5 Questions International Students Ask Before Moving to the Netherlands

May 9, 2018, 2:21 p.m.

Spring is here, the time of newness – new feelings, new plans, new dreams, new horizons. Its the time where certain terms end and new ones begin. Its the time many of us think of the future, ask ourselves the whats next? question.

If youre reading this, its probably that time for you. Whether youre about to finish school or are simply looking for a new destination – this is for you .

Spring in the Netherlands - Studying in the Netherlands as an International Student

Almost three years ago I asked myself that whats next? question. And it brought me to the lovely country of windmills, cheese and tulips – the country of the Dutchmen!

Actually, I didnt specifically want to come here but articles about Dutch universities and student stories online led me to decide for an international student life in the Netherlands. I havent regretted it once since I got here.

Have you ever considered studying abroad? I hope that what follows will trigger you to consider joining us internationals here!

Is the Netherlands a good place to live and study?

Im sure many of us dreamed of studying in one of those prestigious campuses in the US or UK…Guess what? Dutch universities rank amongst the highest ones in the world !

So why study in the Netherlands? No need to live in lifelong debts by granting yourself a yearly 30.000 (or more) pricey education. The Netherlands provide affordable, topmost quality education with innovative teaching methods, advanced in international education with internationally recognised degrees.

Moreover Dutch people are proficient English speakers although its not their national language, wherefore every nationality finds its home in this country .

For me personally its important to feel safe and comfortable in a place, where I can easily communicate with everyone and dont feel like a total alien.I dont speak Dutch and can shop, go see a movie or visit the doctor without a problem. So dont you worry!

Keep in mind that youre not the only foreigner. The number of international students only keeps rising. In 2016/2017, over 112.000 international students enrolled in Dutch universities , coming from all over the world, through an Erasmus+ program or for a complete study program.

Were all on the same boat regarding the language! So Im 100% sure that you wont feel lonely. I never did.

How much does it cost to study in the Netherlands?

Coming from France, I find the living expenses here affordable.

Compared to some countries and also looking at the provided educative quality, tuition fees in the Netherlands for international students are quite low.

Tuition fees EU/EEA students in 2017/2018: 2.060 / year
Tuition fees non-EU/EEA students in 2017/2018: 7.800 / year
( Tuition fees differ between EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students, but also between the type of program you choose: Bachelor, Master, PhD, Preparatory courses )

I definitely advise you to check out scholarships , financial aids, student loans and other programs that can help you finance your studies.

If youre a EU/EEA student you might get financial assistance from the Dutch government. To apply for such assistance you need to meet some employment requirements. Look at DUO For International Students for more information.

Heres a brief overview of my monthly costs:

Housing: 300
Phone: 25
Hobbies & leisure: 140
Books & supplies: 55
Food: 160
Transportation: 55
Clothing: 50
Insurance: 40 – 90

Of course some costs also depend on your individual needs so they might vary. For instance, you might not use public transportation if you get a bike – its cheap & healthy, typically Dutch & environmentally friendly!

For non-EU/EEA students, there are additional costs for visa / residence permit, and some insurance costs might also vary.

Can international students work in the Netherlands?

International students are allowed to work in the Netherlands under certain conditions: most of the time, only EU/EEA students can work due to legal regulations. Finding part time jobs for international students in the Netherlands might be challenging but is definitely possible.

Friends of mine who are German, Irish, Spanish and Hungarian work in cafs, bars, hotel receptions or shops. So you see, even if you arent fluent in Dutch, you can find a part-time job – all languages you speak will be of use at some point!

You can also look at your own university if they need a student assistant, for example, in the teachers or international office. A part-time job will not only support you finance your life in the Netherlands but also help you in socialising and meeting new people!

What is the best place to live in the Netherlands?

We all know the big cities in the Netherlands like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag or Utrecht. They are pretty, very international, attractive for tourists, and you feel a relaxed vibe.

But I have to admit that my personal preference are the smaller cities, where you still find the traditional Dutch values, flair and food. Hidden spots like tulip gardens, town churches, and small rivers bordered with charming cafs give me this idyllic feeling of coziness.

Enschede, for example, where I study, has something for everybody: various places to enjoy food & drinks, a market twice a week, a huge sports complex at the university, plenty of parks for the nature-lovers, museums, festivals and parties all summer long…you never get bored!

Deventer is a similar rustic town with its individual features, close by Enschede. You can marvel at the typical colourful Dutch houses alongside the river, visit the toy museum or an old windmill.

For us international students those are the perfect cities to live in, since you get easily everywhere, it is not too big and you have everything you need just around the corner.

How can I find an accomodation?

What is common for international student housing are student residences or student houses where you have your own room but share the rest of the house with a couple of other students.

This way housing costs stay low and it is a lot more fun to share life with other internationals rather than staying alone. Finding an accommodation is quite simple but I advise you to start early enough (May-July); search via Facebook, your university or specific websites:


I treasure how the Dutch spend lots of time outside with their families and friends, biking, having barbecues in the summer, and simply enjoying life.

What I love most about them is their easy-going way of living life: they are relaxed, welcome you as you are, and are jolly people to be around.

I fell in love with this country the day I arrived. I hope that you will too.


I'm half-French, half-German and was raised in both countries. Before coming to the Netherlands to study IHRM, I first studied in France and then worked for a non-profit organization by travelling through mediterranean islands, but I was still figuring out what I wanted to do in life. I found it - I enjoy helping people thrive in what they do ...

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