an analysis of international students in the Netherlands for shorter periods, such as exchange programmes.