Dutch university or higher education is for students who have successfully completed secondary education requirements. Both full and part-time degree programs are available in most all subjects in the Netherlands.
Many degrees are offered in English and those courses only available in the Dutch language use primarily English-language textbooks.
University education (Wetenschappelijke Onderwijs, WO) usually means a first degree course of at least four years. Some courses are longer for example medicine and dentistry.
Higher ‘vocational’ education (Hoger Beroepsonderwijs, HBO) provides practical and theoretical training for certain occupations.
A more recent development is the introduction of combined bachelor-masters degree programmes. Both universities and HBOs can offer these courses.
The academic year lasts 42 weeks with courses usually starting the first week in September. Tuition fees are payable by all students although these are much lower for residents than they are for international students. Dutch residents (and some foreign students) who are under 30 years of age may apply for a study allowance. The amount of the allowance varies according to personal circumstances.
For more information on study allowances, see the DUO website (in Dutch, with information for foreign students in English)
The Netherlands recognises entry qualifications from other European countries according to several bilateral agreements. However, EU citizens will also need to pass an English-language examination to ensure they are able to read and write the language well before being offered a place.
For more information on further education opportunities in the Netherlands consult: NUFFIC – Netherlands Organisation for International Co-operation in Higher Education