28 April 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Figures published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) have revealed that, in spite of the ongoing housing crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, the number of international students in higher education in the Netherlands continues to rise. In the 2021 / 2022 academic year, as many as two in five first-years enrolled at Dutch universities are from abroad.

Number of international students in the Netherlands continues to rise

According to CBS, over the past 16 years, the number of international students at Dutch universities has risen at a faster rate than the number of domestic students. In the academic year that started in the autumn of 2021, 115.000 international students were enrolled at research universities (WO) or universities of applied sciences (HBO) – almost four times the number in the 2005 / 2006 academic year.

The majority of internationals studying in the Netherlands are enrolled at Dutch research universities. Currently, 33.230 international students are enrolled in a Master’s programme, while 47.210 are studying for their Bachelor’s degree. Amongst international students at universities, journalism or behavioural and social science degrees seem to be the most popular.

High number of international first-years at Dutch universities

A high proportion of first-year students in the Netherlands are from abroad; in the 2021 / 2022 academic year, over 42.000 international students were enrolled in Dutch higher education institutions, equating to approximately one-quarter of all first-year students. At Dutch research universities, this figure is even higher. According to CBS, around 40 percent of first-years are international students.

76 percent of international students in the Netherlands are from countries across Europe, the majority of whom have German citizenship – although the proportion of German students at Dutch universities has fallen over the past seven years. Meanwhile, the number of international students from Asia has been steadily rising since 2009. Now, around 19.600 students are from Asia, many of whom are Chinese or Indian.

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