If images of cozy cafes or shimmering canals have caught your imagination, maybe you should take your dreams of visiting the Kingdom of the Low Countries and turn them into reality by studying in the Netherlands.
Choosing to study abroad in the Netherlands is very popular among international students. There’s more to the Netherlands than meets the eye, which is why we’re excited to share with you the top ten reasons why studying abroad in the Netherlands could be a great option for students to consider.
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1. Prestigious Universities
Looking for a study abroad destination that offers you the chance to study at one of the world’s best universities? Look no further than the Netherlands! If you study in the Netherlands, you will have the opportunity to study at one of the world’s best universities.
Education in the Netherlands is one of the oldest and most reputable higher education systems in the world. With many universities in the Netherlands placing highly in the global rankings, it’s no wonder that study abroad in the Netherlands has been so popular. Additionally, education in the Netherlands offers an inclusive global learning environment. Universities in the Netherlands offer friendly tuition fees, a diverse range of English-language programs, and a wonderful studying experience for international students. Take the University of Amsterdam, Leiden or Groningen, just three of the eight Dutch schools ranked in the World 100.
With so many excellent schools offering a huge range of courses, you're bound to find your perfect program in the Netherlands.
2. An Open-Minded Society
The Dutch carry on their daily lives with a “live and let live” attitude that can be seen in the diversity of their surroundings. In fact, inclusiveness has long been a key pillar of Dutch society, which is another reason why it is popular to study abroad in the Netherlands.
In effect, multinational restaurants, gay bars, brothels, and coffee shops live in peaceful coexistence in the same neighborhoods in cities across the Netherlands. If you are an international student studying in the Netherlands, this may seem strange at first, but you will soon discover that Dutch legalization policies have created a safe place for people to live out their lives, no matter who they are.
In fact, the Netherlands can even boast that it was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage back in 2001. If you choose to study abroad in the Netherlands, you will have the opportunity to open your own mind to the diversity of people from around the world.
3. Competitive Economy
After graduating from universities in the Netherlands, most students have one major goal in mind: finding a job. It's important to think about your employment opportunities after you complete your studies, especially if you are studying and living abroad.
Students who study in the Netherlands tend to want to stay forever so, after graduating, they set out to get a job and stay there for a long time. With one of Europe's most competitive economies, getting a job after studying in the Netherlands is not only possible, it's highly likely!
Once primarily an agricultural nation, the Netherlands is now a modern-day tech and startup hub. The Dutch government also promotes innovation and new talent by offering visas to foreigners with marketable skills, making the Dutch workforce one of the most diverse. In other words, international students who study abroad in the Netherlands are highly likely to join innovative companies and teams after graduation.
You can increase your chances of finding work after graduating by learning Dutch. Similar to English and Afrikaans, learning Dutch can help you fit right in.
4. Language-Savvy People
Did you know, Dutch is the closest language to English? As English’s closest relative on the Germanic language tree, Dutch is much easier to learn for an English speaker than say Italian or French. Both languages borrow vocabulary from each other and the grammar is similar in many ways. Thus, those who wish to learn a new language can benefit from studying abroad in the Netherlands.
But, if learning a language is not your goal while studying in the Netherlands, no worries. The Dutch speak English at one of the highest non-native proficiencies in the world. In fact, Dutch people often joke that their country has two first languages: Dutch and English! If you’re planning to study abroad in the Netherlands, you will also have access to many English-taught programs, so don’t worry if Dutch takes time to come to you.
That being said, as savvy language learners, many Dutch people also speak a third or fourth language! Because of the Netherlands’ close proximity to Belgium, France, and Germany, many Dutch people also learn French or German. So, don’t be shy: test out your language skills while studying in the Netherlands!
5. A Cycling Culture to Live For
Another amazing benefit of studying abroad in the Netherlands is your cheap, easy access to transportation. Just bike there!
With an extensive network of bike lanes and plenty of places to store and lock your bike, the Dutch infrastructure makes it easier to bike to your destination than to drive or take public transportation. When you study abroad in the Netherlands, you can learn how the Dutch embrace sustainability and protect the environment.
On top of it all, because of the respect bikers get on the road, there are very few serious biking accidents, making it one of the safest ways to travel as well. So, get on your bike and experience it while you study in the Netherlands! Just don’t forget to buy a good, sturdy bike lock!
6. Healthy and Active Lifestyle
The Dutch rank among the healthiest in the world. This means that you might find yourself unconsciously becoming healthier while you study in the Netherlands.
Undoubtedly, part of this can be attributed to the cycling culture throughout the country. However, the Dutch also value sports and other forms of physical activity. As an international student studying abroad in the Netherlands, you’ll have lots of opportunities to join other students in groups or teams to play sports or just exercise.
Physical activity and social interaction together create a great mental space to overcome the challenges of living and studying abroad in the Netherlands.
7. Food to Die For
When you study in the Netherlands, you will be able to try a variety of tasty foods. Cheese, butter, and meats are plentiful on any Dutch table. A step inside any Dutch pastry shop is also likely to have you drooling. Stroopwafels, pancakes, apple tarts, and licorice make up some of the Dutch’s favorite snacks.
No study abroad experience in the Netherlands is complete without having at least tried poffertjes, tiny powdered pancakes, or oliebollen, the Dutch version of the doughnut.
If pastries aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other delicious treats to try! Bitterballen are ranked amongst the most popular bar or party snacks. These little meatballs are coated in breadcrumbs and fried to crispy, golden deliciousness. Try them while you study in the Netherlands! What are you waiting for? Grab a knife and a fork and try Dutch cuisine.
8. A Golden Age to Pine Over
Additionally, studying abroad in the Netherlands will provide you with an artistic experience, as the country has many art works and museums. If the names of Rembrandt and Vermeer ring a bill for you, then you must know about the Dutch Golden Age. Paintings like The Girl with a Pearl Earring conjure up images in the minds of millions around the globe due to their popularity and historic significance within the art world.
But it’s not just the paintings of Vermeer that are easily recognized. Perhaps you have also heard of Vincent van Gogh, creator of one of the world’s most famous paintings: Starry Night. While studying abroad in the Netherlands, particularly at the University of Amsterdam, you will have more than ample time to discover all that Dutch art has to offer. Start with the awe-inspiring Van Gogh Museum to brush up on your knowledge about the post-impressionists.
9. Travel Destinations to Discover
International students who study abroad in the Netherlands can find some of the most beautiful, unique cities in the world. Stroll along the canals of Amsterdam, visit the ports of Rotterdam, or gaze at the beautiful architecture of The Hague.
No matter where you choose to study in the Netherlands, it is perfectly situated for you to explore all that Europe has to offer! It’s so easy to find cheap fares and take a weekend getaway to Italy, Poland, or even Spain. Many Dutch cities are also connected via train to bustling European cities such as Brussels or Cologne. So, you can make the most of your time studying abroad in the Netherlands by not only seeing what the Dutch have to offer but also seeing all there is to see in Europe.
10. Be Yourself
Not only are they inclusive, the Dutch are also accepting. You can feel free to be who you want to be. As you realize the freedom you are given, you will also be inspired to discover your full potential while studying in the Netherlands. The Dutch are honest and open communicators. At first, many international students who study abroad in the Netherlands perceive this as too forward. But, soon the direct communication style will probably become your favorite way of getting feedback.
You will always know where you stand with a Dutch person, and as long as you are also open and direct, you will soon find you have a whole new group of life-long friends. Many students who study abroad in the Netherlands cite making friends and connections as one of the most rewarding parts of the experience.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to take on the challenge and start the amazing journey of studying abroad in the Netherlands?
At educations.com, studying abroad is our passion. That’s why it’s our mission to help you imagine the full potential of your future study abroad experience. But don’t just take our word for it—hear from someone who has lived the Dutch dream herself and loved it so much, she couldn’t wait to tell her story.