Netherlands sees lowest increase in international students in 9 years

Netherlands sees lowest increase in international students in 9 years

An annual report by Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internalisation in education, has revealed that there are just over 128.000 international students enrolled at Dutch universities or universities of applied sciences for the 2023-2024 academic year. Even though this number is 5,4 percent higher than the previous academic year, it is the smallest increase in international students in the Netherlands in nine years. 

Why are there fewer new international students in the Netherlands?

A possible reason for fewer new international students could be that universities in the Netherlands have stopped recruiting international students since the end of 2022, and have started implementing plans to reduce the number of internationals. A recent bill that was passed by the government limiting the number of students who can enrol in English-language courses is a prime example, as five out of six international bachelor students at Dutch research universities have previously chosen to study in English.  

Another deterrent for international students could be long waiting times for student housing or increasing rental costs of student accommodation. Students in Amsterdam are now paying around 950 euros a month for a room and it isn’t much better in other Dutch cities

According to Kamernet, a Dutch housing rental platform, students in Utrecht pay an average of 800 euros per month for a room, while those in the Hague pay approximately 745 euros per month. These prices are on average 5 percent higher than a year ago.

Fewer new international students in the Netherlands overall

For the first time since the 2006-2007 academic year, the number of international students first starting a bachelor’s programme has not increased. This year, Dutch research universities saw just over 20.000 new international enrolments for bachelor programmes, which is the same number as the previous academic year.

Universities of applied sciences saw an increase in new international students, especially at the master’s level. The most popular courses among international students were in economics and technology. 

Thumb image credit: Wolf-photography /

Simone Jacobs


Simone Jacobs

Editor for the Netherlands at IamExpat Media. Simone studied Genetics and Zoology at the Univeristy of Pretoria in South Africa before moving to the Netherlands, where she has been working...

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