After you have picked your study programme of choice, it's time to get enrolled. Each educational institute will have its own application process — and you should therefore definitely check out the respective institute's website for specifics —, but there are some general mechanisms and criteria in Dutch higher education that you might not be aware of. Let's discuss those and then move on to other practicalities that are important for students coming our region from abroad.

Do I meet the admission requirements for my chosen study programme?

As we discussed before, the admission requirements for specific study programmes are set by the educational institutions themselves. If you cannot find them on the institution's own page, you can use the Studyfinder search engine that's a part of the Study in Holland website. It allows you to search for the relevant programme and then quickly check the admission requirements, as well as other information. Studyfinder provides you with more information.

Numerus Fixus in the Netherlands

Certain university programmes — in our region as well as in the Netherlands in general —receive more applicants than they can place; the level of education is high, and places are much sought after.

If the number of applicants exceeds the number of available places, universities have to make a selection among the total number of applicants. This situation is often described by the Latin term 'Numerus Fixus' (only a fixed number of students are getting in). In the past, the government was in charge of the selection procedure, and there was usually a lottery, whereby students with higher secondary-school grades would have an increased chance of getting into their elected programmes, but there was still a degree of luck involved. Prospective students with an average of eight points out of ten or higher (under the Dutch grading system) were automatically awarded a place in their preferred programme. Since 2017, Numerus Fixus selections have been decentralised, which basically means that universities can come up with their own methods. The good news is that this isn't an issue for students applying to non-selective degrees, like most of the English-taught programmes at Dutch universities.

For the complete lowdown on Numerus Fixus, check out Study in Holland's article.

The Dutch language

If you are coming to the Netherlands from another country to study at a Dutch university, you will have to master the Dutch language to a certain extent. You may have to take a Dutch proficiency test so that your skill with the language can be ascertained. Some institutes offer extensive courses in Dutch, like the HAN University of Applied Sciences.

If you have enrolled in an English-taught programme and English is not your native language, you will have to take an English proficiency test. This may not be necessary if you have lived in an English-speaking country for an extended period of time or completed your secondary education in one of the EU countries. Contact the universities themselves for further details.

The university language centres in'to Languages of Radboud University and Wageningen University & Research offer a wide range of language and intercultural training courses, ranging from short courses in social Dutch to more in-depth language acquisition. The offer a variety of programmes, tailored to the student's situation.

Dutch language

Scholarships in the Netherlands

A cheap way to study abroad is to make use of an exchange program. On the website of the Nuffic (Netherlands Universities’ Foundation for International Cooperation) you can find an overview of all specific exchange programs. Study grants and government assistance in the Netherlands are coordinated by Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO – The Education Executive Agency of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) and they offer financial assistance for Dutch students and (in some cases) for foreign students. To see if you might be eligible for financial assistance, go to the website of DUO, which is also available in English,

Having a job as a foreign student in the Netherlands

You might want to make a bit of extra cash during your time in college, especially if you've time to spare. If you are from the EU/EEA, Switzerland or Croatia, there are no restrictions on having a job on the side while you're in university in the Netherlands. If you're from another country, there are some restrictions to taking a job beside your studies. You need a work permit and can only work for a maximum of 16 hours a week. Alternatively, you can also work full-time during June, July and August. Study in Holland has collected and organised information about having a job as a foreign student on the Netherlands for you on their website.

For more information on finding a job, click here to visit the jobs part of our website. If you're interested in doing an internship during your studies, Study in Holland also provides information on that.

Helpful sites for foreign students coming to the Netherlands

Study in Holland

We have already mentioned them a few times, but Study in Holland provides a lot of information on most things that foreign students will be facing. It is packed with handy tips and looks at everything from the perspective of you, the student coming over here.


Studyportals provided information on higher international education in Europa. It is more focused on the content of the study programmes themselves.


Nuffic is the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education. It is behind the Study in Holland page. On the Nuffic site you will find a lot of information about the criteria for studying in the Netherlands and much more besides.

Other practicalities

Now that you are well versed in the processes surrounding university life, there are of course the more general prerequisites of living in the Netherlands that you need to consider. It's important that you look into visa requirements, sort out any residence permit you might need, and make a decision whether you want to get insured in the Netherlands, among other things.As these topics are not just important for students, but might be of interest to anyone coming to the Netherlands for an extended period of time, you can find more information about them on our website.

Practical information for international students:

There are 806 English vacancies in the Arnhem - Nijmegen – Wageningen area.
In the previous academic year, 7,666 foreign students were studying in Gelderland.
There are approximately 81,700 foreign students in the Netherlands, coming from 61 countries of which Germany, China and Belgium are the top three.
Did you know that every job filled in by foreign talent also provides another extra 1,5 job?