A recent perspective on internationalization efforts in the Netherlands

Kristina Ivancheva
June 28, 2023
Kristina Ivancheva
June 28, 2023

Internationalization has long been a prominent objective for Europe with studying abroad becoming a common choice for many Europeans in recent decades. The mission statements of most universities in Western Europe prominently include the goal of internationalization as one of their top priorities. However, within the Netherlands, there are ongoing discussions concerning internationalization efforts.

Robbert Dijkgraaf, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, has emphasized the need to control the influx of international students in the Netherlands in order to address issues such as overcrowded classrooms, high lecturer workloads, housing shortages, and maintaining educational accessibility. Mr Dijkgraaf aims to implement measures to better manage international student enrollment and preserve the quality of education in Dutch institutions. He emphasizes the importance of striking a balance between promoting the country’s international position and ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of the education system.

From the students’ perspective, Germany represents the largest group of international students in the Netherlands, while a significant number of newcomers come from Eastern European countries, notably Bulgaria and Romania. Students often express that the Netherlands offers favorable conditions for studying, with the state providing necessary support. The system is designed in a rational manner, where students who combine part-time jobs with full-time studies receive funding from the government. This financial assistance serves as a strong motivator for students to successfully complete their programs. Additionally, international students perceive the government’s decision to halt the inflow of international students as overly extreme. They believe it contradicts the idea of being a European citizen and restricts both Dutch and international students from engaging in a shared cultural exchange. Expats residing in the Netherlands suggest that implementing a selection process with more stringent admission criteria would be a preferable solution to address the issue. It will be interesting to see what the final outcome will be.

Source: Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (2023)