40% Of First-Year University Students in the Netherlands Are International Students

Amsterdam summer sunrise, Netherlands

More than 100,000 international students enrolled at Dutch colleges and universities in the 2021/22 academic year, with more than 42,000 of them studying for the first time in the country, according to Statistics Netherlands.

The number of international students in the Netherlands has increased more than the number of domestic students over the past sixteen years, Erudera.com reports.

In total, 115,000 international students were enrolled at Dutch universities in 2021/22, which according to Statistics Netherlands, is 3.5 times as many as in 2005/06 when there were 33,000 international students.

“This concerns 80.4 thousand international students at universities and 34.8 thousand HBO students in 2021/’22 compared to 12.5 thousand international students at universities and 20.6 thousand HBO students in 2005/’06,” Statistics Netherlands notes.

Most international students in the Netherlands have come from Europe in recent years. In 2021/22, some 76 percent of international students in the country came from European countries, an increase from 63 percent in 2005/06.

The number of students coming from Asia in the Netherlands has also increased in recent years. More than 19,000 Asian students enrolled at Dutch universities in the 2021/22 academic year, with more than 5,000 coming from China and more than 3,000 students from India.

Since 2017/18, more international students in the Netherlands pursued a Bachelor’s degree than a Master’s, but before that academic year, international students in the Netherlands mostly chose the country to study Master’s degree.

The most popular courses in 2021/22 for international university students were journalism, behavior, and society.

Moreover, figures show that 40 percent of first-year students came from abroad in the 2021/22 academic year, but an increase in the number of first-year students was also noted during the 2020/21 academic year despite the COVID-19 pandemic when education was mainly online.

“In that academic year, education was mainly conducted online, which may explain the absence of a decline in the number of international students, despite travel restrictions in many countries,” Statistics Canada report reads.

In September last year, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) announced that the number of international students in the Netherlands increased by ten percent after a drop at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), Pieter Duisenberg, told AD that the numbers were not a surprise because the drop in the number of international students was caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Last year, most students came from the following countries:

  • China
  • India
  • the US
  • Turkey
  • Indonesia

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