Gradual Increase of International Students in the Netherlands in 2022/23

Amsterdam canals, the Netherlands

The number of international students across the Netherlands increased in the academic year 2022/23, but the rise is smaller than in previous years.

This academic year, international student enrollment at Dutch universities and higher vocational education (HBO) increased by 7.3 percent, a slowdown from prior years when the increase stood at 12 or 15 percent, figures from the student service office Duo have shown, reports.

Different from this year, when 85,000 international students chose to continue their education in the country, in 2005, only 12,500 students pursued studies in the Netherlands, the Dutch News reports.

However, due to the Netherlands facing a high housing shortage, members of parliament urged measures to decrease international student numbers, arguing that such circumstances will harm the quality of education.

Despite the concerns over the severe housing shortage, at the end of last year, local media reported that some Dutch universities have continued to admit international students in the country on the grounds that the Netherlands offers a lot to international students, particularly in terms of affordability.

Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf has been fully committed to slowing down the growing number of international students in the country. He announced a plan for March this year that would provide ways to halt student numbers however stated that the new law will not take effect immediately.

Previously, both Dijkgraaf and the House of Representatives called on Dutch universities to stop the active recruitment of international students given the severe housing shortage. In his request to universities, Minister Dijkgraaf said that the flow of students is causing housing problems and crowded classrooms.

“In addition, in the long term it could threaten the continuity, affordability and quality of the Dutch higher education system,” Dijkgraaf pointed out in his letter to institutions.

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports there were 115,000 international students in the Netherlands in the 2021/22 academic year. More than 42,000 students began their studies for the first time in the country.

“Over the past 16 years, the number of international students has grown more rapidly than the number of domestic students,” CBS explains.

Amsterdam is among the Dutch cities impacted most by the housing shortage. There, the city council has introduced a new plan to help alleviate pressure on the housing market and solve the issue by 2040. Unfortunately, international students in the Dutch capital are not the focus, and the plan will only benefit the elderly, vulnerable groups, families, and individuals with low or middle income.

>> Student Housing Crisis: Netherlands to Build 60,000 Affordable Homes in 8 Years

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