graduate program in Amsterdam, Holland, Netherlands, study, graduate, postgraduate, abroad

Study in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Population: 800,000

City overview

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and a renowned tourist destination. Home to artists, activists and cyclists, Amsterdam is an inexpensive and exciting place to be an international student.

Amsterdam is an easy city to love. Its historic canals, many museums and galleries make it a great place to stroll or cycle around. The locals are laidback, friendly and used to welcoming people from around the world.

Education profile

University education in the Netherlands is generally cheaper than most other EU countries, so many international students choose to come to Amsterdam to study a graduate program. Although home to just two universities, Amsterdam has several other institutions where you can study a graduate program.

You could study a graduate program in Amsterdam at some of the following institutions:

You can study both research and taught Masters programs in Amsterdam, with courses taking between 1-3 years to complete, depending on the subject and institution. A PhD program will normally last for four years.

It’s worth noting that entry onto postgraduate programs in the Netherlands is different from other countries. The Dutch system uses a ten point grading system to decide who can join a particular course, so you should contact your chosen university to ensure that your home country’s qualifications are acceptable.

Immigration and visas

EU students are able to come and study in Amsterdam 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 Amsterdam

Despite its reputation as a party town, Amsterdam is actually a very relaxed and laidback city, especially if you’re there as a student. Most people in the city get around by cycling, whether through their own bike or through one of the many bike rental shops.

Art also plays a big part in an Amsterdammers life. The Van Gogh museum is a must visit, while the Rijksmuseum is home to treasures by Vermeer and Rembrandt.

It’s impossible to talk about Amsterdam without mentioning the famous brown cafes. Remember it’s not compulsory to smoke in them – they often offer drinks and food too. However, a brown cafe is the perfect place to sample some Amsterdam gezellig – conviviality.

Working in Amsterdam

As the financial and business capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is global player when it comes to its economy. Many large corporations and businesses are based in Amsterdam – indeed, it is ranked the fifth best European city in which to locate an international business.

Tourism also plays a major part in Amsterdam’s economy, with more than 4.5million visitors each year. 


Unlike most other countries, students in the Netherlands tend to live in private accommodation as universities do not guarantee housing to students. Amsterdam is also short of housing for all its residents in general. As such, many international students find it difficult to secure accommodation before starting their courses.

The most popular area for graduate students to live in Amsterdam is cosmopolitan De Pijp and Jordaan.

Weather and climate

Amsterdam has an oceanic climate and is heavily influenced by the North Sea to its west, which send strong sea winds in. Amsterdam has mild winters and moderate summers which are rarely hot. The main summer months run from June to August, while winter is at its coldest between December and February.

What to do next

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