The Netherlands is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a small, densely populated country located in Western Europe with three island territories in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. The name Holland is also frequently and incorrectly used to refer informally to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. “Netherlands” literally means “lower countries”, influenced by its low land and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above sea level. With a population density of 408 people per km2 – 505 (July 2016) if water is excluded – the Netherlands is a very densely populated country.
Netherlands was the third country in the world to have an elected parliament, and since 1848 it has been governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, organised as a unitary state. The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and is generally regarded as one of the most liberal countries in the world.
The Netherlands has a market-based mixed economy, ranking 17th of 177 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom. It had the thirteenth-highest per capita income in the world in 2013 according to the International Monetary Fund. In 2013, the United Nations World Happiness Report ranked the Netherlands as the seventh-happiest country in the world, reflecting its high quality of life.The predominant wind direction in the Netherlands is southwest, which causes a moderate maritime climate, with warm summers and cool winters, and typically high humidity. Precipitation throughout the year is distributed relatively equally each month. Summer and autumn months tend to gather a little more precipitation than the other months.
|Flag||Time zone UTC +01:00
Summer (DST) UTC +02:00
|Capital Amsterdam||Total Area 41,543 km2 (134th)
16,033 sq mi
|Largest city Amsterdam||Population 17,000,059|
|Official language(s) Dutch|
|GDP (Nominal) $50,339 per capita (15th)|
|Calling code +31||Currency Euro (€)|
The Netherlands is credited as the first non-English speaking country in which universities started to offer higher education study programmes in English to accommodate students coming from abroad. The number of such programs now topping out well over 1,000. Most people in the Netherlands speak English to a very high standard, and many courses at Dutch universities are offered in English. Not only does this mean that Dutch education is more accessible to non-Dutch speaking people, but it also means it is way easier to mix and make friends.
The Netherlands has been recognized as a knowledge centre with rich study traditions and well-known universities. Scientific research done at Dutch universities is very highly valued at both the national and international level.
The Netherlands has an astounding 13 globally-ranked universities in QS’s World University Rankings 2014-2015 which, considering its size, is pretty impressive. Its higher education institutes have been internationally recognised since the 16th century, and Utrecht university alone has produced 12 Nobel Prize laureates. This reputation means that standards can be high, but if successful, you’ll come away with invaluable knowledge and experience.
Being such a small country with efficient, well-connected train lines and a 40% discounts for students, you really don’t need a car in the Netherlands. You’re more likely to need a bicycle – the country has an extensive network of cycle paths that are a famously popular and eco-friendly way to get from A to B. Traveling to and from your lectures, and across the country, couldn’t be easier.
Education in Holland meets all international standards and is well-reputed worldwide. A diploma from a Dutch university provides an opportunity to start one’s own business and can be very useful in terms of having a successful career in any country of the world.
The Netherlands is a historical hub for art, philosophy and scientific research, and has been for centuries. While studying there, you’ll be able to visit the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings in the world, the Keukenhof gardens (full of – guess what – tulips), the Anne Frank house and the Hague, the famous ‘judicial capital of the world’.
The Netherlands has also received international acclaim for its groundbreaking Problem-Based Learning educational system where students are trained to analyse and solve practical problems and to develop their own professional individuality.
Many international companies have departments in The Netherlands due to the favourable economic conditions. This feature helps students at Dutch universities by opening up possibilities to gain internships at many of these companies and allowing them to create their own professional networks for their future careers.
If you’re into architecture, engineering and urban planning, the Netherlands is an inspirational place to be. The astounding Delta Works, a complex flood protection system in the southwest region of the Netherlands, is just one example of how the Dutch innovate in this area. Our IHS Erasmus blogger, Monserrat, thinks Rotterdam in particular makes the ideal place to study urban management, which focuses on the development of cities.
The tuition fees and other expenses for those who come to study in Holland are relatively low compared to other European countries.
Due to its central geographic and economic position in continental Europe, The Netherlands is often described as the gateway to Europe. It takes only about an hour to fly from Amsterdam to Paris, Berlin, Brussels, or London.
The availability of scholarship support — offered both through the Dutch government and higher education institutions — adds to the reasons why the Netherlands is one of the top choices for international scholars.
Long known for its multiculturalism, the Netherlands is more focused than ever on attracting international students thanks to the recent “Make it in The Netherlands” initiative. This comprehensive plan aims to engage more international students based on the conviction that a diverse student population boosts everything from employment success rates for all to an enhanced educational system.
Employers also value international talent in the form of students, researchers and workers: to that end, more career options are being presented to international students, as well as increased opportunities for language learning. “Make it in The Netherlands” is also focused on reducing barriers between Dutch students and their international counterparts for increased collaboration.
It has been an international trade mecca for hundreds of years and demonstrates a mindset which values differences in people and ideas. This spirit of diversity and sense of connectedness is a hallmark of Dutch education, and is a leading reason why 143 nationalities are represented here.
Because the Dutch higher education system is held in such high esteem, so are its graduates. Whether you aspire to start your own business or join the corporate workforce, a Dutch education not only lays a terrific foundation, but also ups your value to potential employers.