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15 Best Universities in Netherlands


In this article is a list of the best universities in Netherlands that you would love as an international student looking to study in the European country.

Netherlands is located in northwestern Europe, with territories in Caribbean. It is also known as Holland with it’s capital in Amsterdam.

The name Netherlands, means “low-lying” and the country is indeed low-lying and actually flat. It has a large expanses of lakes, rivers, and canals.

Which gives room for foreigners to explore the beaches, visit lakes, sight see through the woods and interchange with other cultures. Especially the German, British, French, Chinese and many other cultures.

It is one of the world’s largely populated nations, which continue to have one of the most progressive economies in the world, regardless of the country’s size.

This indeed is a country for adventure. But there are other key reasons why you should pick Netherlands.

However, if you are curious about what it feels like to study in Netherlands, you can get to find out what it is really like to study in Netherlands.

Why Study in Netherlands?

  1. Affordable Tuition/living expenses: Netherlands offer tuition to students, both local and foreign at a low cost. Netherlands tuition is relatively low due to the Dutch higher education which is subsidized by the government.
  2. Quality Education: Dutch educational system and standard of teaching is of high quality. This makes their universities acknowledged in many parts of the country. Their teaching style is unique and their professors friendly and professional.
  3. Degree Recognition: Netherlands is known for a knowledge center with well-known universities. Scientific research done in Netherlands are taken very seriously and any certificate gotten from any of their prestigious universities, is accepted without any doubt.
  4. Multicultural Environment: Netherlands is a country where people of various tribes and culture reside. An estimate of 157 people from different countries, especially students, are found in Netherlands.

15 Best Universities in Netherlands

We will be giving you a list of the 15 best universities in Netherlands, these universities have good rankings. They offer quality education, affordable tuition and a conducive learning environment.

  1. University of Amsterdam

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Rankings: 55th in the world by the QS world university rankings, 14th in Europe and 1st in Netherlands.

Abbreviation: UvA.

About university:

University of Amsterdam, usually known as UvA is a public research university and one of the 15 best universities in Netherlands. It is one of the largest, public research institute in the city, and was established in 1632, then later renamed.

This is the third oldest universities in Netherlands, with over 31,186 students and seven faculties, namely: Behavioral Sciences, Economics and Business, Humanities, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry etc.

Amsterdam has produced six Nobel laureates and five prime ministers of the Netherlands.

It is indeed one of the best universities in Netherlands.

  1. Utrecht University

Location: Utrecht, Utrecht province, Netherlands.

Ranking: 13th in Europe and 49th in the world.

Abbreviation: UU.

About university:

Utrecht University is one of the oldest and best universities in Netherlands, which focuses on research and history.

Utrecht was established on 26 march 1636, however, Utrecht University has been producing a good number of distinguished scholars among its alumni and faculty.

This includes, 12 Nobel Prize laureates and 13 Spinoza Prize laureates, nevertheless, this and more has placed Utrecht University consistently among the top 100 universities in the world.

This university is ranked one of the 15 best universities in Netherlands by Shanghai ranking of world universities.

It has over 31,801 students, several staffs and seven faculties, these are; Faculty of Geo-sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Faculties of law, Economics and Governance, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

  1. University of Groningen 

Location: Groningen, Netherlands.   

Ranking:  3rd in Netherlands, 25th in Europe and 77th in the world.

Abbreviation: RUG.

About university:  

University of Groningen was founded in 1614, it is one, on the list of the best universities in Netherlands. It is one of the most traditional and prestigious schools in Netherlands.

This University has 11 faculties, 9 graduate schools, 27 research centres and institutes, including more than 175 degree programmes.

It also has alumni’s that are winners of the Nobel Prize, Spinoza Prize, and Stevin Prize, not only these, but also; members of the Royal Dutch family, multiple mayors, the first president of the European Central Bank and a secretary general of NATO.

Groningen University has over 34,000 students, as well as 4,350 doctoral students together with numerous staffs.

  1. Erasmus University Rotterdam

Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Ranking: 69th in the world in 2017 by Times Higher Education, 17th in Business and Economics, 42nd in clinical health, etc.

Abbreviation: EUR.

About university:

This university get its name from Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, which is a 15th century humanist and theologian.

Apart from being one of the best universities in Netherlands, it also has the largest and foremost academic medical centres, likewise trauma centres in Netherlands.

It is best ranked and these rankings are worldwide, making this university stand out.

Finally, this university has 7 faculties which focuses on just four areas, namely; Health, Wealth, Governance and Culture.

  1. Leiden University

Location: Leiden and The Hague, South Holland, Netherlands.

Ranking: top 50 worldwide in 13 fields of study. Etc.

Abbreviation: LEI.

About university:

Leiden University is a public research university in Netherlands, founded and established on the 8th February 1575 by William Prince of Orange.

It was given as a reward to the city of Leiden for its defense against Spanish attacks during the Eighty Year’s War. It is one of the oldest and best universities in Netherlands, as well as reputable.

This university is known for its historical background and its emphasis on social sciences.

It has over 29,542 students and 7000 staffs, both academic and administrative.

Leiden proudly has, seven faculties and more than fifty departments. However, it is also housing over 40 national and international research institutes.

This university consistently ranks among the top 100 universities in the world by international rankings.

Produced 21 Spinoza Prize Laureates and 16 Nobel Laureates, which includes Enrico Fermi and Albert Einstein.

  1. Maastricht University

Location: Maastricht, Netherlands.

Ranking: 88th place in the Times Higher Education World Ranking in 2016 and 4th among young universities. Etc.

Abbreviation: UM.

About university:  

Maastricht University is another public research university in Netherlands. It was founded in 1976 and established on the 9th January 1976.

Apart from being one of the 15 best universities in Netherlands, it is the second youngest of the Dutch universities.

It has over 21,085 students, whereas 55% are foreign. Moreover, about half of the Bachelor’s programmes are offered in English, whilst the others are taught partially or wholly in Dutch.

In addition to the number of students, this university has an average of 4,000 staffs, both administrative and academic.

This university frequently ranks top on the chart of Europe’s leading universities. It ranked among the top 300 universities in the world by five major ranking tables.

In the year 2013, Maastricht was the second Dutch university to be rewarded the Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalization by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).

  1. Radboud University

Location: Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands.

Ranking: 105th in 2020 by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Abbreviation: RU.

About university:

Radboud University, formerly known as Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, bears the name of Saint Radboud, a 9th century Dutch bishop. He was known for his support and knowledge of the less privileged.

This university was established in 17th October 1923, it has over 24,678 students and 2,735 administrative staffs.

Radboud University has been included in the top 150 universities in the world by four major ranking tables.

In addition to this, Radboud University has alumni’s of 12 Spinoza Prize laureates, 1 Nobel Prize laureate, that is, Sir Konstantin Novoselov, who discovered graphene. Etc.

  1. Wageningen University & Research

Location: Wageningen, Gelderland, Netherlands.

Ranking: 59th in the world by the Times Higher Education Ranking, worlds best in agriculture and forestry by the QS World University Rankings. Etc.

Abbreviation: WUR

About university:

This is a public university which specializes in technical and engineering sciences. Nevertheless, Wageningen University also focuses on life sciences and agricultural research.

Wageningen University was established in 1876 as an agricultural college and was recognized in 1918 as a public university.

This university has over 12,000 students from over 100 countries. It is also a member of the, Euroleague for Life Sciences (ELLS) university network, known for its agriculture, forestry and environmental study programs.

WUR was placed among the top 150 universities in the world, this is by four major ranking tables. It was voted top university in the Netherlands for fifteen years.

  1. Eindhoven University of Technology

Location: Eindhoven, North Brabant, Netherlands.  

Ranking: 99th in the world by QS World University Ranking in 2019, 34th in Europe, 3rd in Netherlands. Etc.

Abbreviation: TU/e

About university:

Eindhoven University of Technology is a public technical school with over 13000 students and 3900 staffs. It was established on the 23rd of June 1956.

This university has been ranked in the top 200 universities in three major ranking systems, from the year 2012 to 2019.

TU/e is a member of the EuroTech Universities Alliance, a partnership of universities of science and technology in Europe.

It has nine faculties, namely: Biomedical Engineering, Built Environment, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Design, Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences, Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering, finally, Mathematics and Computer Science.

  1. Vrije University

Location: Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands.

Ranking: 146th in the CWUR World University Ranking in 2019-2020, 171st in the QS World University Ranking in 2014. Etc.

Abbreviation: VU

About University:

Vrije university was founded and established in 1880 and have consistently ranked among the best universities in Netherlands.

VU is one of the large, public funded research universities in Amsterdam. This university is ‘Free’. This refers to the independency of the university from both the State and the Dutch reformed church, thereby giving it its name.

Although, founded as a private university, this university has received government funding on an occasional basis just like public universities since 1970.

It has over 29,796 students and 3000 staffs. The university has 10 faculties and these faculties offer: 50 bachelor programmes, 160 master’s and a number of PhD. However, the language of instruction for most bachelor courses is Dutch.

  1. University of Twente

Location: Enschede, Netherlands.

Ranking: Among the 200 most prestigious universities by Times Higher Education Ranking

Abbreviation: UT

About university:

University of Twente collaborates with other universities under the umbrella of 3TU, it is also a partner in the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU).

It is one of the best universities in Netherlands that is among the top 200 universities in the world, by multiple central ranking tables.

This university was founded in 1961, it became the third polytechnic institute to become a university in Netherlands.

Technische Hogeschool Twente (THT) was its first name, however, it was renamed in 1986 as a result of the changes in the Dutch Academic Education Act in 1964.

There are 5 faculties in this university, each organized into several departments. Moreover, it has over 12,544 students, 3,150 administrative staffs and several campuses.

12. Tilburg University

Location: Tilburg, Netherlands.

Ranking: 5th in the field of Business Administration by Shanghai Ranking in 2020 and 12th in Finance, worldwide. 1st in Netherlands for the last 3 years by Elsevier Magazine. Etc.

Abbreviation: None.

About University:

Tilburg University is a university specialized in Social and Behavioral Sciences, as well as, Economics, Law, Business Sciences, Theology and Humanities. This university has made its way among the best universities in Netherlands.

This university has a population of about 19,334 students, whereby 18% of them are international students. Although, this percentage has increased over years.

It also has a good number of staffs, both administrative and academic.

The university has a good reputation in both research and education, even though, it is a public research university. It awards approximately 120 PhDs yearly.

Tilburg University was founded and established in 1927. It has 5 faculties, which include the school of Economics and Management, which is the largest and oldest faculty in the school.

This school have several undergraduate and graduate programmes taught in English. Tilburg has different research centres which makes it easier for students to learn.

13. HAN University of Applied Sciences

Location: Arnhem and Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Ranking: None presently.

Abbreviation: Known as HAN.

About university:  

HAN University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest and best universities in Netherlands. Especially, in terms of applied sciences.

It has over 36,000 students and 4,000 staffs. HAN is particularly that knowledge institute found in Gelderland, it has campuses in Arnhem and Nijmegen.

On the 1st of February 1996, HAN conglomerate was established. Then, it became the large, broad based educational institution. Thereafter, the number of students increased, while the cost decreased.

However, this is entirely in line with the goals of the government and the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences.

Nevertheless, the university changed its name from, Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen, to HAN University of Applied Sciences. Although, HAN has 14 schools within the university, these include: School of Built Environment, School of Business and Communication, etc.

That does not exclude the various undergraduate and postgraduate programs. This university is not just known for its foundation and great alumni’s, but also as one of the best universities in Netherlands.

14. Delft University of Technology

 Location: Delft, Netherlands.

Ranking: 15th by QS World University Ranking in 2020, 19th by Times Higher Education World University Ranking in 2019. Etc.

Abbreviation: TU Delft.

About University:

Delft University of Technology is the oldest and largest Dutch public-technical university in Netherlands.

It has been consistently ranked as one of the best universities in Netherlands and in the year 2020, it was on the list of the top 15 best universities of engineering and technology in the world.

This university has 8 faculties and numerous research institutes. It has over 26,000 students and 6,000 staffs.

However, it was established on the 8th January 1842 by William II of the Netherlands, this university was first a Royal Academy, training civil servants for work in the Dutch East Indies.

Meanwhile, the school expanded in its research and after series of changes, it became a proper university. It adopted the name, Delft University of Technology in 1986 and over the years, it has produced several Nobel alumni’s.

15. Nyenrode Business University

Location: Breukelen, Netherlands.

Ranking: 41st by Financial Times Ranking for European Business Schools in 2020. 27th for open programmes by the Financial Times Ranking for executive education programmes in 2020. Etc.

Abbreviation: NBU

About University:

Nyenrode Business University is a Dutch Business University and one of the five private universities in Netherlands. However, it is also counted among the 15 best universities in Netherlands.

It was founded in 1946 and this educational institute was founded under the name; Netherlands Training Institute for Abroad. However, after its establishment in 1946, it was renamed.

This university has a full-time and part-time programme, which gives its students the room to school and work.

Nevertheless, it has a variety of programmes for both graduate and undergraduate students. This university is fully accredited by the Association of AMBAs and others.

Nyenrode Business University has a good number of students, which includes international students. Moreover, it has several faculties and staffs, both administrative and academic.


As you have seen, each of these universities have their unique, distinct features. Most of them are public research universities, however, for more detailed information on each of these universities, please follow the link attached.

To apply for any of the above universities, you can follow the instructions on the university main site, through the link attached to its name. Or, you can use Studielink.

You can check study abroad in Netherlands for more information on Netherlands.

Meanwhile, for the international, masters students who are confused on how to go about the preparation to study in Netherlands, you can checkout how to prepare for masters in Netherlands for international students.

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