The Netherlands is a top attraction spot for not only travellers and tourists but also you – the student. Besides beautiful cities, majestical canals and notorious bike lanes, Holland also is a top country for education. That is why many students choose to study in Holland rather than any other country in Europe. In this blog post we will go over why you should consider and are encouraged to study in Holland. We will cover topics like the Dutch education system, available programs in Holland, scholarships, life here and finally some helpful resources for you to know more about studying in Holland.
Why study in Holland
Holland is a special place – and this is an understatement. Arguably located in the centre of Europe which means you can fly wherever you want with ease, Holland gives you everything that you expect when moving into a new country: a new culture, new people and new reasons to pay for Dutch experiences, in example, boat tours in the Dutch canals. Let’s not forget about the great education you will receive.
According to Times Higher Education 2022 rankings of the best universities in the world, 7 Dutch universities are in the top 100. That is really good, especially when you realise that there are 195 countries which have at least 1 university but mostly it is more. So having 7 universities and in the top 100, there are some bragging rights for Holland universities. And the main Holland cities are represented in that list: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Delft and Leiden.
Quick game! What comes with good universities? If you answered students you are correct, 10 points to you! Holland has a diverse group of international and national students. It is very likely you will meet people from all continents during your studies and get lifelong friendships that will guide you through hardships and challenges. In 2020 alone there were 103 thousand enrolled international students in Holland, that is a lot!
The mind-blowing Cupola of Haarlem Campus
Dutch education system
When coming to Holland to study in a university, there are two types you can choose from: research and applied science universities. A WO or research university is more theoretical by nature and you can expect big lecture rooms with a lot of students writing down theories that they will memorise for a written exam. A HBO or applied science school is more practical and involves more doing, so it has less written exams and is more focused on the practical labour market. If you are in it for the bragging rights, a WO is the highest level of education in the Netherlands but it does have different and mostly higher admission requirements.
Ok, so you might be asking now, “how do I get into those programmes?” And we have an answer to you: many places. Most universities use a platform called Studielink.nl for students to apply to their programmes but some universities have a different platform to do it. The main thing is that you can apply through a university’s website.
Types of study programs available
In Holland, you can find both Master’s and Bachelor program. When it comes to bachelor studies, the study years vary between a HBO (like Haarlem Campus) and WO (research university, like UvA). HBOs are 4 year studies, WOs are 3 years. Masters most commonly are one year, however there are also programs which last up to two years. Please not that Haarlem Campus do not offer Master’s program yet, but plan to in the near future, so stay tunned.
Holland has arguably two national languages: Dutch and English. English is so popular in Holland that every university has English taught programmes you can choose from. The Netherlands is a multilingual country, where almost everyone speaks English. English is so common here that more than 80% of universities offer English taught programs thus making Holland very suitable for expats.
Housing in Holland
The simplest way to summarize living and studying in the Netherlands is in one Dutch word/slang: Lekker. What’s good about it? It is a unique experience and you will meet many new people. The hardest part of living in the Netherlands is finding a place to stay. It takes time and stress, but once you have the keys, you jump so high you can touch the sky. Some ways students, especially internationals, can find housing are through DUWO, Facebook or Funda. DUWO offers housing for students only, making it a lot cheaper than renting a room through a real estate agent in, say, Amsterdam or Haarlem.
Don’t want to worry about finding housing? Haarlem Campus offers all of our students guaranteed housing! Want to know more? Then click here.
Student life in Holland is like any other city, but better. Why? Holland has student events, discounts for students, plenty of museums to visit, an amazing community of internationals to have a beer with on Thursdays and Fridays, plenty of clubs to visit ranging from different styles of music, especially on ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), hikes and day-trips to other Holland regions. It really has it all and more.
Holland is a place where money is spent, and quite a lot of it. An average month can cost around €900 – €1400. Here is a more detailed breakdown:
- Visa/residence permit (if not EU national): € 210, one-time fee
- accommodation: €350 – €800 per month
- general living expenses: €400 – €500 per month
- insurance: €35 – €100 per month (some schools offer it and some don’t, so be sure to ask about it)
- public transport (optional): €40 – €100 (can be more if you live in a different city and have to take a train to school)
- Books and study materials: €200 – €250 per year
Scholarships and funding opportunities
Most universities offer scholarship options, and they are clearly listed on their respective websites. Scholarships do have to be applied to months before the study starts and require special requirements that differ from normal admission requirements.
If scholarships are not your thing or you can’t get one, there are more options available to fund your studies in Holland. One of them being the governing body in Holland, DUO. Getting a loan from DUO for students is not that difficult but do be careful as it is an option that if not fully aware of can lead to trouble in the future.
Another option is to get employed. This can be a tricky feat as the job market looks for Dutch speakers but there are places where English is preferred, or what is even more clever and can yield better results is to go to a store that specialises in your country and ask if they need a native speaker there to work. You should never fully depend on this option but it is nice to have it at the back of your mind.
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