Top of the class: three Dutch universities make it into top 100 of international ranking

The Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jaio Tong University, China has released its annual ranking of the best universities in the world. Three Dutch universities have claimed a spot in the top 100, with Utrecht University decisively coming out on top.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has been published annually since 2003 by the Shanghai Jaio Tong University in China. The Shanghai Ranking uses six objective indicators to review 1,800 universities around the world in order to come up with a list of the best 1,000. These include:

  • The number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Field Medals
  • Number of highly cited researchers
  • Number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science
  • Number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index
  • The per capita performance of a university

Top performers

As usual, the top spots have been nabbed by American and British universities — think Harvard, Stanford, and Cambridge. We aren’t too surprised there. The top-performing European university this year is Paris-Saclay in 13th position on the list, with ETH Zurich coming in at spot 21.

Utrecht University leads the Dutch universities

Utrecht University (UU) has been ranked by the Shanghai Ranking as the best university in the Netherlands for the 19th year in a row. 🥳  UU came in at 50th place. Yes, that’s right, it’s the 50th best university in the whole world this year! Utrecht University has jumped up two spots in 2021, slightly improving on last year’s ranking of 52nd place.

Other Dutch universities performing well

Utrecht University wasn’t the only highly ranked Dutch university this year. Both Groningen University and Leiden University were also ranked in the top 100, coming in at 64th and 83rd place respectively.

Erasmus University Rotterdam falls just outside of the top 100 this year, being ranked in the 101-150 band. The university has slid significantly down the list in recent years, falling from 80th place in 2020.

What are your thoughts on the successes of the Dutch universities? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Mlehmann/Depositphotos

Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.


  1. Sorry but only 3 Dutch universities in the Top 100 and none in the Top 50 isn’t something to celebrate IMO. Switzerland is half the size of NL and has 5 Top 100 rankings alone.

    For such a forward thinking nation, the quality of Dutch universities is severely lacking.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

The end of COVID-19 in Europe? Yes, says the WHO

Optimistic signals are heading the Netherlands' way as the WHO reviews the state of the coronavirus in Europe — perfect timing since the Municipal...

Dutch Quirk #47: Complain about the weather nonstop

The Netherlands is known for a lot of amazing things like windmills, bicycles, and cheese! But the Netherlands is also notorious for its (let's...

Dutch woman arrested for performing Nazi salute at Auschwitz

So here's a story for you ⁠— a 29-year old Dutch woman was arrested by Polish authorities for performing the Hitler salute at the...

It's happening

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.