The Netherlands, or Holland: one of the most popular countries in Europe for international students. No wonder, with some of the world’s finest universities, a modern approach to education and a welcoming environment.
Many people think that “Holland” and “Netherlands” mean the same thing. Even within the country, you may hear locals saying “Holland” when referring to the whole country. Technically, however, that is not correct. The country as a whole is called the Netherlands. It consists of twelve provinces; two of these provinces make up the Holland region, split into North and South Holland (Noord- and Zuid-Holland, respectively).
The widespread colloquial use of “Holland” as a term for the country as a whole originated in the 17th century, when Holland was the most influential of the Dutch provinces. The Holland region still represents a sizeable share of the population; the three largest cities in the Netherlands are located here - Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague (Den Haag). Therefore, “Holland” remains synonymous with “the Netherlands” for many people. And last, but not least: The official organisation that promotes the country as a study destination is also called “Study in Holland”.
In Europe, the Netherlands was very early to adopt the Bachelor/Master system and offer degree programmes in English. This has lead to one of the largest selections of courses on the continent. You can choose between plenty of Bachelor and Master degrees at around 70 institutions of higher education.
You can also expect a large community of international students: More than 112,000 students from around the world. Around 16% of all students come from abroad - one of the highest ratios anywhere in Europe.
As in other European countries, universities in Holland are commonly classified as either “research universities”, offering more research-oriented academic programmes, or “universities of applied sciences”, offering more practice-oriented study programmes.
The tuition fees in Holland are roughly on par with other countries in Europe.
If you are a student from the European Union, you should expect to pay around 2,000 euros per year for your studies.
The tuition fees for non-EU students vary from school to school and from programme to programme. Bachelor’s programmes typically cost between 6,000 and 15,000 euros per year; Master’s programmes in Holland usually cost between 8,000 and 20,000 euros per year.
One stereotype about Dutch people is that they have negotiation in their blood. The Netherlands with its seafaring history has long since been an important nation for international trade. It was here that the concept of a joint stock company was invented.
Some of the world’s largest companies are Dutch, and many global groups have their European headquarters in the Netherlands. Paired with the country’s international mindset, you find a workforce that is highly proficient in English and very welcoming towards foreign employees. Those are pristine conditions for international students. If you graduate with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a Dutch university, you will stand a good chance at also finding a job and staying for a longer time.
The country’s most important airport by far is Amsterdam-Schiphol; as one of Europe’s busiest hubs, you can reach it easily from almost anywhere in the world.
The Netherlands is a relatively small, but densely populated country. With numerous connections it is fairly easy to explore other cities and the countryside. If the weather allows, you might even consider an extended bike tour. After all, like virtually everyone else who studies in Holland, you should acquire a bike soon after arrival.
If you want to go further, you can easily take short trips to neighbouring Germany or Belgium. And via train or plane, the rest of Europe is also within reach if you feel like exploring.