The Netherlands, or Holland to some, is a country in northwestern Europe. It is widely known for its imposing windmills, colorful tulips, and connecting canals.
Although it is more of a haven for carefree tourists, the Netherlands has become a prime spot for international students as well. After all, Dutch universities offer quality international education.
Its schools, such as the University of Amsterdam, the Delft University of Technology, and the Eindhoven University of Technology continuously rank in the top 100.
More than just being prestigious, these schools also offer English programs at markedly cheaper prices.
If you wish to bask in the educational experience that only the Netherlands can offer, then be sure to heed to following tips on how to study in the Netherlands as international students.
Studying in the Netherlands Guide for International Students
Here’s the outline of how you can study in the Netherlands as international students.
You will need to know the cost of studying in the Netherlands before you start applying. This way, you will be prepared financially when you do get accepted. Also, you should prepare ahead of time to lower the cost of your studies.
While you figure out the financial aspect, you should also know the application requirements for international students in the Netherlands. There are many, so you will need to start preparing for that also.
After you meet the general application requirements, you can start applying to the universities!
Once you do get accepted, you need to prepare for your student visa application. The universities can help you with that!
Now, let’s get started with the first step.
1. Know the Cost of Studying in the Netherlands
The tuition fee in the Netherlands is more affordable compared to neighboring European countries. Baccalaureate degrees cost anywhere from $6,773 (EUR 6,000) to $16,933 (EUR 15,000) a year. Post-graduate degrees, on the other hand, can cost you about $9,031 (EUR 8,000) to $22,578 (EUR 20,000) a year.
Another great thing about the Netherlands is the cost of living is more affordable too. The monthly cost of living usually ranges from $903 (EUR 800) to $1,241 (EUR 1,100).
2. Prepare to Meet the General Application Requirements for the Netherlands
Here are the general requirements for international students who wish to study in Dutch universities:
General Language Requirements (Undergraduate)
Dutch universities require non-native English speakers to submit a test of English proficiency. These exams include IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge English.
The usual TOEFL requirements are 90 to 100 for an internet-based test (iBT) and 550 to 600 for a paper-based exam. As for the IELTS, a band of about 6.5 to 7 is required to study in the Netherlands for international students.
According to the University of Amsterdam, the country’s largest institution for higher education, international undergraduate applicants need to have the following scores:
TOEFL, Internet Based: 92 to 100
IELTS: 6.5 to 7
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English: grade B to C
Cambridge Certificate Proficiency in English: Level C1
As for the Delft University of Technology, undergraduate students should have a TOEFL iBT score of 90 and an IELTS band of 6.5.
Knowledge of Dutch is not required of international students unless you wish to enroll in a program taught in the Dutch language. Should you wish to do so, you need to take the NT2-II. Although this is the case, you may be exempted from the test if you can present a VWO, MBO, or HBO diploma to your university of choice.
Since language requirements vary according to the university as well as your degree of choice, make sure to check the school’s requirements page for their preferred test scores.
General Language Requirements (Graduate)
The English requirements for post-graduate applicants are markedly lenient compared to undergraduate students. At the University of Amsterdam, the minimum acceptable scores are 6.5 for the IELTS, 92 for internet-based TOEFL, and Grade C for the Cambridge exam.
The requirements for the Delft University of Technology are even lower. The minimum grade for post-graduate students is 90 for TOEFL iBT and 6.5 for the IELTS.
Because of the variations in English language requirements, it is always best to check your school’s website for the details.
Application Requirements (Undergraduate)
Dutch universities usually require the following documents from international applicants to study in the Netherlands.
Certification of secondary studies
English proficiency test
Admission exam, as deemed necessary
Payment of application fee, which usually costs $113 (EUR 100)
Some schools are particular with your GPA. Such is the case at the University of Amsterdam. For example, if you came from the US, you need to have a grade of B+ or a GPA of at least 3.33. Additional units may also be required, depending on the course you have applied for.
The university also requires letters of motivation and reference for Communication Science applicants.
Meanwhile, at the Delft University of Technology, an applicant is usually required to take certain subjects (such as Mathematics, Physics, or Chemistry) that may be required for the degree.
With that being said, you need to check your university’s official website for its comprehensive list of requirements.
Application Requirements (Graduate)
For graduate applicants, a certificate of baccalaureate studies and proof of English proficiency remain to be the most basic of requirements.
As with undergraduate applicants, some schools may be strict when it comes to GPA. At the Delft University of Technology, you should have a GPA of at least 75% of the maximum to be admitted. For example, if you came from the US, a GPA of 3-4 would be preferred.
Application fees for master’s or doctorate applicants generally cost around $113 (EUR 100).
As always, don’t forget to visit your university’s website for a complete list of application requirements.
3. Apply to Universities in the Netherlands by Following the Application Procedure
Once you are familiar with the application requirements, you need to start preparing to apply! If you are interested in applying at any of the Dutch universities, then here’s what you need to know about the process:
As with most countries, Dutch universities start the school year in September. The application period usually starts the year before, with deadlines set from January to March.
As with the University of Amsterdam, intake is started the year before. The deadline depends on your program. January is set for Business Administration and Psychology applicants. The deadline is February for Liberal Arts applicants, and March for those interested in Politics, Psychology, Economics, and Law.
These deadlines, however, are extended to April to May for EU citizens.
At the Delft University of Technology, the application period starts a year before (October). The deadlines, which vary according to program, range from January to April.
As always, make sure to check the university website as these deadlines may be adjusted without prior notice.
Deadlines for graduate applicants vary according to semester.
At the University of Amsterdam, the deadline for the September intake ranges from March to April.
At the Delft University of Technology, the application period for the first semester (September start) usually begins on October 15 the year prior. It usually ends on January 15.
As for the second semester (which starts in February), the application starts July the year prior. Deadlines usually fall in mid-October.
Because application schedules depend on the semester or the program proper, you need to check your university portal for the complete details.
4. Prepare your Student Visa Application
Once you get admitted to your Dutch university of choice, the school will apply for the student visa or residence permit on your behalf. As such, you need to submit these documents to your university:
Proof of a sustainable source of income
Payment of student visa application – $196 (EUR 174)
Your residence permit is valid throughout your schooling, with an additional 3 months. You can also get an additional year if you need to study the Dutch language.
The maximum validity period is 5 years.
To keep your visa, you need to be able to finish 50% of the required credits. This is what the government pertains to as study progress monitoring.
Once you have secured your student visa, you can now buy a plane ticket and fly to the Netherlands for your studies. But remember, you need to do a few things upon your arrival. Don’t forget to register with the municipality and undergo a tuberculosis test, as these are required for individuals holding provisional student visas. Once you finish these, you can finally start with your studies in the Netherlands.
I hope that this article on studying in the Netherlands for international students was helpful!