One in four international students remains in the Netherlands

More international students stay in the Netherlands after completing their studies than was initially assumed, according to an observation by EP-Nuffic. Students of Wageningen return home more often than students with degrees relating to technology.
Albert Sikkema

Five years after finishing their studies, 36 to 40 percent of international students are still in the Netherlands, and 25 percent remains in the Netherlands for the rest of their lives, as was concluded by EP-Nuffic, the organisation for the internationalising of education. Three out of four international graduates have a well-payed job, with which they annually contribute nearly 1.6 billion euros to the Dutch treasury.


A relatively low number of international students that studied at WUR stays to live and work in the Netherlands. About 24 percent of the graduates in the knowledge domain ‘agriculture and natural environment’ is still in the Netherlands after five years, while these numbers are 54 percent and 49 percent for graduates in medical care and technology, respectively. The latter makes the international students an important factor in the achievement of the National Technology Pact, which is supposed to help eliminate the shortage of technicians, states EP-Nuffic.


The number of international students in the Netherlands increased from 25 thousand in 2000 to around 75 thousand last academic year. This means they account for 10 percent of the total number of students at universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. More than half of them are from the European Union, and well over 30 percent originate from outside Europe. Additionally, more than 15 percent are Dutch citizens with a previous education followed abroad. EP-Nuffic observed that students from outside the European Union remain in the Netherlands more often than students with their roots in the EU.

Germany is the main provider of international students, followed by China. Graduates from Indonesia, Poland and Belgium have the highest percentages of students remaining in the Netherlands, whereas graduates from Africa and the Middle East have the lowest.

High grades

According to EP-Nuffic, the Dutch government should pay more attention to the binding of talented international graduates. International students often finish their studies in a shorter time and with higher grades than their Dutch counterparts, and subsequently contribute just as much to Dutch knowledge based economy as do the Dutch graduates.

EP-Nuffic published the numbers last week, during the Week of the International Student.

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