Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our mailing list

NL: growth of new international degree students stabilises

In the new annual report, Nuffic presents data on incoming degree student mobility in the Netherlands in the academic year 2021-23, covering yearly growth in total numbers, new enrolments, countries of origin, and fields of study, amongst other parameters. The analysis of current developments and trends is based on the latest available data in the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO) register.

The scope of this report is degree mobility, meaning international students who are enrolled in full degree programmes at publicly-financed Dutch higher education institutions. The report does not include international degree students enrolled at privately financed Dutch higher education institutions, of which there were approximately 1 700 in 2019. International students who come to the Netherlands for part of their study programme or an internship (known as credit mobility) are also outside the scope of this report. For the most recent available data on credit mobility within the Erasmus+ programme, you can refer to Nuffic’s dashboard on Erasmus+ higher education student mobility.

Key findings:

  • Growth in international degree student population down to 7% 

Year-on-year growth in the total number of international degree students has slowed from 12% in 2021-22, to 7% in 2022-23. This academic year there are 122 287 internationals in total, accounting for 15% of all degree students enrolled in Dutch higher education.

  • Number of new international enrolments stabilises

There are 50 876 new international degree students enrolled in Dutch higher education in 2022-23, almost the same number as the previous year.

  • Engineering the fastest growing field of study 

In total, 20 422 international degree students studied Engineering in 2022-33, making it the fastest growing field of study at universities of applied sciences (+16%) and the second fastest at research universities (+12%).

  • Almost 50% more Ukrainian degree students

There were 1 095 Ukrainian degree students in Dutch higher education in 2022-23, an increase of 47% compared to the previous year. Most of them studied for a bachelor’s degree at a university of applied sciences (53%) or a research university (35%).

  • Incoming degree mobility from the UK down by 42% since Brexit 

The UK is now the 17th most common country of origin for international degree students in the Netherlands, compared to 10th in 2020-21. 

The recent figures are particularly relevant in the current debate about international students in the Netherlands (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, April 2023).