Institutions of higher education are classified as research universities or universities of applied sciences.

Country Overview

A quarter of the low-lying Netherlands is below sea level. Over the centuries the densely populated country has reclaimed land from the sea through a famed system of levees and dikes. Since it won independence from Spain, in the 16th century, the country–a constitutional monarchy with a reputation for social tolerance–has become a major player in world trade. It has produced some of the world’s most renowned painters, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and Mondrian.


The Netherlands have a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters. Daytime temperatures varies from 2°C-6°C in the winter and 17°C-20°C in the summer.

Since the country is small there is little variation in climate from region to region, although the marine influences are less inland. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year with a dryer period from April to September.

Especially in fall and winter strong atlantic low-pressure systems can bring gales and uncomfortable weather. Sometimes easterly winds can cause a more continental type of weather, warm and dry in the summer, but cold and clear in the winter with temperatures sometimes far below zero. Holland is a flat country and has often breezy conditions, although more in the winter than in the summer, and more among the coastal areas than inland.


$672,000,000,000 (2005 data)



Overview of Higher Education

Institutions of higher education are divided between research universities and universities of applied sciences. Universities, which have considerable autonomy, participate in the Bologna Process.

A bachelor’s degree requires three to four years of study. A master’s degree can require one to three and a half years; such degrees are offered almost exclusively at research universities. A doctorate is awarded after at least four years of research and public defense of a thesis.

In recent years some 200,000 students were enrolled in the country’s 13 universities.

(Sources: BBC, The Europa World of Learning, Studychoice.nl)

Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 156

Number of Higher Education Students

Number of students enrolled: 580,000

Number of international students enrolled: 48,900

Contact Information

Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap
(Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

PO Box 16375, 2500 BJ, Den Haag, The Netherlands

Web site: http://www.minocw.nl/english/education/

Phone: 0031 70 4123456

E-mail: ocwinfo@postbus51.nl

Contact: Ronald Hans Anton (Ronald) Plasterk, Minister of Education, Culture and Science