1. Higher education in the Netherlands

Our website Study in Holland is designed particularly for British students who are interested in the Netherlands and you are welcome to visit these for full information.

The Netherlands is currently the most attractive destination for British students looking to go abroad. The Netherlands is a highly outward-looking country and its economy is perhaps the most international in Europe. Knowledge of English is so good that it is possible to survive almost entirely in the English language (and watch BBC television without paying the license fee). This recent webinar with the University of Groningen should give you a good insight into studying at a Dutch university.


1.1 Accreditation and recognition


Dutch universities have a general reputation for well-designed, modern courses and facilities but who accredits their qualifications? Since 2002 the NVAO (Netherlands and Flemish Accreditation Organisation) has been responsible for recognising all degrees in The Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium. Every course is checked thoroughly upon its introduction and then once again every six years. As a result, you can rest assured that the quality of Dutch higher education is checked regularly and is expected to maintain a high standard.

The NVAO checks not only the academic content of Dutch degrees but also their real-life relevance and compatibility with the needs of the local economy. The NVAO also aims to increase the international mobility of students with Dutch degrees by improving the comparability of qualifications and maximising the transparency of the subjects studied.

As a result of the European Union’s Bologna process, all degrees taught within the European Union should be of a notionally similar standard so there should not be issues with Dutch degrees for students who wish to return to the UK upon graduation.

We are not aware of any courses taught in English that do not have NVAO accreditation but it is always worth checking.

University Inspections and Quality Control

Responsibility for inspecting the quality of teaching at Dutch universities lies with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap). The Ministry checks all courses at regular intervals and inspection reports are published regularly.


Dutch research universities perform well in many of the world’s rankings of leading universities and the general trend is upwards. Indeed, all 13 research universities are in the Top 225 in the world according to the Times Higher Education rankings. The most recent Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Jiao Tong Rankings) places three Dutch universities in the world's top 100 universities. This ranking focuses purely on research strength.

Dutch students tend to choose universities based more on the overall reputation of the university with employers, within its local community and amongst fellow students. Rankings of post-graduation employment prospects and student experience are widely available.

1.2 Entry requirements for Dutch universities

For undergraduate study, Dutch research universities will require you to have a minimum of CCC at A' level. Some universities will require your A' levels to be in "facilitating subjects" meaning that that more vocational A' levels might not be considered appropriate. You will also need GCSEs at 9 to 5 in at least three additional subjects.

For universities of applied sciences you only need two A levels at any grade plus four GCSEs at 9 to 5 (A* to C).

These are the general minimum requirements. For many Dutch Bachelor's degrees it is likely that the entry requirements might increase in the next years. This is because of the huge increase in applications many universities are receiving post-Brexit.

1.3 How to apply

The admissions calendar usually opens on 1st October for the following September. There is also a February application window but this is uncommon for English-taught Bachelor's degrees.

The closing date for submitting an application varies per course at each Dutch University. There are usually different deadlines for EU and non-EU applicants. Please see our deadline page for further details.

Students will need to submit an application to the University through the national Dutch registration service, Studielink.

Find out more about Studielink on the Study in Holland website.

2. How much does it cost to study in the Netherlands?

2.1 Tuition fees at Dutch universities

Standard tuition fees in 2022/2023 are €2,209 for EU nationals but for non-EU nationals they can be a lot higher. As the fees vary for each degree, please refer to the relevant course pages on our website.

There are some exceptions to the standard tuition fees and private universities will almost always be more expensive. However, these fees are correct for the majority of courses taught in English in the Netherlands. Fees are set by the government and every year they increase in line with inflation.

The University Colleges in the Netherlands charge higher tuition fees. These are never more than double the standard tuition fee and in some cases are only slightly higher.

2.2 Loans and grants

Please check the "Loans and Grants" page on our website Study in Holland for more information.

2.2 Costs of living in the Netherlands

The cost of living is the main expense involved in studying in the Netherlands. But even here, the costs are unlikely to be higher than those involved in studying in the United Kingdom. Some cities are obviously more expensive than others, with Amsterdam being the most expensive destination.

Each month you are at university will cost you approximately the following amount:

Rent €450 – €800
Study Materials €50
Insurance €50
Groceries €230
Going out / sports €110
Clothes €100
Total €990 - €1,340 

3. Student life in the Netherlands

3.1 Accommodation

Most students in the Netherlands live in shared student housing, just as they do in the United Kingdom. The size of such houses varies but most are shared by four of five students. The rent in shared houses typically costs between €300 and €500 (£215 - £360) a month, depending on size, location and furnishing. Almost all Dutch cities are experiencing housing difficulties at this time. Please make sure that you apply for housing as soon as you can. Students who wait until the summer to arrange a room will be unlikely to find a suitable option.

Dutch universities will often help you find a room even though they never own their own housing. However, the provision of university accommodation varies dramatically from institution to institution.

Many Dutch universities negotiate with private landlords on behalf of students. In effect they rent a block of rooms and then sub-let them to students, meaning that you only have to deal with the university housing office. Dutch universities usually decide how many rooms they will need for the forthcoming academic year in May. If you apply for housing after this time you may not be able to find anything through this channel.

The housing office at a Dutch university will often charge for its services (in the case of Groningen this is currently €300, or £215) but this does guarantee you will receive the offer of a room. Once you have been living in the Netherlands for a while you will probably have no need of such a service but in our experience, British students who have moved to the Netherlands are usually glad that they took advantage of this service. Those students who didn't use the Housing Office have often had difficulties with accommodation but nothing too serious.

It is also extremely important to have an address in the Netherlands by 1st October.If you are not a registered resident by that date you will be treated as a foreigner meaning that you might have to pay international tuition fees  and you will not be able to access financial support as an EU student. This is never a problem for British students but it does mean that landlords can push up the rent for really bad rooms as students start to get desperate.

As with universities anywhere on the planet, once you have decided where to go, take steps to get your accommodation sorted out as soon as you can and you will be fine. Leave it to the last minute and you might be in for a bumpy ride.

3.2 Health Insurance

Students in the Netherlands can use a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) from the British government. If you need a visa, you will also need to have health insurance in the Netherlands. The cost of this insurance is usually around €90 a month.

Universities in Netherlands

About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.