How to Apply to Universities in the Netherlands

In this article, we will show you the necessary steps to successfully gain admission into Dutch Universities. The Netherlands is one of the top study destinations for international students due to the country’s educational standard and employment prospect after studies.

Not only that, the safe and multicultural environment with an affordable cost of study makes the Netherlands an incredibly attractive study destination. The Netherlands is also one of the first non-English speaking countries to offer international study programmes taught in English.

As an international student, the Dutch student permit allows you to work while pursuing your education in the Netherlands. Depending on your nationality, you may work for a limited amount of hours/work with a work permit from your employer.

However, students from EU/EEA/Switzerland are allowed to work as many hours as they choose while studying. The employe does not need to provide a work permit for these set of students. Internation students from non-EU countries with a valid residence permit are allowed to work either full-time seasonal work in June, July and August or part-time work of no more than ten hours a week outside the summer period.

How to Apply to Universities in the Netherlands

Importantly, these benefits are only open to international students who are admitted to a Dutch university. This post will assist you in making a successful admission application into any University of your choice in the Netherlands.


How to Apply to Universities in the Netherlands

Applying for admission at a university in the Netherlands is the first step in fulfilling your dream of studying in this amazing country. Just like every other country, all universities in the Netherlands require that an application must be completed by prospective students before they can be considered for admission into a university.

The process of applying to a Dutch university is quite simple and straightforward. The outline below is a step-by-step process of applying for a university in the Netherlands. All you need to do is to follow the instructions outlined below to apply at any Dutch university of your choice.

Preparing to Apply to a Dutch University

  • The first step of applying to a University in the Netherlands is to do a rigorous research about the degree and school of your choice, and ensure it fits your interest and career goals.
  • Check if you match the entry requirements and admission requirements of the university. Your education history and grade point average (GPA) from your previous studies will determine if you are qualified for your chosen programme.
  • Some Dutch universities offer an online eligibility check for some Master’s programmes; this is to help students find out if they are eligible for that specific programme.
  • Carefully check if you are to pay the Statutory tuition fee (for EU/EEA/Swiss students and a few exceptions for non-EU/EEA/Swiss students) or the Institutional tuition fee (usually for non-EU/EEA/Swiss students).
  • Explore scholarship opportunities to help cover your study expenses in the Netherlands.
  • Apart from students from EU/EEA/Switzerland, every other student needs a student visa to study in the Netherlands. In this case, get your traveling documents ready in advance.

Dutch University Application Procedures

There are two broad methods of application; application with no restrictions and application with local restrictions.

How to Apply to a Dutch University with no restrictions

1. Join the Numerus Fixus degree course lottery; a university online application system managed by the Dutch government. With Numerus Fixus, your chances of being admitted to a degree course are very high. However, most of the courses are taught in Dutch, some exceptions include Medicine, Psychology, International Business Administration, and Physiotherapy.


2. You can also apply directly to the universities websites after carefully checking the entry requirements for your desired study programmes.

How to Apply to a Dutch University with local restrictions

1. Similar to the UCAS system in the UK, you can apply for some degree programmes through Studielink. The application system allows you to apply for up to four courses at a time. You have access to change the courses you wish to apply for at any time before the enrollment deadline. If you are rejected by one university, you simply apply to another one.

2. Most times the Dutch Ministry of Education can set a national quota for various degrees offered by universities. Sometimes, the number of students who wish to enroll in a certain programme exceeds this national quota. In this case, students are advised to rank the institutions in order of preference, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are not eligible for being admitted.

Language Requirements for Dutch University Application

If you are applying for an English-taught degree program, the accepted certifications are TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge. However, if you are applying for your studies in Dutch, you need to pass the Dutch TUL intermediate exam or hold a Dutch NT2-II diploma.


Documents Required for Admission into Universities in the Netherlands

As an international student applying to study in the Netherlands, you will need to provide the following documents.

  • A copy of passport or ID card
  • A passport picture
  • A personal statement in English (should contain around 500-800 words answering questions)
  • Copies of obtained secondary school diplomas, certificates and/or grade lists (uploaded diplomas and/or grade lists which are not in English, French, German or Dutch need to be accompanied by an official English translation)
  • Transcript of records
  • Proof of English/Dutch language proficiency
  • Proof of payment of application fee (50 EUR)

Some universities may require additional documents, such as:

  • CV or resume (including two referees)
  • Motivation letter
  • Sample of academic written work.



University Application Deadlines for the Netherlands

It is advisable to check the admission application deadline directly with the universities of your choice as they may vary.

  • The application deadline for most courses: 1st of May
  • In some universities, the application deadline is: 1st of February or the 1st of March
  • For the Numerous Fixus and DUO platform, the deadline is typically the 15th of January.

It is recommended that you start your application early so that you have enough time to arrange your visa (if you need one) and housing before you start your studies.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here