Studying abroad can be an enriching and life-changing experience. More and more students are choosing to pursue their degrees overseas, gaining international perspectives and improving their career prospects. The Netherlands, also known as Holland, has become an increasingly popular study destination in Europe. With its combination of top-ranked universities, English-taught programs, and reasonable costs, Holland offers foreign students a high-quality education and vibrant student life.
Why Study in Holland?
There are many advantages to studying in Holland as an international student:
The Netherlands is home to some of the top universities in Europe and the world. Institutions like the University of Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology, and Erasmus University Rotterdam consistently rank among the global top 100. Studying at one of these leading schools will provide you with a prestigious degree that is recognized worldwide by employers and graduate programs.
Because English is so widely spoken in the Netherlands, many degree programs at Dutch universities are offered entirely in English. This makes Holland an accessible choice for students who want an international experience but don’t speak the local language. Programs taught in English are available at all levels – bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD.
Reasonable Tuition Fees
Compared to many other countries in Europe, the cost of tuition in Holland is relatively affordable. EU students can expect to pay between €2,000-4,000 per year, while non-EU students’ fees are generally under €15,000 annually. Scholarships and financial aid are also available to qualifying international students.
High Quality of Life
Holland consistently ranks among the top countries in the world for quality of life. Dutch cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague offer historic architecture, vibrant culture, and a multicultural environment. The Netherlands also boasts excellent infrastructure for transportation, healthcare, and recreation.
Gateway to Europe
With its central location in Western Europe, studying in Holland puts you right in the heart of the action. It’s easy to travel and explore other amazing European destinations on your weekends or holidays. After graduating, you’ll also have access to work opportunities across the EU and Europe.
Universities in Holland
There are about 50 research universities and universities of applied sciences located throughout Holland. Here are some of the top options:
University of Amsterdam
As the Netherlands’ largest university, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) enrolls over 32,000 students from 140 countries. UvA is especially well-known for its Faculties of Science, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Delft University of Technology
Located between Rotterdam and The Hague, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) focuses on science and engineering. It is the highest ranked Dutch university globally. TU Delft has eight faculties and over 20,000 students.
Erasmus University Rotterdam
This large public university has a student body of over 29,000. Erasmus is highly regarded for its research in the fields of economics, business, and medicine, among others. The campus is based in the vibrant port city of Rotterdam.
Wageningen University & Research
Specializing in natural sciences, Wageningen University & Research is acclaimed for its agriculture and environmental programs. Its interdisciplinary approach combines technology and social sciences.
University of Groningen
One of the larger research universities in the Netherlands, the University of Groningen was established in 1614. It offers degree programs in fields such as arts, sciences, law, engineering, and medicine.
Founded in 1976, Maastricht University is one of the younger universities in Holland. It has a strong international outlook, with over half of its student population coming from abroad. Maastricht is known for its problem-based learning approach.
Applying to universities in Holland involves preparing documents like transcripts and test scores, as well as meeting language and academic requirements. Here is an overview of the typical application steps:
Choose Your Degree Program
- Research degree programs offered at Dutch universities in your desired field of study. Many programs are taught fully in English.
- Consider if you want to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s. Some one-year master’s programs are open to international students.
- Make sure you meet the admission criteria for your chosen program, including prior education and entrance exams.
Prepare Required Documents
- Official high school and/or university transcripts with grades. These usually need to be certified copies.
- Proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, etc). The required scores depend on the university.
- CV listing extracurricular activities and relevant experience.
- Motivation letter explaining why you want to study this program in Holland.
- Copy of your passport ID page.
- Reference letters from teachers or employers (sometimes optional).
Apply Online or By Post
- Find the application portal on your university’s website. The deadlines are usually in January-March for September enrollment.
- Submit all required application documents electronically or by post. Pay the processing fee.
- You’ll receive confirmation when your application file is complete. The university will inform you of their decision.
Accept Offer & Get Student Visa
- If admitted, confirm acceptance of your study place. The university will send details about next steps.
- Apply for an entry visa and residence permit. This MVV allows you to study in Holland as an international student.
- Make preparations for housing, insurance, finances, etc before arriving.
Tuition Fees in Holland
The cost of pursuing a degree in Holland can vary depending on your nationality, chosen university, degree level, and field of study. On average, tuition fees for international students are:
For EU/EEA students:
- €2,083 per year at research universities
- €2,168 per year at universities of applied sciences
For non-EU/EEA students:
- €6,000 – €15,000 per year at research universities
- €6,000 – €7,500 per year at universities of applied sciences
For EU/EEA students:
- €2,083 per year for most programs
- €4,500+ per year for some technical programs
For non-EU/EEA students:
- €10,000 – €20,000 per year for most programs
- €2,500 – €4,500 per year for some one-year master’s
EU/EEA students typically pay around €2,000 per year. Annual tuition for non-EU PhDs is €10,000 – €20,000 on average.
Scholarships and financial aid are available to help cover costs.
Cost of Living in Holland
Living expenses are a big part of your study abroad budget. Here’s an overview of average costs for students in Holland:
- Housing: €400 – €800 per month to rent a student room or apartment, depending on location. University dorms are also an option.
- Food: Groceries and dining out cost around €200 – €300 per month.
- Health insurance: Mandatory for students, approx. €100 per month.
- Books & supplies: Expect to spend €200 – €600 per year.
- Transportation: €30 – €100 per month for a bike, transit pass and occasional train trips.
- Other costs: Personal expenses like a phone plan, clothes, entertainment, etc average €200 – €300 monthly.
Total living costs: €1,000 – €1,500 per month is common for most students in Holland.
Having around €12,000 – €18,000 available per year will allow you to live comfortably as an international student.
Scholarships for International Students
Here are some of the top scholarships and financial aid options in Holland:
- Holland Scholarship – Awarded to non-EU/EEA students at bachelor’s and master’s levels who meet academic and financial criteria. Covers €5,000 of first year tuition.
- University scholarships – Many Dutch universities offer merit-based and subject-specific scholarships for international students. Amounts vary by school.
- Erasmus+ – EU-funded program that provides grants for students to study or intern abroad in Europe, including Holland.
- LPDP Scholarship Indonesia – Indonesian students can receive funding for bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programs from this government scholarship program.
- StuNed Scholarships – Available to students from over 50 developing countries to study in Holland at master’s and PhD levels.
- MENA Scholarship Program – Covers tuition and living costs for students from the Middle East and North Africa region.
- Orange Tulip Scholarship – Provided by Dutch universities and organizations to highly qualified non-EU/EEA students in certain fields.
There are also part-time job and student loan opportunities in Holland. Be sure to begin your scholarship search early!
Student Visa Requirements
To study in Holland longer than 90 days, international students will need to obtain an entry visa and residence permit. Here are the main student visa requirements:
MVV Entry Visa
- Required for stays over 90 days unless you are from an exempt country like the US, UK, Australia, etc.
- Apply for the MVV at your nearest Dutch embassy after receiving university acceptance.
- Valid passport, financial documents, and health insurance required. Processing time is about 2-3 months.
- Must be applied for after arrival in Holland within 2 weeks.
- Issued for the duration of your study program at a Dutch university.
- Allows you to live and study in Holland as an international student.
- Costs around €171 for non-EU students.
- Non-EU students must purchase Dutch student health insurance, approx. €55 per month.
- EU students can request a European Health Insurance Card before arriving.
- Insurance must cover the entire period of your residence permit.
- Provides access to healthcare, prescriptions, hospitalization, etc.
Be sure to budget for the costs of your student visa when studying in Holland. The university can also advise on completing the immigration process.
Part-Time Work Options
As an international student in the Netherlands, you may have the option to work part-time during your studies. However, there are restrictions:
- EU/EEA students – unlimited hours
- Non-EU students – max 10-15 hours per week
Types of Jobs
- On-campus student assistant jobs at university libraries, cafes, etc.
- Office work, hospitality, events, administrative roles
- Dutch language skills are an asset
- EU students don’t need additional approval to work in Holland.
- Non-EU students require a work permit from the IND immigration office to take a part-time job.
- Income tax is approx. 9-12% on part-time work
- Mandatory to have a BSN number (citizen service number)
Part-time wages can provide extra spending money and professional experience. But don’t overload your schedule – your studies should remain the priority!
Work Options After Graduating
After completing your studies in Holland, international graduates have some options to remain in the country temporarily for work. Here are two main possibilities:
Orientation Year for Graduates
- Allows non-EU graduates to live and work in Holland for up to 1 year after finishing their degree.
- Designed to gain work experience related to your degree and seek out job opportunities.
- Must apply for residence permit within 3 years of finishing studies.
Highly Skilled Migrant Visa
- For graduates who find qualified employment with a Dutch company willing to sponsor their visa.
- Provides a residence permit valid up to 5 years (can be renewed).
- Must meet salary threshold; no restrictions on working hours.
- Can lead to permanent residency after several years.
Both options require sponsorship from a Dutch employer, sufficient funds, health insurance, and passing the TB test. Start your job search early!
Tips for Adjusting to Life in Holland
Moving abroad for university will be a big transition. Here are some top tips for new international students getting accustomed to life in Holland:
- Learn basic Dutch phrases – it shows effort to integrate. English will get you by in most cities though.
- Get a bicycle – it’s the number one mode of transport for Dutch students and convenient for getting around campus/town.
- Take advantage of university social activities to quickly meet classmates and make new friends.
- Connect with student associations, sports clubs, and volunteer groups to become part of campus communities.
- Try new foods – the Netherlands has unique dishes like stroopwafels, kibbeling, and stamppot you should sample!
- Visit museums – take advantage of the famous Dutch museums and galleries like the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.
- Travel within Holland and Europe – it’s easy and affordable to see more of the Netherlands as well as visit Belgium, France, Germany and other nearby countries.
Immerse yourself in the Dutch culture and lifestyle to gain the most from your studies abroad in Holland!
Start Your Study Adventure in Holland
Studying in Holland provides international students with world-class universities, English-taught programs, and affordable tuition fees. The Netherlands offers a high standard of living, welcoming multicultural society, and vibrant student life.
If you’re looking to gain European perspectives, build your professional skills and expand your horizons, Holland is an ideal study destination. With top-ranked schools, numerous degree options and financial help available, the opportunity awaits motivated students from around the globe. Begin researching programs and scholarships today to make your study abroad dream a reality!