Netherlands, Holland, graduate, study, abroad, Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam

Study in the Netherlands

Graduate programs in Netherlands

The Netherlands is famous for its multiculturalism, laid back attitude and excellent universities. With one of the cheapest rates of tuition fees in Europe, it’s no surprise that more than 45,000 international students choose to study in the Netherlands each year – with a large proportion coming here for graduate study.Study in the Netherlands

The Netherlands boasts many great student cities, from the nightlife and culture of Amsterdam to the more rural delights of Utrecht and Leiden. Courses are generally taught in English and students are encouraged to be a part of society and not cut themselves off from society. This is a great place to study a graduate program.

Population: 16,400,000

Education overview

The Netherlands is home to two main type of higher education system offering graduate programs:

  • Research universities – These institutions allow to focus on research or independent study programs
  • Universities of applied science – These institutions offer professional programs in applied arts and sciences that are more vocational

Entry to graduate programs in the Netherlands differs slightly from other countries, with a ten point grading system used to decide on who can join which course. You should contact your chosen university to find out whether your countries qualifications match the Dutch grading system.

Masters programs in the Netherlands generally last between 1-3 years, while doctoral programs normally last for four years.   

Immigration and visas in the Netherlands

EU students are able to come and study in the Netherlands providing you are studying at an approved institution for more than three months and have sufficient income to support yourself. Non-EU students will need to apply for a visa dependent on their nationality. You will generally need to show the following, regardless of your nationality:

  • You have a confirmed place on a course at a recognised education institution
  • You are not already in the country on a tourist or business visa
  • You have paid all relevant visa fees

Life in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a reputation as a laid back, friendly country with a relaxed attitude towards social life. This is a liberal society, with a policy of non-enforcement in the smoking cafes of Amsterdam and a relaxed attitude towards sexuality and religion.
The country is famous for its painters and artists, who include Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer, with several famous art galleries throughout the country.

Sport also plays an important part of life in the Netherlands, with approximately a quarter of all Dutch registered at a sports club in the country. Football, hockey, tennis and golf are among the most popular sports in the country and students can expect to participate in them at university.

Working in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has the world’s 17th largest economy and its unemployment is one of the lowest in the European Union. The country’s financial and business capital is Amsterdam while the port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest.

The largest economic sector in the Netherlands is business services, which makes up nearly two-thirds of the country’s gross domestic product. Another major sector is agriculture, while the Netherlands is the largest producer of natural gas in Europe. It also has a growing chemical and pharmaceutical industry.


Students in the Netherlands generally live privately and not on campus, unlike many other countries in the world. Your chosen university may be able to arrange a room in a shared house for you, which is much easier to sort out than finding a room privately.

Accommodation costs in the Netherlands depend on which institution and city you’ve chosen to study your graduate program in. As a guide, you should expect to pay somewhere between €300 - €600 per month, depending on whether bills are included in your rent.

Some good sites to look for student accommodation in the Netherlands include:

Climate in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a moderate maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters. In general, the cities nearer the coastline are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than those in the south. Summer runs from between June to September with temperatures around 20C, while winter is at its coldest between December and February.


Transport in the Netherlands is excellent and it’s very easy to get around this small country. The main public transport for travel in the country is the train network, with buses and coaches reserved for local journeys. Cycling is an extremely popular way of getting around cities in the Netherlands, with 27% of all journeys made by bicycle – one of the highest percentages in the world.

In order to use public transport in the Netherlands you will need the OV Chipkaart, which can be used on trains, buses, trams and metros.


The currency of the Netherlands is the Euro.

What to do next

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Universities and cities in Netherlands