Study in Holland


If you decide to study in Holland, you will want to acquire basic knowledge about the country and its culture. Holland has a rich history and there is a lot to know. Commonly referred to as the Netherlands, it is divided into 12 provinces. Two of its provinces, namely Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, are together called Holland but the name has stuck with the entire country. The native population and the language they speak both are called Dutch.

Holland is well known for the excellent quality of its higher educational institutions. It is home to some of the top-ranking universities in the world. 

  • Two of Holland’s universities are included among the top 100 of the world in 2020 QS World University Rankings with the Delft University of Technology holding the 54th spot and the University of Amsterdam occupying the 64th position on the list.

  • Eleven of Holland’s universities are featured in the Top 200 Universities of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

  • The global reputation enjoyed by Dutch universities has helped place a sizeable population of international students in Holland. Out of the approximate total student enrollment in Holland of 1,22,000 (for 2017-18 session), around a tenth are international students.

It can be easily inferred that Holland is one of the preferred destinations for higher education in Europe, especially in the fields of Engineering, Economics & Business, and Human & Social Sciences. However, the country is often overlooked by Indian students in favour of countries such as the USA, Canada, Germany etc. This can be attributed more to a comparative lack of awareness about the higher education scene in Holland than to any other factor. In fact, there are a number of reasons that strongly support the argument for completing your bachelor’s or master’s study in Holland.

The Dutch government, itself, aims to encourage talented international students to study in Holland. International students who complete their higher education from Holland can apply for an orientation year in the country. Under the orientation year, a residential permit of one year is offered to the student and the holder of this permit is allowed to apply for jobs or open a business in Holland. The applicant must have completed a Bachelor’s, Masters or Doctoral programme from Holland to be eligible for the orientation year.

Education System in Holland

The educational institutions in Holland can be broadly categorised into three groups:

  • Government-funded Institutions: As the name suggests, the funding for these institutions is approved by the Dutch government. Students need to pay the University fee as approved by the government. 

  • Private-sector Institutions: These are foreign universities and business schools and do not strictly follow the rules defined by the government.

  • Legal Entities Providing Higher Education: Legal entities are not funded by the Ministry of Education but they follow the terms set by the Higher Education and Research Act.

Depending upon the type of courses offered by them, these can mainly be placed in two categories with various other educational institutions coming under a third.

  • Research Universities: Institutions focusing on research-oriented programmes and curriculum. There are 14 research universities in Holland.

  • Universities of Applied Sciences: Institutions focusing on preparing students for work in a specific field. They have a curriculum defined by the practical applications of arts and sciences. Holland has 41 universities of applied sciences.

  • Others: Other educational institutions in Holland are:

    • Institutes for International Education: Offering programmes catered to international students. They offer Doctoral, MA and MSc programmes and also have short-term courses.

    • University Colleges: Honors colleges that are a part of large research universities and have a focus on international education.

Degrees in Holland

The higher education system of Holland is divided into three levels of education. Each of these has been explained below.

Bachelor’s Programmes

The following types of bachelor-level degrees are offered by the higher educational institutions in Holland.



Offering Institutions

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

3 years

Research Universities

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

3 years

Research Universities

Bachelor (B)

4 years

Universities of Applied Sciences

Bachelor-level courses are designed to offer primary training and a learning platform to the students.

Dutch institutions offer two types of Bachelor’s degree programmes — broad courses and narrow courses. Narrow courses allow students to opt for a specific area of study whereas in the broad course students can choose major and minor subjects.

Bachelor’s courses help students to acquire specific skills and knowledge as well as improve their analytical skills. The students who complete their Bachelor’s degree can either opt for a job or they can further pursue a Master’s degree in a relevant field. 

Master’s Programmes

The following types of master’s degrees are offered Dutch higher educational establishments.



Type of Institutions

Master of Arts (MA)

1 - 2 years

Research Universities

Institutes for International Education

Master of Science (MSc)

1 - 2 years

Master (M)

1 - 2 years

Universities of Applied Sciences

Only the students who have completed a bachelors degree programme can opt for a masters-level course. The students are eligible for financial support for a year under the master’s programme. The students who complete a master’s degree can pursue a career in the teaching profession, advance their academic career by pursuing a PhD or consider starting their own business.

Doctoral Programmes

Doctoral programmes in Holland are offered by Research Universities and Institutes for International Education. Students who completed this programme get a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degree.

While the duration of PhD programmes at Research Universities is fixed at 4 years, the PhD programme at Institutes for International Education can be variable in duration.

PhD is the highest degree that is awarded to a student in Holland. A student must hold a Master’s degree to apply for a Doctoral programme. Doctoral programmes are research-based and required candidates to write a dissertation or thesis, which must be based on original research and education during their years of study. They can complete their research programme as a professor at their university.

Why Study in Holland?

Holland is one of the most popular destinations for higher education in Europe. Every year, students from various countries enrol for admission in different universities in Holland. It is because Holland has some of the world’s best universities such as the Delft University of Technology, University of Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research, Leiden University, Erasmus University Rotterdam just to name a few.

If you are planning to study in Europe, Holland is one of the best choices for an international higher education aspirant and the following are some of the reasons why.

Holland is Affordable

Going for higher education in a foreign country can take a hefty chunk of money out of one’s pockets and, hence, it is one of the most important considerations while planning to study abroad. Fortunately, since higher education in Holland is subsidized, the cost of study in Holland is much lower than most other popular destinations for international education such as the US and the UK. Plus, there are a number of scholarships available for international students in Holland, which further brings down the cost of education.

Holland offers Quality Education

The universities in Holland encourage innovative thinking and support modern technology. They provide some of the best theoretical and practical experiences to the students. 

Class sizes are kept small to encourage one-on-one interaction between students and professors. Apart from theory and practical session, the soft skills of the students are also enhanced through interactive sessions and seminars. All these factors helps a student excel in their professional field and gain good returns on their investments.

Holland Speaks English

More than 95% of the Dutch population speaks the English language, making it easy for an international student to live and study in the country. Plus, Dutch universities offer more than 2,000 English-taught programmes, the highest of any country in Continental Europe.

Holland has a Central Location

Holland is centrally located on the continent of Europe. It is well-connected to the famous cities of Europe like Paris, Berlin, Brussels, London etc. The transportation cost from one city to another within Europe is also affordable and students can easily the air fare between popular destinations. Thus, students who land in Holland can explore different places and diversity in tradition and culture.

Holland is Diverse

Holland supports a rich diversity of tradition, culture, ideas and theologies. Not only is a wide spectra of nationalities are represented by the international student body in Holland but its native population is also made up of people of many different heritages, faiths, religions and traditions. The result is a culture that is a mix of different beliefs and traditions that is one-of-its-kind, welcoming and friendly towards people of all nationalities.

Holland is Happy

Holland is one of the top 10 happiest countries in the world. It has also been ranked as one of the safest in the world in the Global Peace Index 2016. The country has a very low crime rate even in its largest cities and common sense is all it takes to have a safe and happy stay in Holland.

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