Friday, September 30, 2022
Study AbroadStudy Abroad in Netherlands

Study Abroad in Netherlands


Netherlands, a country located in the heart of Europe is one country which is quite popular globally for international business, especially as it has had quite a loaded history of trading across it’s borders. Being a country conversant with merchants traveling long distances to trade and being well traveled merchants themselves, the Dutch people are really open towards buitelanders (a dutch word for Foreigners). For this singular reason, you may love to know what it takes to study abroad in Netherlands.

Netherlands is clearly a country of opportunities and a worthy location for studies. As a country with several entrepreneurs, lots of creative ideas and zeal, the Netherlands may just be that location for your study in Europe.

In the Netherlands, you will obtain quality higher education on low tuition fees. This is even with the education system of the country being at a global standard.

Not only does the Netherlands belong among the non-English speaking countries that offer academic programs in English for International students who want to study in English, it is the first non-English country to begin to offer courses or programs taught in the English language for the benefit of international students who do not know and understand Dutch.

Education in the Netherlands is topnotch and meets all standards set for education globally. The degrees obtained by students from institutions in the Netherlands are recognized by the global community.

The Dutch Education System

The education system in the Netherlands is at a global standard. Kids enroll into a primary school either when they are four or five years old.

Being a non-English speaking country, you might wonder what language is used for tutoring. Netherlands has incorporated bilingual public schools into their education system in order to accommodate international students who study abroad in Netherlands. This development is more common at the secondary school level and at the tertiary level. For the primary level, there are special private international schools which offer bilingual education to pupils.

Primary and secondary schools education is mandatory for every child and after primary schooling, the child decides whether to opt for a vocational study or for further theoretical studies in the secondary school level. Pupils who choose to continue with the theories have the opportunity to pursue a research-based university degree.

Academic institutions in  Netherlands do not tutor in Dutch and English only, they also teach in German or French, depending on the region of the nation where the school is situated. However, most of the time schools tutor in Dutch therefore it is necessary to learn the local language during your stay.

There are student exchange programs which some international schools employ to provide services for international students, seeking those opportunities out and leveraging on them could help you obtain a good spot at a lower cost.

Grading System

As an International student who wants to study abroad in Netherlands you need to know how scores are graded in the country’s education system. This grade system is employed for the secondary and tertiary education programs.

The grading employs a numbered system from 10 to 4, the number 10 being the maximum possible grading.

The number 4 is not the minimum grade however it is the least grade and is assigned as the fail mark. Below is a list of the grades and their meanings.

Grade Meaning
10  Excellent
9 Very good
8 Good
7 Very satisfactory
6 Satisfactory
5 Almost satisfactory
4 Unsatisfactory
3 Very unsatisfactory
2  Poor
1  Very poor

The grade 5 is taken as the pass grade.

High School Program Options in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands at high school level, depending on the student’s dream, the student gets to choose between the three types of secondary education:

  1. The Voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs (VMBO)
  2. The Hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs (HAVO) and
  3. The Voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs (VWO)
  1. The Voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs (VMBO)

Translated to English as the preparatory middle-level applied education, voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs is a pre-vocational education option for students who want a practical experience on vocational professions such as nursing, midwifery and technical works.

The VMBO involves four years of intensive training of which two years is spent in the lower-level and two years in the upper-level.

In the lower level years, the students are exposed to a general education with a wide range of subjects on the chosen profession. This prepares the student for a more intensive education on the course of choice in the higher level.

In the upper level, specialization in the chosen profession becomes the primary focus and after studies, national exams are taken on six subjects. Depending on the study approach, the student gets awarded with either of the four VMBO diploma certifications VMBO-bb, VMBO-kb, VMBO-gl, or VMBO-T. The study approach could be either intensively academic, intensively practical, combined, or basic studies.

After getting the diploma award, students further their vocational training by attending middelbaar beroepsonderwijs (MBO), a vocational training school, for three years. After this, the student becomes a professional in the field.

  1. General Education at either HAVO or VWO

While some children might love to go for the vocational option, others may prefer to go with the more theoretical general education. In general education the child has an option between hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs (HAVO) and voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs (VWO) schools. Both educational programs have three lower-level years in which the student cover a broad range of subjects. The subjects covered are fairly similar in both the HAVO and the VWO.

In upper-level years, the students diversify into a more specialized study according to the program option chosen. In most cases, the program to chose is recommended to the student after considering their performance in the first two years.

After the first three years if the child ends up picking HAVO then he/she will spend two more years in the upper-level to complete the five years HAVO program. The HAVO upper-level is commonly known as senior general secondary education and it prepares the student to attend an applied sciences university (HBO) for courses such as engineering.

In the other hand, if the child chooses the VWO program he/she will spend three more years in the upper-level VWO to complete the six year program. The VWO is a pre-university education which provides the child with the preliminary knowledge for a research based career. After VWO the student can get enrolled in a research university (WO).

It should be noted that the system is not rigid and does not allow only these one directional flows. Students can switch in between programs but it comes at a cost of extra years with extra courses to study in order to bridge the gap between the programs.

Major Differences Between the HAVO and VWO programs


Secondary school education which is usually followed by the HBO type university
Students spend Five years in training; three in lower-level and two in upper-level years
Students would take exams in at least seven subjects before becoming eligible to graduate
There is a more practical approach to learning


Secondary school education which is usually followed by the WO type university
Students spend six years in training; three in lower-level and three in upper-level years
Students would take exams in at least eight subjects before becoming eligible to graduate
There is a more academic approach in the learning process.

Top 10 High Schools to Study Abroad in Netherlands

  1. Amsterdam International Community School
  2. Deutsche Internationale Schule (The Hague)
  3. International School Eindhoven
  4. Le Lycée Français Vincent van Gogh (The Hague)
  5. Rotterdam International Secondary School, Junior and Secondary Campuses
  6. The British School of Amsterdam
  7. Amity International School Amsterdam
  8. Gifted Minds International School
  9. Amstelland International School
  10. International Primary School Almere

Higher Institution in Netherlands

When you study abroad in Netherlands you will notice that the country has some of the oldest reputable universities in the world known for scientific discovery and research. And being one of the countries to introduce English-taught courses at both high school and college level, it is a highly sought after destination for international students. Medical schools, engineering schools, law schools, and business schools in the Netherlands are highly placed in global rankings.

Top ranked Universities in Netherlands

  1. Delft University of Technology
  2. Wageningen University and Research
  3. Erasmus University Rotterdam
  4. University of Amsterdam
  5. University of Twente
  6. University of Amsterdam
  7. University of Maastricht
  8. Delft University of Technology
  9. Utrecht University
  10. Eindhoven University of Technology
  11. Leiden University
  12. Saxon University the Netherlands
  13. University of Tilburg
  14. University of Twente

Courses to Study in Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there are numerous courses to study in the universities, which includes obvious courses which people talk about daily and of course, the pretty obscure ones. Some of the common courses studied in Netherlands are;

  1. Architecture Studies
  2. Art Studies
  3. Aviation
  4. Business Studies
  5. Design Studies
  6. Economic Studies
  7. Education
  8. Engineering Studies
  9. Fashion
  10. Food and Beverage Studies
  11. General Studies
  12. Health Care
  13. Humanities Studies
  14. Journalism and Mass Communication
  15. Languages
  16. Law Studies
  17. Management Studies
  18. Marketing Studies
  19. Natural Sciences
  20. Performing Arts
  21. Social Sciences
  22. Sustainability Studies
  23. Technology Studies
  24. Tourism and Hospitality.

Cost to Study Abroad in Netherlands

The average tuition fee in the Netherlands for a European Union (EU) student is about 1800-4000 Euros each year while that for an international student ranges between 6000-20000 Euros per year.
When set on the same pedestal with other European countries tuition fees to study abroad in Netherlands is quite affordable and the cost of living relatively low. The cost of living in the Netherlands is estimated to be about 800-1000 Euros per month which could be used to take care of feeding, rent, transportation, books, and others.

Scholarships in Netherlands

  1. Orange Knowledge Programme in The Netherlands
  2. University of Twente Scholarships (UTS) 
  3. Holland Scholarship for Non-EEA International Students
  4. L-EARN for Impact Scholarship 
  5. Amsterdam Merit Scholarships for Excellent International Students
  6. Leiden University Excellence Scholarships (LexS)
  7. Erasmus University Holland Scholarship.

Challenges Faced while Studying in Netherlands

  1. Culture Shock
  2. Seemingly Rude attitude of Dutchmen due to their obtuse Directness
  3. Finances
  4. Finding Accommodation
  5. Language Barrier
  6. Homesickness
  7. Increased Stress levels, due to cultural racism.

Requirements for Bachelor’s and Master’s Visa

To obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s Visa into the Netherlands there are a number of requirements and criteria to scale through. Below are some of them.

  1. A Completed visa application form
  2. Valid passport
  3. Two photographs
  4. Birth certificate
  5. Academic transcripts
  6. Official letter from the academic institution in the Netherlands
  7. Complete study plan – explain why you are interested in studying the chosen subject area and how and why it is related to your prior studies
  8. Financial proof for the entire period of study (around 870 EUR/month)
  9. Travel and health insurance
  10. Visa application fee (174 EUR)
  11. Photocopies of all the original documents
  12. Tuberculosis test (required for citizens from some countries)
  13. Photocopies of all the original documents
  14. Biometric information.

Language Requirements to Study Abroad in Netherlands

English Language;

To study in the Netherlands, a minimum level of English language proficiency is required. The accepted English tests are:

  1. IELTS Academic
  2. TOEFL iBT
  3. PTE Academic.


To study for a degree in Dutch as an international student, you will need to prove your degree of fluency in the language.
Presenting a certificate or a result in any of the following tests approves you for a course in Dutch language.

  1. Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal (Certificate of Dutch as a Foreign Language)
  2. Nederlands als Tweede Taal (NT2) (Dutch as a second language).


It is not surprising you chose Netherlands, being one of the best places to study abroad. You might also want to check out some of the other best places to study abroad.

Do you still feel a need for more information? Engage us in the comment section below.

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