10 Best Universities in Netherlands for International Students

The Netherlands is increasingly becoming a popular study destination for international students. This is mostly because a growing number of universities in the country offer academic courses (at Bachelors and Masters level) in English as opposed to Dutch. The country has grown to become one of the most diverse and multicultural environments with a substantially large and thriving international community. With its location in the middle of Europe, the Netherlands is also among the most developed and wealthiest nations in the continent and has become a global economic and transport hub. Students have an easy access to some of the most unparalleled opportunities once they choose to study at a Dutch university. In this article, we will be discussing the top Dutch universities for international students.

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Beyond its historic and acclaimed reputation for tulips and wooden clogs, the Netherlands offers and enriching and diverse experience for international students. Ranging from the Dutch capital of Amsterdam with its beautiful canals to the smaller cities of Maastricht, a wide range of study options are available to choose from, depending on what the student wants. Added to this, the country proudly hosts some of the top student cities in the world so prospective students are guaranteed to get a well-rounded academic experience during their studies.

In this article, we introduce to you a series of universities in the Netherlands  for international students that offer the best of the best when it comes to further studies. As opposed to other countries in Europe, the Netherlands higher education system comprises of a mix of universities, such as the Utrecht University with its rich history and international prestige to the Maastricht University which is more recently built yet offering world-class opportunities. This will help you to gain some insight into the educational features and student experience offered by the various institutions in the country of Holland.

Top Universities in Netherlands for International Students

1. Maastricht University

The Maastricht University is a public research university located in Maastricht, a prominent city in the southeast of the Netherlands. The university was founded recently in 1976 and is among the youngest of Dutch institutions. Currently educating a student population of around 16,000, this elite university has been consistently ranked among the best young universities in the world as well as one of the top most universities in Europe. Almost half of the student community consists of international students and ensures its students are catered to highly in terms of internationalization of the campus. A majority of the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses are taught in English as well. One of the strongest qualities of Maastricht teaching is that the students themselves are responsible for their own academic courses and constructing the path for their studies. This university offers a range of degrees of study and operates its own liberal arts college as well.

2. Erasmus University Rotterdam

Based in the city of Rotterdam, the Erasmus University is a public research university that was also founded in 1913. Five campuses are operated, four of which are in Rotterdam while the latter is in The Hague. The university is composed of seven major faculties that focus on different aspects ranging from business and society to law and medicine. Its Rotterdam School of Management and the Erasmus School of Economics have a prestigious reputation across Europe and have consistently been ranked among the best. Furthermore, the university proudly houses one of the largest medical centers in the continent. Erasmus currently educates a student community that exceeds 29,000. In terms of international students, the university offers several English-based degrees of study for undergraduates, graduates and doctoral students. 40% of the student population consists of foreign students who come to study at Erasmus from over 80 different countries in the world. So, do you want to study at this great university in Netherlands for international students? If so, you can apply using the information below!

3. Radboud University

The Radboud University is located in the city of Nijmegen in the central Netherlands, one of the oldest municipalities in the country. Established in 1923, the RU is known for its strong research prowess. With a current student enrolment of around 20,000, the university provides education through seven major faculties of study. The campus grounds of the Radboud are classified as a ‘green environment’ and are often considered to be one of the most beautiful universities in the country. For international students, the Radboud offers up to 10 different Bachelors programs and around 36 Masters programs that are fully taught in English. These courses span across social sciences, medical sciences and language studies. Research is maintained at a high standard and the RU maintains and operates several prominent and cutting edge research facilities for the students. Furthermore, it has several links with prestigious overseas universities including the University of Oxford and the University of Bologna.

4. VU University Amsterdam

The Vrije University of Amsterdam (translating to the Free University or VU Amsterdam) is a university located in the Netherlands’ capital. Founded in 1880, this university is among the most prestigious institutions of higher study in not just in the country but also globally. This university in Netherlands for international students currently operates through two main campuses and is further composed of several faculties of study and interdisciplinary research institutes. Out of the 200+ degree programs (which includes Bachelors, Masters and PhD programs), only a select few undergraduate courses whereas around 80 Masters programs are taught in English. A number of exchange programs are offered by the university which allows international students to study at the VU for a portion of their academic studies. Furthermore, students have access to a wide range of activities to enhance their academic experience, including numerous athletic and sports opportunities.

5. Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (the AUAS) is an institute of higher education based in the Dutch capital. Currently providing education for a student community exceeding 46,000, the university is among the largest in the Netherlands. It offers over 80 different undergraduate and postgraduate courses of study for its students ranging from health studies and business to computing and engineering. Similar to other universities in the country, the majority of these courses are taught in Dutch but there is also a high number taught in English, as means of improving International education in the academic environment. Added to this, work placements are a key feature of the undergraduate education at the AUAS so as to help students identify and increase their experience with respect to their study goals. With its convenient location in the heart of Amsterdam, the AUAS offers an enriching study environment to its students with the internationally recognized Dutch culture and iconic canals. It is truly a strong contender for international students to study at.

6. Leiden University

Established in 1575, the Leiden University is officially the oldest institution of higher education built in the Netherlands. Based in the historic city of Leiden, the university educates a population of over 29,000 students and has a high reputation for its social sciences education, active students’ union work and rich history. The main campus scattered across the city of Leiden is among the most beautiful in the continent. A secondary campus is located in The Hague. A wealth of undergraduate and graduate programs is offered to the students and the university also places a strong emphasis on research. Leiden University is one of the universities in Netherlands for international students because of its emphasis on internationalization. It operates over 50 world-class research institutions as well and maintains a strong reputation for research with its membership of the Coimbra group and the League of European Research Universities. Added to this, the university boasts prestigious alumni including members of the Dutch Royal Family, politicians, international foreign leaders and eminent academics.

7. TU Delft

The Delft University of Technology (commonly known as the TU Delft) is one of the largest public universities with an emphasis on technology that is based in the city of Delft in Southern Netherlands. It is among the most prestigious institutions of higher education for technology and engineering in the world. Founded in 1842, the university provides academic studies for around 20,000 students through 8 major faculties. The majority of these focus on Engineering (Maritime, Civil, Mechanical, Aerospace etc.). 16 undergraduate programs are offered (of which around 5 are taught in English) while over 40 postgraduate Masters courses are offered as well. Students further have access to a highly active students union with multiple students societies so as to ensure they have an enriching student experience at TU Delft. You should definitely check out this university in Netherlands for international students since it offers great scholarships to international students too!

8. University of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam (or the UvA) is a public research university located in Amsterdam and was established in 1632. With a student population of around 33,000, the university is one of the largest in the Dutch capital and is also the third oldest university in the country. Over 200 degree programs (both undergraduate and postgraduate) are offered by the UvA which are taught primarily in English. It is one of the best choices for a Dutch university for international students due to this, as well as its convenient location in the heart of the Netherlands. This university in the Netherlands for international students has been consistently ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. Furthermore, courses offered in geography, philosophy, Economics, finance and accounting are rated among the global top 50 as well. As means of increasing its internationalization, the UvA also holds several ties with other overseas institutions of higher education and is a member of organizations such as the International Students Exchange Programs the League of European Research Universities.

9. Utrecht University

Established in 1636, the Utrecht University is one of the oldest public universities in the Netherlands. It has a high reputation globally for its academic excellence and is often rated as one of the top 100 universities in the world. The Utrecht provides studies of a student community of 32,000 and operates through 7 major faculties and over 20 different academic departments. It further maintains a strong position in international research and is a member of the League of European Research Universities. For international students, the university offers around 12 English-based undergraduate courses and over 90 English-based postgraduate (Masters) courses. The city of Utrecht is one of the most beautiful and safest cities in the country as well as in Northern Europe and offers an enriching and diverse environment for students to pursue their studies in.

10. Wageningen University

The Wageningen University and Research Institution (or the Wageningen UR) is a public university located in the city of Wageningen in the Central Netherlands. It is the only university in the country with an academic focus on agriculture, environment and life sciences. Founded in 1876, the university provides education for student population exceeding 12,000 who hail from all across the Netherlands as well as the world and offers academic courses and training (at Bachelors, Masters and doctoral training level) in the social and life sciences. Unfortunately, the majority of Bachelors programs require an element of Dutch fluency with the exception of a few courses. Nevertheless, the university is acclaimed for being on the best universities in the world, particularly for studies in the life sciences and is a global member of the Euro-league for Life Sciences network. Added to this, the university’s location in the city of Wageningen is also known as the Food Valley due to the presence of large scale multinational food corporations; this means that students have access to a wealth of post-academic work placements and employment opportunities related to their studies. It is a highly convenient option for international postgraduate students who wish to pursue further studies in the life sciences.

I hope that this article on the best universities in the Netherlands for international students was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Category!

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