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Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad in the Netherlands

If images of cozy cafes or shimmering canals have caught your imagination, maybe you should consider taking your dreams of visiting the Kingdom of the Low Countries and turn them into a reality by studying abroad in the Netherlands.

There’s more to the Netherlands than meets the eye, which is why we were excited to show off the top ten reasons for international students to choose the Netherlands as their number one study abroad destination.

1. Prestigious Universities

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

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!

The Dutch boast 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 it’s one of the most popular study abroad destinations in Europe.

To top that, Dutch universities offer friendly tuition fees, a diverse range of English-language programs, and a great student life.

2. An Open-Minded Society

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

The Dutch carry on their daily lives with a “live and let live” attitude that can be seen in the diversity of their surroundings. Tolerance has become an integral building block in Dutch society.

In effect, multinational restaurants, gay bars, brothels, and coffee shops live in peaceful coexistence in the same neighborhoods in cities across the Netherlands. As an international student, this may seem strange at first, but you will quickly see that instead of producing crime, the Dutch’s liberal legalization policies have created a safe space for people to live out their lives.

Studying abroad in the Netherlands will, therefore, grant international students the opportunity to open their own minds to the lifestyle choices of people around the world.

3. Competitive Economy

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

After making it to graduation, most students have one major goal in mind—finding a job. It’s important, especially if you are living and studying abroad, to think about your employment opportunities after finishing your studies.

After experiencing life in the Netherlands, many students can’t help but want to stay for forever, so they make it their mission to find employment after their studies. Luckily, with one of Europe’s most competitive economies, finding a job is not only possible, it’s 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.

4. Language-Savvy People

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

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 the other and the grammar is similar in many ways.

But, if learning a language is not your goal, no worries. The Dutch speak English at one of the highest non-native proficiencies in the world. You will also find a multitude of options when it comes to studying a program in English.

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, and test out your language skills!  

5. A Cycling Culture to Live For

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

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. It’s also another way for the Dutch to 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 go!

6. Healthy and Active Lifestyle

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

The Dutch rank among the healthiest in the world.

Certainly, this is due in small part to the extensive cycling culture throughout the country. However, the Dutch also value sports and other forms of physical activity. As an international student in the Netherlands, you will have ample opportunities to join other students in groups or teams to play sports or just exercise.

The physical activity and social aspect combined make for a great mental space to take on the challenges of studying and living abroad.

7. Food to Die For

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

It’s surprising then that the Dutch diet is filled with saturated fats. 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, apples tarts, and licorice make up some of the Dutch’s favorite snacks. No study abroad 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 snack. These little meatballs are coated in breadcrumbs and fried to crispy, golden deliciousness.

8. A Golden Age to Pine Over

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

If the names of Rembrandt and Vermeer ring a bill for you, then you must know about the Dutch Golden Age. Paintings such as 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, painter of one of the world’s most famous paintings, Starry Night. While studying abroad 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

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

Within the Netherlands, international students can find some of the most beautiful, unique cities in the world. Stroll along the canals of Amsterdam, visit the ports in Rotterdam, or gaze at the beautiful architecture of The Hague.

No matter where you choose to study, the Netherlands is perfectly situated for you to explore all that Europe has to offer! It’s easy to find cheap fares and take a weekend getaway to Italy, Poland, or even England. 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 study abroad experience 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

Study Abroad in the Netherlands

Not only are they tolerant, the Dutch are also accepting. You can feel free to be who you want to be. You’ll realize with the freedom to do so, you will also want to reach higher to discover your full potential. The Dutch are honest and open communicators. At first, many international students to the Netherlands perceive this as too forward. But, soon the direct communication style reveals its benefits.

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 cite making friends and connections as one of the most rewarding aspects of their study abroad 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, study 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.

Then, if you’re ready, check out our study abroad search and discover the multitude of international programs looking for new international students just like you!

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