Families and schools
The region currently offers a high standard of international education – schools include the International School of Amsterdam, the International School Almere, the British School of Amsterdam, the European School in Bergen and the Amsterdam International Community School. However, these institutions have typically suffered from long waiting lists, preventing immediate access for potential students. In addition, many internationals choosing Amsterdam don’t actually want to send their children to an international school. Instead, they would prefer their children participate in local society by attending a Dutch school – provided it offers an appropriate international-friendly curriculum or transitional course (e.g. the ‘newcomers’ classes’). Unfortunately there is limited in-depth English-language information available about the Dutch education system and about Amsterdam’s offering of schools.
Together, the municipalities within the Amsterdam Area establish in-depth insights into the current and future demands of internationals as part of the ‘Delta Plan for International Education’. On the basis of these insights, Amsterdam intends to expand capacities of the existing schools in the regions (public and private), launch new initiatives by additional parties and adapt the regular school system to better meet the needs of international children, students and their parents.
By the end of 2017, there should be viable prospects for expanding at least two of the existing international schools in the Amsterdam Area. In addition, there should be at least one new international school in the Amsterdam Area. Over the course of 2016, we held talks with potential partners for this task. English-language information about the education system – issues such as types of schools, application procedures, school and district waiting lists and accessibility – will be made available. Also, from 2016 onwards, we will work to increase awareness among the international community of the transition classes that are offered at regular schools in Amsterdam.
With the help of these measures, we want to increase accessibility to international schools and offer better access to existing Dutch schools, achieving an overall reduction of waiting lists by 75%. Improving and increasing the amount of available information in English will also help to increase confidence among international parents that their children can receive a top-quality education no matter at which type of school they are enrolled. Visibly tackling these issues will undoubtedly increase Amsterdam’s attraction to international employees that have (or plan to have) families.
International students, graduates and researchers
Amsterdam already offers higher education programmes of very high standards. Amsterdam's two major universities, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), are amongst the top 200 universities worldwide in the QS World University Rankings. Both universities, as well as Amsterdam's other education institutions, are frontrunners in a number of disciplines and research fields, including big data, nanotechnology, cardiology and oncology. However, the wider public is not necessarily aware of these significant assets. Amsterdam attracts fewer international students than other major European cities – and even some other Dutch towns. The first challenge, therefore, is to position the Amsterdam Area as an attractive international student and research destination.
The second challenge relates to the needs of the labour market. As mentioned earlier, the presence of talent is one of the primary factors companies look at when considering potential business locations. Amsterdam annually attracts more than 120 new international companies. In the past few years, we’ve also seen a swift increase in startups and scale-ups active in the Amsterdam Area. For all these businesses, talent is the most sought-after resource. However, we have been receiving strong signals that there is a shortage of available talent and that companies are failing to connect with existing international students.
By improving our communication about what our higher education institutions have to offer, we want to position Amsterdam as an ideal study destination. We will also investigate if there are new national and international higher educational institutions programmes catering to direct opportunities in the labour market and diversify our higher education landscape.
Together with the established institutes in Amsterdam, we want to build a strong communication and marketing strategy as well as an agenda for internationalisation in a broader context. Through this agenda we want to support the contacts between universities and businesses in the area. Based on data and the requirements of the labour market, we want to examine the potential for establishing ties with international institutes, too. Throughout 2016 we laid the groundwork for this.
Amsterdam becomes not only a place where to pick up a degree but one where to grow and build a new life and career. In turn, more young international talent chooses Amsterdam, expanding the Amsterdam Area’s labour pool and proudly spreading the word that the region offers a great environment in which to study, work, live and grow.
Download the brochure
Download our summary of the Delta Plan International Education (PDF).