Utrecht University once again ranked as the Netherlands’ best

Utrecht University once again ranked as the Netherlands’ best

The 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has once again named Utrecht University as the top university in the Netherlands, with a further two institutions nabbing a spot in the top 100. 

2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities

The AWRU is published annually by the Center for World-Class Universities (CWCU) of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Since 2003, the so-called Shanghai Ranking has used six objective indicators to review 1.800 universities every year in order to determine the top 1.000 around the world:

  • Number of highly cited researchers
  • Number of papers published in Nature and Science
  • Number of papers indexed in the Science Citation Index, Expanded and Social Science Citation Index
  • Number of alumni winning Field Medals and Nobel Prizes
  • Number of staff winning Field Medals and Nobel Prizes
  • The per capita academic performance of an institution

This year’s ranking is once again dominated by UK and US-based universities, with Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge claiming the top three spots. Other international education institutions to perform well include Paris-Saclay University in 13th place, ETH Zurich in 21st place, the University of Toronto in 22nd place and the University of Tokyo in 24th place.

Utrecht University claims top spot over Groningen and Leiden

For years, Utrecht University (UU) has managed to secure a spot in the top 55 universities in the world, with the Shanghai Ranking naming it the best university in the Netherlands 19 years in a row. This year, UU rose to 50th place, a slight improvement on 2020’s 52nd place. The ranking highlights UU’s best-ranked subjects, which include public administration, geography, oceanography, education and medical technology. 

Utrecht is not the only Dutch city that houses a top-class university. Both the University of Groningen and Leiden University have also secured spots in the top 100, in 64th and 83rd place respectively. Erasmus University Rotterdam has experienced a significant drop over the past few years, falling from 68th place in 2019, to 80th place in 2020, to 101-150 in 2021.

The best universities in the Netherlands

All of the 13 main universities in the Netherlands were featured in this year’s ranking, the majority of which secured spots in the top 200:

  1. Utrecht University (50th place)
  2. University of Groningen (64th)
  3. Leiden University (83rd)
  4. Erasmus University Rotterdam  (101-150)
  5. Radboud University Nijmegen (101-150)
  6. University of Amsterdam (101-150)
  7. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (101-150)
  8. Wageningen University & Research (101-150)
  9. Delft University of Technology (151-200)
  10. Maastricht University (201-300)
  11. Eindhoven University of Technology (301-400)
  12. University of Twente (401-500)
  13. Tilburg University (601-700)

For more information about the ranking, visit the ARWU website.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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