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Universities in the Netherlands

Bordering Germany and Belgium in north-west Europe, the Netherlands is an excellent destination for international students due to its location in Europe, high quality education and interesting history and culture, with plenty of experiences to explore.

The official language spoken in the Netherlands is Dutch, but you will find that many in the country speak English to a good standard, which will help you to get by whilst you pick up the local language.

Read more about studying in the Netherlands as an international student.

The types of university in the Netherlands

There are two main types of university in the Netherlands, and whilst they may both be referred to as a university, their focuses are different.

  • Universities of applied sciences, known as hogescholen in Dutch, focus on the practical application of subjects in sciences and art, with the intention of preparing their graduates for their chosen future careers.
  • Research universities, known as universiteit in Dutch, are perhaps more rigorous academic institutions, with a greater focus on research and education. There are several research universities in the Netherlands with a historical background,  including the University of Amsterdam, established in 1632, Leiden University, established in 1575 and Utrecht University, established in 1636.

Popular cities for students

Some of the most popular cities in the Netherlands for international students include:

  • Amsterdam – the capital of the Netherlands, home to over 10 universities
  • Rotterdam – a major port city in the Netherlands, with 6 universities
  • Utrecht – one of the largest cities in the Netherlands, with 5 universities
  • Leiden – located in the province of South Holland, with 3 universities
  • Groningen – the largest city in the north of the Netherlands, Groningen is home to 3 universities

The top universities

The Netherlands boasts several of the world’s top universities, with programmes taught in English, making it a very attractive location for international students.

This includes 5 universities that feature in Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2024 top 100: Delft University of Technology, University of Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research, Leiden University and University of Groningen.

We have compiled a list of some of the top universities and higher education providers in the Netherlands to browse below. Click on universities you are interested in below to read more and to see what courses are available for international students.

Highlighted courses in The Netherlands

Horticulture & Business Management BSc

HAS green academy Netherlands

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Biomedical Sciences Master Degree

University of Groningen Netherlands

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Health Economics Master

Erasmus School of Economics Netherlands

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International Business Management BBA

Tio Business School Netherlands

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Social and Behavioural Sciences BSc

Erasmus University College Netherlands

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Trend Research & Concept Creation in Lifestyle Bachelor Degree

Fontys Academy for the Creative Economy, Fontys University of Applied Science Netherlands

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Bachelor of Business Administration BBA

IC University of Applied Sciences – Amsterdam Netherlands

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Economics MSc

Radboud University, Nijmegen School of Management Netherlands

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