Dutch universities move up in top 100 Shanghai Ranking

Dutch universities move up in top 100 Shanghai Ranking

Universities in the Netherlands have moved up in the Shanghai Ranking, with four higher education institutions remaining in the top 100, of which three show a higher ranking than last year.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) for 2015 was recently released by the centre for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Also known as the Shanghai Ranking, the ARWU has been annually rating the world’s top 500 universities since 2003.

Four Dutch universities in the top 100

Last year’s Shanghai Ranking revealed four Dutch universities in the top 100 and this year follows suit, however their individual ranking changed with three rising through the ranks.

Overall, the Netherlands has 12 universities listed in the top 500, one less compared to last year's 13 - Tilburg University is no longer ranked in the top 500.

The highest-ranked Dutch university remains Utrecht University at 56th, up from 57th place last year. University of Groningen has moved considerably up in the ranking from 82 in 2014 to 75. Leiden University dropped from 77th to 82nd and VU University Amsterdam went up two places from 100 to 98.

The universities listed as 101-500 are not individually ranked but instead are grouped into blocks, giving a general indication of their standing.

Interestingly, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, another global list that rates higher education institutions, ranked six Dutch universities in its top 100, placing Utrecht last in 79th position. 

Leiden University was ranked highest at 64th place, followed by TU Delft at 71st, Erasmus University at 72nd, University of Wageningen at 73rd and University of Amsterdam at 77th.

USA and UK dominate the top 10

The list is traditionally dominated by American universities, with Harvard University retaining its place as number one for the 13th year running. The top 10 universities comprise of eight American universities and two British universities: Cambridge and Oxford.

Top European universities

ETH-Zurich in Switzerland remains the top ranked University in Continental Europe, standing at 20th place, one down from last year. University of Copenhagen moves up to second place within Europe from 39 in 2014 to 35. Pierre and Marie Curie and Paris-Sud follow in 36th and 41st positions respectively.

Countries with most top-ranked universities

The United States holds forth with 16 of the top 20 institutions, dropping one place in the top 100, but remaining with the most universities in the top 500. The Netherlands moves down from 13 to 12 from last year, whilst Australia and Japan move up in the overall rankings.

The ranking criteria

The ARWU reviews and ranks more than 1.200 universities each year, publishing the best 500. The Shanghai Ranking is based on transparent methodology and reliable data, evaluating institutions according to four main criteria:
› Quality of education
› Quality of faculty
› Research output
› Per capita performance

The ARWU then employs six objective indicators across the criteria to calculate weighted scores which, when added together, create the final score. Among the indicators are the number of alumni and staff who have won Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals.

2015 top Dutch universities

World rank  NL rank Institution
56 1 Utrecht University
75 2 Univ. of Groningen
82 3 Leiden University
98 4 VU Univ. of Amsterdam
101-150 5-7 Radboud Univ. Nijmengen
101-150 5-7 Univ. of Amsterdam
101-150 5-7 Univ. of Wageningen
151-200 8 Erasmus University
201-300 9-10 TU Delft
201-300 9-10 Maastricht University
301-400 11-12 TU Eindhoven
301-400 11-12 University of Twente


Number of universities in top ten countries

Country Top 20 Top 100 Top 500
United States 16 51 146
United Kingdom 3 9 37
Switzerland 1 4 7
Germany - 4 39
France - 4 22
Australia - 4 20
Netherlands - 4 12
Japan - 4 18
Canada - 4 20
Sweden - 3 11


Parvinder Marwaha


Parvinder Marwaha

British-born editor Parvinder studied architecture in the UK. Amsterdam’s architecture and design scene led her to the city, as well the obvious perks of canal-side living. She writes for various...

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