Slightly fewer international students enrol in universities

Nation-wide, the number of students embarking on a bachelor’s programme dropped by 220, while there were 1700 fewer international masters’ students.
Internationals during the winter-AID. Photo Marte Hofsteenge

International students make up approximately one-third of the first-year students at Dutch universities, according to a definitive census—a slight decline.

‘Ceasing to recruit international students and warnings about limited housing options appears to bear fruit’, says Jouke de Vries, chair of the Association of Universities UNL.

The number of international students enrolled in a bachelor’s programme dropped by 220 from last year, with the total number of international enrolments reaching 18,594. This amounts to 31 per cent of the total influx.

The anglicisation of Dutch tertiary education and the influx of international students have been points of concern in the House of Representatives for many years. The minister is currently working on a legislative proposal related to this issue and has reached an agreement with universities to stop recruiting international students.


The master’s programmes also show a decline in the number of international students, albeit only among students who travelled to the Netherlands specifically for their master’s. This number dropped by 1700 from last year.

There is, however, also a group of international students who have graduated from their bachelor’s in the Netherlands and go on to pursue a master’s. This is a considerable group, which has ultimately increased the total number of internationals among the first-year master’s students by 550.

Per university

At a national level, the total number of students enrolled in a bachelor programme dropped by eight hundred, with considerable discrepancies between universities. Maastricht, for example, saw a ten per cent increase. Meanwhile, the influx in Tilburg dropped by eight per cent.

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The total influx in masters’ programmes increased by two per cent to a total of 52.5 thousand new students, 33 per cent of whom are internationals.

It is worth noting that the greatest increase in influx into the masters’ programmes occurred in Tilburg: twelve per cent. By contrast, the number of first-year students in Groningen’s masters’ programmes dropped by seven per cent.

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