Disastrous Effect if International Student Intake Reduced, Dutch Province Warns

Netherlands Europe Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Mar 25, 2024

Province of Limburg, the Netherlands

Limburg, the Netherlands’ southernmost province, along with municipalities, educational institutions, organizations and businesses, have written a warning letter to the Dutch parliament, raising concerns over the economic consequences of the international student cap. They say a limit on international student numbers would be disastrous to the province.

According to the letter, internationalization isn’t a challenge for a region like Limburg; rather, they assert it is a solution, Erudera.com reports.

Authorities, the business community, and educational institutions have called on the government to take off its “Hague and Randstad glasses” and recognize that internationalization means more than just admitting international students.

“If appropriate measures are not taken, this will lead to a devastation: the disappearance of courses from the region and thus a significant shrinkage of educational institutions,” the letter states.

It further explains that some problems reported elsewhere, such as the lack of student accommodation or overcrowded lecture halls, are not an issue in the province of Limburg.

The province shares 24 percent of the border with the Netherlands and 76 percent with neighboring countries. According to signatories, this means that authorities should look beyond borders and try to increase the quality of life in the region.

“We – regional authorities, the business community, trade unions and educational institutions – want to work even more than is currently the case to retain foreign students in our region after graduation,” the joint statement reads, adding that admitting and retaining international students, whether young or old, remains necessary to keep the region competitive.

The letter points to the ageing population in the Dutch province of Limburg, which might lead to a decline in the number of students enrolling in secondary vocational and tertiary education.

According to Statista's data, the province’s population was 1.13 million in 2023, an increase of 10,000 people.

Last year, the Dutch government expressed concerns about the increasing number of international students in the Netherlands, unveiling measures to manage internationalization at higher education institutions.

This year, the Dutch House of Representatives urged the government and the higher education sector to proceed with steps to reduce English-taught programs at universities. The call followed a request from Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf, who asked the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL), the organization representing the university education sector, to provide a plan on methods to control the influx of international students.

Universities have recently agreed on an approach to reducing international student intake and promoting the use of the Dutch language.

Because of these developments, many international students in the Netherlands are feeling unwelcome in the country, a survey has found.

The latest data from UNL reveal that the number of international students has been stable in the last two years and has not increased further in the current academic year. In the 2022/23 academic year, 122,287 international students studied at Dutch higher education institutions, representing 15 percent of all the country’s students.

The number of international students in the Netherlands since 2012:

Year Students
2012 54,039
2013 56,228
2014 57,776
2015 61,855
2016 75,182
2017 75,182
2018 83,817
2019 92,159
2020 101,831
2021 114,255

© scratsmacker | Pixabay

More from Erudera News:

>> Dutch Universities: International Students Can Still Study at Research Institutions

>> Netherlands: 220 Fewer International Students Enroll in Bachelor’s Programs

Related News

youngsters in Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Dutch Ministry of Education has commented on reports of international students feeling unwelcome in the Netherlands, expressing regret and highlighting their commitment to creating a welcoming environment for global talent.


Mar 27, 2024

The Hague, Netherlands

The Dutch government has announced €160.5 million in funding for seven research projects at Dutch universities.


Mar 26, 2024

young woman riding a bike near Dutch Parliament, Netherlands

International students in the Netherlands have voiced concerns about their future following plans to reduce student intake in Dutch universities and increase Dutch-language degrees, saying they are feeling more unwelcome in the country, a new survey has found.


Mar 12, 2024