Netherlands: Parliament Urges Universities to Not Recruit More Int’l Students Due to Housing Shortage

young woman riding a bike near Dutch Parliament, Netherlands

The House of Representatives of the Netherlands has asked Dutch universities to stop recruiting more international students due to the housing shortage in the country, local media have reported.

According to Members of Parliament, the request is made to reduce the number of international students heading to the Netherlands as the lack of student accommodation continues to be an issue.

The Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, said he will introduce a plan in February that will address the issue, but Members of the Parliament insisted this should be made before February as it is something that needs to be solved sooner.

Recently, universities in the Netherlands declared that they are still actively admitting international students despite the lack of accommodation in the country because Dutch institutions are affordable for the latter in terms of tuition fees, also recalling that the Netherlands offers many scholarships to students from different countries.

However, given the serious housing that international students have been facing, the University of Amsterdam earlier told international students not to come to the capital if they haven’t found a place to stay beforehand.

"Without the guarantee of a residence, you will likely find yourself in an unsustainable position,” the school said in an email sent to all international students.

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

Last month, Universities of the Netherlands (UNL), representing 14 Dutch universities with a mutual interest in education, research, international affairs, and more, released data showing that nearly 340,000 domestic and international students enrolled at a university in the Netherlands, a similar percentage compared to last academic year. However, the sector body said in its report that around 4,000 more students were enrolled in Bachelor’s programs and 4,000 fewer in Master’s.

“The stabilisation of student numbers at our universities gives us the space to use the substantial investments from the coalition agreement to get the fundamentals in order when it comes to workloads and more time for research. However, the expectation is that student numbers will continue to increase in the years ahead,” UNL President Pieter Duisenberg said.

According to Statistics Netherlands, 115,000 international students were enrolled at Dutch universities in the 2021/22 academic year. Some 40 percent of students starting their first year of studies in the Netherlands were international students.

Data indicate that over the past years, most international students in the Netherlands were European. In the 2021/22 academic year, 76 percent of international students in the Netherlands came from Europe, a 63 percent increase compared to 2005/06.

Earlier this year, the international education agency Nuffic published its annual report “Incoming degree mobility in Dutch higher education 2021-22”, revealing that 72 percent of international students enrolling at Dutch universities come from countries of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Germany is by far the biggest source of international students in the Netherlands, according to data, followed by Italy, China, and Belgium.

image source: Michael Fousert | Unsplash

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