Most of the student life in Holland happens off-campus. Although the buildings of a single university might be spread throughout a city and only some higher education institutions have campuses, they do have a real student culture.

Each institution has a network of associations that bring students together for academic activities, sports and recreation. All of these associations are run by students, and some of them are internationally oriented. Two of the larger international student associations are AIESEC and the Erasmus Student Network (ESN).

Many cities also have several separate student associations, not connected to any institution. And there are usually pubs, restaurants and other meeting places where many students hang out.

Generally speaking, the Dutch higher education community seeks to be part of society and is not isolated from it.

Leisure

There is plenty to see in Holland, whether you’re strolling through town, making a boat trip on the canals or lakes, lazing on the beach or walking in the woods and dunes.

Major international music stars regularly play at Dutch stadiums and smaller venues. Musicals and theatre are also very popular and with over 1,000 museums there is a lot to discover.

And don’t be surprised to see people dressed in orange and partying in the street on King’s Day or during international football championships.

Tuition fees are low and life is comparatively cheap.

Tuition fees

  • Annual tuition fees for EU students start at approximately €1,950.
  • For non-EU students the average tuition fee for bachelor’s programmes is between €6,000 and €15,000, for a master’s programme between €8,000 and €20,000.

Visit our Studyfinder database to check the exact amounts per course.

Cost of living

Experience has shown that students living and studying in Holland for one year spend between €800 and €1,100 a month.

As a student you can get discounts in many bars, restaurants, museums and cinemas.

What kind of expenses should you expect when coming to Holland?

Your daily expenses include food, public transport, books, clothes, and cinema tickets. But you also need to take into account the costs for housing and insurance. Experience has shown that students living and studying in Holland for one year spend between €800 and €1,100 a month.

Housing

If you have an average student income – from a scholarship for example – you will find that one-third of it will go towards housing. An average room in Holland costs somewhere between €300 to €600 a month.

The costs depend on the city where you study, what is included in the rent and the arrangements made by the institution. Housing in Amsterdam for example is more expensive than in smaller towns.

You can find more information about accommodation in our section on Housing.

Food

Food is estimated to take another third of your income. Fortunately, most higher education institutions offer hot meals at reasonable prices. Many cities have pubs (eetcafés) where you can get a good meal at a good price. But the cheapest way to eat is to do your own cooking.

Some average prices: a cup of coffee/tea in a café: €2, a cheese sandwich: €3, dinner in a typical student restaurant: €10. Most supermarkets offer a variety of brands. It is worth comparing the prices to find the cheapest option.

Other expenses

The remaining third of your income will go towards leisure, books, travel and other expenses.

You can get around town easily on a bicycle. This is not only typically Dutch but also a cheap means of transportation. Bus tickets cost around €2 for a single fare in the city. You can consider buying a discount card for train tickets, which gives you 40% reduction in off-peak times. Visit the website of the Dutch railways for more information.

Cinema tickets cost about €11.50 but most cinemas give student discounts.

Student discounts

Many bars, restaurants, museums and cinemas give student discounts. Most of these ask for proof in the form of a student card from your institution. You should check in advance if a student discount is available.

Especially for international students, the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) can provide some interesting discounts and offers on travel, shopping, museums and more, worldwide. Find out more on the ISIC website.

Admission requirements are set by the institutions.

You first need to find a study programme and then check the admission requirements. Use our Studyfinder search engine to select your programme and check the admission requirements:

Use our Studyfinder search engine to select your programme and check the admission requirements:

Find a study programme

Application procedures may vary by institution and by type of programme.

How to apply

Compare your diploma

If you know which diploma the institution of your choice has set as a minimum requirement, you can check how your diploma compares to this on the EP-Nuffic website.

Language requirements

It is essential that you speak, read and write English well. You must have passed an English language test. IELTS and TOEFL are commonly accepted, but institutions may accept other tests as well, like Cambridge English.

The required scores are at least 550 (paper based) or 213 (internet based) for TOEFL. For IELTS a score of at least 6 is required.

Preparatory year

Sometimes you are not yet eligible to the programme of your choice, but with a little extra preparation you could succeed next year!

Ask the Dutch higher education institution of your choice for more information.

Checklist

When you decide to study abroad, you have lots to prepare. Start your preparations a year in advance for an untroubled stay in Holland. This checklist will give you insight into what to arrange and when.

When you have finished reading a specific section, you can tick the box and fold the item by clicking on the orange triangle. In the box on the right you can add personal notes. You can print the checklist, or save it. When you save it, it will be stored for 30 days if you login with the same computer and browser. Please note this only works if you have cookies enabled in your browser.

Find a study programme

Studyfinder offers you a complete, independent and up-to-date overview of all 2,100 programmes and courses taught in English. Take a look at the map and find out where the institutions are located!

Check the admission requirements

When you have found a course or study programme you like, find out what the admission requirements are. Most admission requirements are listed in Studyfinder, but always double-check with the institution.

Find a scholarship

The online search engine Grantfinder gives you an overview of available scholarships. Contact the Dutch Embassy in your home country or your institution’s international office and ask about funding possibilities.

Visas and permits

Find out which immigration procedure applies to you and prepare the documents required by the Dutch immigration authorities. You can find more information on visa procedures in our Visas & permits section.

Get insured

Make sure you are properly insured during your stay. There are several options, so find out which option applies to your situation.

Housing

Check our information on housing to find accommodation before you start your study.

Make the most of your time in Holland

Make sure you stay connected to your fellow students and join the Holland Alumni network. Learn to speak the Dutch language as part of your Study in Holland experience.

Visas and permits

To enter the Netherlands for study purposes, you might need a visa and/or a residence permit. Whether you need a visa or not, depends on:

  1. 1. your nationality – as stated on your passport;
  2. the duration of your stay: shorter or longer than three months;
  3. your purpose of stay.

Your institution needs to apply

When you enrol in a study programme, your host institution will contact you to start up the application procedure. If not, ask for help by contacting the department dealing with international student mobility. Usually this will be the institution’s international office.

Start preparations early

Although the IND will generally process the application within two weeks, we recommend that you start the process early (about three months before you plan to enter the Netherlands). It may take some time for you to collect all the relevant documents for your institution.

Use our Pathfinder tool to check which procedure applies to you:

Find visa procedure

Please note: if you are NOT coming to study or do a preparatory year, you need to check the website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) for the requirements.

Geography

Holland is at the crossroads where the German, British and French cultures meet.

Surface area 41,528 square kilometres, one quarter of which lies below sea level
Longest distance north-south 300 kilometres
Longest distance east-west 200 kilometres
Lowest altitude 6.76 metres below sea level (near Rotterdam)
Highest altitude 323 metres (near Maastricht)
Climate Moderate maritime climate

The country is situated in the west of Europe and borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and the North Sea to the north and west.

From Holland, many European capitals are within easy reach. Brussels is two hours by train, and a short flight from Amsterdam will take you to London, Paris, Madrid or Berlin.

Holland's relatively small area of just over 41,000 square kilometres is home to more than 16 million people.

Landscape

What you will notice first when you arrive in Holland is the landscape. The country is extremely flat. While there are some hilly areas in the southeast corner of the country, even in those regions youc an see for miles around. The broad, unbroken expanse of sky that is characteristic of the Dutch landscape.

Another distinct characteristic is that there is water everywhere, in the form of lakes, rivers and canals.

Water and wind

Holland lies on a flat, low delta and a quarter of the land lies below sea level. Because of its location, the Dutch have have gained specialised knowledge on water management. Several Dutch companies are involved in water conservation and land reclamation projects throughout the world.

In the 17th century, wind was the most important source of energy. Windmills were not only used to pump water out of the polders to keep them dry. They were also needed to mill grain, to power saws used for cutting timber for shipbuilding, and to operate the copper beaters’ hammers. Some mills were even used to produce paint.

Today just under 1,000 windmills survive, which are lovingly cared for as part of our Dutch heritage.

Holland is a safe country by international standards.

Society

For decades the country’s historical ties with other parts of the world has brought foreigners to settle in Holland, bringing some of their own ideas and cultures. This makes the Dutch generally open-minded and tolerant. Dutch society is now home to over 200 different nationalities.

Although Dutch is the national language, most people also speak English and often another foreign language, such as German or French.

Another characteristic of the Dutch is their openness and direct manner. You can say exactly what is on your mind; the Dutch are not easily offended.

Safety

There is a relatively low level of violence and street crime.

The police are friendly and helpful; they have a duty to protect everyone and you can always feel confident approaching them for help. Should you need to contact them, don’t worry about language difficulties as the police speak English or will find someone, free of charge, who speaks your language.

Emergency services

In the event of a life-threatening emergency or crime you can contact the police, fire brigade or ambulance by dialling 112 from any phone (free of charge).

It is essential that you take out insurance when you arrive in Holland to cover your belongings against theft and accidental damage.