Study in Netherlands: “Country with Highest English Proficiency in the World”


The Netherlands secures the 16th position in the Most Peaceful Countries by Population 2019 which means the nation enjoys lower interest rates, better political stability, a stronger economy and higher foreign investment. No wonder, it is one of the most popular study abroad destinations in Europe for international students. Netherland has everything, right from finest universities in the world to modern educational infrastructure and a welcoming atmosphere for learners across the globe. There are various things you must keep in the account before you start applying for a Schengen visa to study in Netherlands. In this article, you can find a list of top institutions and documents required for each purpose of entry in the European territory. Moreover, we will take a look at the average tuition fee and the cost of living in the country.

Why Study in Netherlands?

According to EF EPI (English Proficiency Index) 2019, the Netherlands has the highest proficiency with a score of 70.27 out of 100 countries. Moreover, it was the first non-English speaking country that began to construct higher education programs in the English language. So, international students will find the largest number of English-taught programmes, nearly 2,100 courses in this country. It is a place for different nationalities such as Chinese, Indians, French and British, students from far and wide. The tuition fees and cost of living is considerably lower than any English-speaking country like the US or the UK. When it comes to the facilities and modern courses, the education system of the Netherlands will make an impact on your life as a student. The opportunity to study in Netherlands is travelling to “wonderbaar” places. It takes almost an hour to fly from Amsterdam to London, Paris, Brussels, or Berlin. 

Living in Netherlands

Once you choose to study in Netherlands, your adventure begins! So what is it like to live in Northwestern Europe? You will be surprised to know that most of the student life happens off-campus in Netherlands. Every university has a network of associations that bring students together for academic activities, recreation and sports. Few of these are internationally oriented while a majority of them are run by student associations like Erasmus Students Network (ESN) and AIESEC. From boat trips on lakes, walking in woods and dunes, strolling through town, football championships, musicals and theatre to lazing on the beach, there is plenty to see in the Netherlands. Being a small country, public transport will take you almost anywhere. There is a dense railway network allowing frequent service and quickest and cheapest way to travel between city centres. The government of the Netherlands offers so many discounts to students who are interested in travelling. Furthermore, if you have worked for 32 hours a month, you will be given a student OV-Chipkaart that will allow you to have access to free public transport. Bikes are everywhere! Most people, regardless of their profession, have a bicycle.

Dutch Grading System

You may find that the grading system in the Netherlands is different from India. In the country, a 10 points system is used in both secondary and higher education where a grade of 10 is the highest and 6 is the minimum pass grade. Have a look at the table given below:

Study in Netherlands - Dutch Grading System
*The grades from 1 to 3 are hardly awarded to students and 9 and 10 are very rare.

Dutch Institutions

If you are planning to take your higher education in Netherlands, you will be thrilled to know that the country is home to one of the world’s oldest and finest education system for post-school education. The higher education institutions are usually categorised into:

Research Universities

These are usually responsible to offer research-oriented learning in an academic setting. In fact, a lot of programs at such universities have a professional component and graduates find work opportunities outside their research community. The enrolments to a research university range from 6,000 to 30,000 students, altogether they enrol some 2,40,000 students from across the world. The duration of the coursework of various program to study in Netherlands have been discussed in the table given below:

Bachelor of Arts (BA)3 years
Bachelor of Science (BSc)3 years
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)3 years
Master of Arts (MA)1 to 3 years
Master of Science (MSc)1 to 3 years
Master of Laws (LLM)1 year
Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng)2 years
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)4 years

Top 15 Research Universities to Study in Netherlands

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Universities of Applied Sciences

Such colleges emphasize the practical application of Arts and Sciences. The programs are practice-oriented and prepare students for specific professions. The largest institutions of applied sciences enrol nearly 20,000 to 40,000 students, altogether some 4,00,000 students are enrolled in professional courses. The duration of the coursework of various program to study in Netherlands have been discussed in the table given below:

Associate 2 years
Bachelor of (field of study)4 years
Bachelor of Arts (BA)4 years
Bachelor of Science (BSc)4 years
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)4 years
Master of (field of study)1 to 4 years
Master of Arts (MA)1 to 2 years
Master of Science (MSc)1 to 2 years
Master of Laws (LLM)1 year
Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng)2 years
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)4 years

Top 15 Universities of Applied Sciences to Study in Netherlands

  • Christelijke Hogeschool Ede
  • HAS University of Applied Sciences
  • HZ University of Applied Sciences
  • Breda University of Applied Sciences
  • Aeres University of Applied Sciences
  • Zuyd University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Applied Sciences Leiden
  • NHL Stenden, University of Applied Sciences
  • HKU University of the Arts Utrecht
  • Saxion University of Applied Sciences
  • Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • Christian University of Applied Sciences
  • Amsterdam School of the Arts
  • Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • Design Academy Eindhoven

Institutes for International Education (IE)

Besides, there are various institutions offering advanced training and programs designed especially for international students. A majority of these are a part of any research university and these are facilitated by faculties with extensive experience in working in developing countries. These IE institutes deliver various short courses, master’s and  PhD programmes for the duration of:

Master of Arts (MA)1 to 2 years
Master of Science (MSc)1 to 2 years
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) only possible at one instituteDuration is flexible

Top Institutes for International Education in Netherlands

  • Maastricht School of Management
  • Tyndale Theological Seminary
  • KIT Royal Tropical Institute
  • IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

University Colleges

Then there are university colleges concentrating on honours courses in a small-scale inclusive learning environment with a greater international focus. Also, few other institutions provide short-term courses or diplomas in a specific field of study. The first university colleges were established by the Dutch research universities in 1997. These offer courses in Science, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Moreover, students can compose their own multi- and interdisciplinary curriculum. Courses are taught in English – with a strong emphasis on international community building. Besides, these offer a residential campus and extracurricular activities.

Top 10 University Colleges to Study in Netherlands

  • Amsterdam University College
  • Erasmus University College
  • University College Fryslân
  • University College Utrecht
  • Leiden University College The Hague
  • University College Roosevelt
  • University College Tilburg
  • University College Groningen
  • University College Maastricht
  • University College Twente

Institutional Standards

Universities in the Netherlands offer international students a guarantee of the quality of their courses, selection, recruitment and admission counselling procedures in a Code of Conduct.  These rules set out standards for institutions in their dealing with international students. Those institutions which follow the Code of Conduct have to mention what facilities they provide to the international students like obtaining a visa, residence permit, students counselling and accommodation facilities. Also, it is mandatory for international students to sign the Code of Conduct in order to obtain visas.

What is the Dutch Way of Teaching?

Interactivity in the classroom with a strong focus on teamwork is the fundamentals of the Dutch style of teaching. This helps students to shape their existing knowledge as well as express their opinion and convictions. Not to miss, teaching is student-centric in the Netherlands! The study curriculum will incorporate practical work experience through experiments in labs and internships. The opportunity to study in Netherlands allows students to develop an international perspective resulting in an open mindset and broader thinking.

Tuition Fees and Cost of Living

Students planning to study in Netherlands should note that the average tuition fee for a bachelor’s degree program is somewhere between €6,000 to €15,000. And, for a master’s degree, you need to pay around €8,000 to €20,000. However, if you choose to study at a private university, your tuition fees will be a little higher. Besides this, there is the average cost of living can be somewhat between €800 to €1,100 per month which includes rent, study material, insurance, transportation, clothing, entertainment, groceries, etc.

Plan Your Stay

If you are intending to study in Netherlands, you will first have to prepare for your stay in the host country. For this, there are a lot of things that you need to arrange. Let us take a look at these in detail:

Choosing the Right Course to Study in Netherlands

In order to study in Netherlands, applicants need to first find a study programme and then check the admission requirements for the programme. Most universities in the Netherlands have enrollment twice a year, in the Fall semester (September) and Spring semester (February). Eligibility requirements may vary by institution and programme, however, there are some general criteria that are accepted at university.

  • Are you qualified? There is a certain minimum qualification required for admission to the programme. Moreover, you may need to show your aptitude skills through GMAT or GRE scores.
  • Have you passed your English language test? IELTS, TOEFL are commonly accepted, but institutions may also accept tests like PTE or Cambridge English. The minimum TOEFL score should be at least 213 (internet-based) or 550 (paper-based) and a minimum of 6.0 is required for IELTS.

You should start arranging the required documents like a resume, LOR, SOP, essay, etc. and send them to concerned university approximately 3 to 4 months before the commencement of the next academic year.

Need tips on how to prepare for your IELTS, TOEFL, GMAT or GRE? Want to feel calm and confident on your test day? Get started – check your level and start learning with our experts at Leverage Edu today!


Whether you plan to study in Netherlands or work, do you have insurance in India? Read more to find the different insurance that you can opt for:  

Type of InsuranceDescription
Health InsuranceAs per law, you must have healthcare insurance and its type depends on your personal situation.
Liability InsuranceFor any damage to someone’s property, you will be responsible to pay for the cost of the accident. In such cases, the liability insurance policy will cover the costs.
Repatriation InsuranceRepatriation insurance covers the costs of transferring back to India in emergency situations.
Household Contents InsuranceIn case of theft, fire or water damage in your home, household contents insurance covers such costs.

Visa Application

The next stage is to check for the visa requirement, procedure and insurance. Whether it is to study in the Netherlands or move out for research purposes, you will need a valid passport, visa and work permit. Things to keep in mind are your nationality, the duration of stay (shorter or longer than 90 days) and the purpose of stay.

For those planning to stay fewer than 90 days within a period of 180 days, will need a “Schengen Visa” or “Short-stay Visa”. And if you are moving out for a duration of more than 90 days, then you might need a Long-stay Visa (MVV) and residence permit (VVR)

Other than this, there is a “Multiple-entry Visa” that permits learners to move in and out of the Schengen zone until their visa validity. While the “Single-entry Visa” restricts them to move out of the Schengen area and if they do, a short-stay or a return visa for a long stay is needed.

You should not forget to register yourself with the local Aliens Police within 3 days of arrival, to whom you have to submit the details of accommodation proof and you have enough money to support yourself.

Documents Required for Visa Application

The students should start applying for a Student Schengen visa earliest by 3 months prior or latest by 15 days prior to their trip. The following is the list of important documents that are required for any short-term visa application:

  • Fully completed and signed two visa application forms.
  • Two recent photographs.
  • A valid passport not older than 10 years.
  • Travel health insurance policy for the whole Schengen territory with a minimum coverage of €30,000.
  • Proof of accommodation throughout your stay in the Netherlands like a hotel/hostel booking, rental agreement or letter of invitation from a person in the host country.
  • Proof of finances like bank account statement, sponsorship letter or combination of both.
  • Proof of visa fee payment.
  • Letter of acceptance at the university in the Netherlands
  • No objection letter from school or university.
  • Proof of academic qualification
  • In case of a minor, parents or legal guardians have to submit extra documents like:
    • Minor’s birth certificate
    • Signed Application form
    • Certified copies of ID or passport of both parents.
    • A notarized parental authorization signed by parents/guardians in case the minor will be travelling alone.

The legal processing time for your visa is 15 calendar days, however, in some cases, you can receive an answer even in a shorter period. Also, in extreme cases, this period may extend up to 30-60 days.

Use Your Checklist

Before you start preparing your bags, take a quick look at your check and ensure that everything is at place. Some of the things you need to keep in mind are:

  • Finding a programme to study in Netherlands.
  • Have you met the eligibility requirements for overseas education?
  • Have you given your IELTS or TOEFL?
  • Find a scholarship.
  • Visas and permits for Dutch immigration.
  • Have you taken the required health and accommodation insurance?
  • Finding accommodation before you start your study in Netherlands.
  • Are you connected with alumni and other people on social media?
  • Remember to make the most of your time in the new country. 

Job Opportunities for Graduates in Netherlands

Your study in Netherlands is packed with the best international recruitment solution for jobs in the country in Engineering, Science, Information Technology, etc. Some of the world’s largest companies in Dutch and many global groups like Royal Dutch Shell, ING, Unilever, Ahold Delhaize, Aegon, Philips, SHV, Heineken reside in this northwestern European country. It is interesting to note that the concept of a joint-stock company was invented here. Graduates with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a university in the Netherlands have a fair chance of finding a decent job and staying for a longer time. And if you want to work while you study in Netherlands, you will have to apply for a work permit that will authorise you to work for 16 hours a week during term time and full-time during holidays.

Does it seem like a good idea to study in Netherlands? Are you ready to have a pragmatic education in this country? But one thing that you should be concerned about is its educational competency because you really have to study hard to get good grades here. But it’s all worth it! So, get in touch with our experts at Leverage Edu and take your dutch dream to the next level.

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