International students return to the Netherlands — but are Dutch universities ready?

As a new academic year is upon us, the Netherlands is seeing an increase in the number of international students attending Dutch higher education. However, many universities are still struggling with in-person education because of the coronavirus measures. 

According to data from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), applications for study permits are back on the rise — reports AD

Before the pandemic, the annual growth of students from outside the EU was 10%. This increase is caused partly by British students needing to apply for a permit as a result of Brexit. 

However, in 2020, the pandemic struck and the number of study permit applications dropped by a whopping 40%. 📉

Increase in numbers

This year, 15,110 applications were received at the end of July. Those are more applications than all of 2020 — when only 12,310 applications were received. 🤯

The IND reports most applications came from China, India, the US, Turkey, and Indonesia.

According to Nuffic — the Dutch organization for internationalisation in education — the most popular study programmes for international students from these countries include:

  1. 💲 Economics and business. 
  2. 🧠 Social sciences.
  3. 🛠 Engineering. 
  4. 🎨 Arts and culture. 

University measures

Universities no longer have to observe the 1.5-metre distance within faculty buildings. However, students must wear masks in the hallways, and classrooms are limited to a maximum capacity of 75 people. This may be a problem for students from larger study programmes. 

What do you think of this situation? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Rawpixel/Depositphotos

Nicole Ogden
Hailing from the bustling city of Bangkok, Nicole is a Thai/American international student who came to the Netherlands to study linguistics. When she's not reading books or listening to true crime podcasts, she's practising her singing and guitar skills! She is also attempting to pick up the Dutch language (moeilijk).


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