You want to study a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the Netherlands? Great choice! The safe and multicultural environment with affordable study costs provided by the Netherlands makes this country an incredibly attractive destination for your studies abroad. One of the first countries to offer international study programmes taught entirely in English and known for the innovative and very straight forward teaching style draws tens of thousands of international students worldwide each year.
Tuition for EU/EEA students in public universities
If you’re from the EU/EEA, Switzerland, or Surinam, you will benefit from lower tuition fees in Dutch public universities. Costs usually range between 700 – 2,100 EUR/academic year, and they are influenced by the university where you study, the discipline, and the degree type (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD).
Tuition for non-EU/EEA students in public universities
For all the other international students, tuition fees are higher. You can expect to pay anywhere between:
- 6,000 – 15,000 EUR/year for a Bachelor’s degree
- 8,000 – 20,000 EUR/year for a Master’s degree
Tuition fees in private universities
If you enrol in a Dutch private university, you will usually need a larger budget. For some study programmes, you can expect to pay as much as 30,000 EUR/year. Medicine and Business are some of the most expensive courses.
Applying to a Dutch university is pretty straight forward as well. However, you should keep a few things in mind before applying.
1. Choose the right degree subject in the Netherlands
2. Choose the right Dutch university
Here are some top Dutch universities you should consider for your study abroad adventure:
- Utrecht University
- Erasmus University Rotterdam
- Radboud University
- University of Twente
- Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
- Tilburg University
List of University in Netherlands
3. Prepare to apply
- Before you choose your degree at a Dutch university, do your research rigorously and make sure it fits your interests and career goals.
- Check out if you match with the entry requirements and admission qualifications of the university. Your educational background and grade point average from your prior studies will determine if you qualify for your chosen degree.
- For some Master programmes, there is an online eligibility check available within universities, meant to help students find out if they are eligible for that specific programme.
- Be careful to check if you have to pay the Statutory tuition fee (for EU/EEA students and a few exceptions for non-EU/EEA) or the Institutional tuition fee (usually, for non-EU/EEA students).
- Look for scholarship opportunities to cover your study expenses. You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
- Figure out if you need a student visa. In this case, you will need to prepare necessary documents in advance.
Where to apply for degrees with no restrictions
1. Join the Numerus Fixus degree course lottery– a university application system managed by the Dutch government. With Numerus Fixus, you increase your chances of being admitted to a degree course. However most of the programmes are taught in Dutch. The main exceptions when you can apply to an English-taught degree via Numerus Fixus are Medicine, Psychology, International Business Administration, and Physiotherapy.
2. Apply directly to the universities websites after carefully checking the entry requirements for your desired study programmes.
Where to apply for degrees with local restrictions
1. For some degree programmes, you can apply through Studielink (similar to UCAS system in the UK). Studielink allows you to apply for up to four courses at a time. You have the possibility to change the courses you wish to apply for at any time before the enrollment deadline. If you are rejected by one university, you can then apply to another one. Furthermore, from 2019-2020 you will also be able to apply to Numerus fixus programmes via Studielink.
2. The Dutch Ministry of Education can set a national quota for various degrees offered by universities.
Sometimes, the number of students who wish to enrol on a certain programme exceeds this national quota. In this case, students are advised to rank the institutions in order of preference, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are not eligible for being admitted.
DUO (part of the Dutch Ministry of Education) administrates places on limited quota degree courses and may require you to submit certified copies of your academic records.
5. Language requirements for Dutch university application
If you want to apply for an English-taught degree, the accepted certifications are: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge.
If you want to pursue your studies in Dutch, you need to pass the Dutch TUL intermediate exam or hold a Dutch NT2-II diploma.
6. Required application documents
- A copy of passport or ID card
- A passport picture
- A personal statement in English (should contain around 500-800 words answering questions such as: Why and what would you like to study at the university? What are your plans after graduation?)
- Copies of obtained secondary school diplomas, certificates and/or grade lists (uploaded diplomas and/or grade lists which are not in English, French, German or Dutch need to be accompanied by an official English translation)
- Transcript of records
- Proof of English/Dutch language proficiency
- Proof of payment of application fee (50 EUR)
Some universities may require additional documents, such as:
- CV or resume (including two referees)
- Motivation letter
- Sample of academic written work
7. University application deadlines for the Netherlands
Check the application deadline directly with the universities you are interested in because they may vary.
- The application deadline for most courses: 1st of May
- In some universities, the application deadline is: 1st of February or the 1st of March
- For the Numerous Fixus and DUO platform, the deadline is typically 15th of January
The general recommendation is that you apply by mid-April at the latest so that you will have enough time to arrange your visa (if you need one) and housing before you start your studies.
Set up your account on Studielink by the 1st of May.
If you have applied for a limited quota programme, earlier deadlines may apply.
8. Final steps after receiving your university acceptance letter
Studying in the Netherlands means a few extra steps after the application process:
- Settle your health insurance. If you are coming from an EU country than the health insurance in your country may also work in the Netherlands. But you will need to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to make use of this. If health insurance not valid, you will have to pay 80 – 160 EUR per month to cover this.
After arriving in the Netherlands:
- For EU students: contact a local governing body to receive a personal public service number (BSN).
- For non-EU students: you will have to get a residence permit; the university will apply on your behalf, you just have to submit the required documents.
Students must officially enrol in the university before they can start their classes. You should also pay your tuition fee!
Non-EU students must apply for the Netherlands visa.
9. Living costs for students in the Netherlands
Your monthly expenses will include accommodation, food, transport, books, clothes, and leisure activities. To cover these expenses, you’ll need between 800 – 1,200 EUR/month.
Here are the average living costs in major Dutch student cities:
- Enschede: 650 – 920 EUR/month
- Eindhoven: 850 – 1,350 EUR/month
- Amsterdam: 1,000 – 1,500 EUR/month
- Delft: 780 – 1,200 EUR/month
- Rotterdam: 760 – 1,250 EUR/month
Cost of Living in Netherlands
Renting a room in the Netherlands can cost between 300 – 600 EUR/month. Student houses are more affordable, and some universities even offer on-campus accommodation. Your university may help you find a room if you contact them after you’re admitted. Another option is to rent a single flat or share a larger apartment, but prices are higher.
Average costs depending on the accommodation type:
- Renting a single apartment (studio): 500 – 1,000 EUR/month
- Sharing a rented apartment: 400 – 700 EUR/month
- Student houses: 350 – 600 EUR/month
Other costs related to accommodation
Keep in mind that utilities are not always included in the accommodation costs. When you rent a room, always ask what’s included and how much you should expect to pay for utilities every month.
You also have to pay a deposit, usually equal to one month’s worth of rent. If you don’t damage the place, you get the money back at the end of the tenancy agreement.
- Average utilities costs: 100 – 230 EUR/month
- Internet: 30 – 50 EUR/month
Students living alone pay around 150 – 170 EUR/month for food and groceries. Lidl, Aldi and Albert Heijn are some of the cheapest supermarkets. How much you spend depends on your lifestyle and the city in which you live.
You should expect shopping in Amsterdam and Rotterdam to be more expensive than in smaller cities like Groningen or Eindhoven.
If you prefer eating out, affordable restaurants offer meals for around 10 – 20 EUR.
In the Netherlands, average monthly transportation costs for students are 35 – 70 EUR/month. You can save money by renting a bike – a popular transportation option in the country; prices start at 10 EUR/day.
There are also many inexpensive options to buy a second-hand bike, which can prove to be a better investment in the long run.
- Books and other study materials: between 30 – 65 EUR/month
- Social activities/entertainment: 50 – 60 EUR/month
You can user your student card to get discounts in many bars, restaurants, and cinemas.
3. Visa fee in the Netherlands
The student visa fee is 171 EUR. Here are more details about the Dutch student visa based on your country of origin: