The most favorable factor for any international student is the ability to communicate in and about the country in which their college is situated. This is the major reason why more than 150,000 international students opt to pursue their higher education in some of the best cities in the Netherlands. Although Dutch is its native language, English speakers constitute about 95% of the Netherlands’ population.
The language barrier is blurred, making the Netherlands the 9th best country in the world for higher education and also as a country to live and work in, according to the Campus Advisor’s survey 2022, with an overall score of 4.32 out of 5. On top of this, the Netherlands ranks 21st on the Global Peace Index ranking scale of measuring the safest countries in the world. So, don’t be afraid to roam around and explore the country as much as you like, since it is well said that the student days won’t come back once gone!
Since each city has something unique to offer, from traveling to accommodation and from the employment rate to hang-out places, it becomes crucial to assess the city where your university is situated. For this very purpose, let’s take a look at the best student cities in the Netherlands for international students.
Student life in Utrecht
As per the Times Higher Education Ranking 2023, Utrecht paces up to be the forerunner in the list of the best student cities in the Netherlands. Being the fourth biggest and the oldest city in the whole of the Netherlands with a countryside feel, it is the perfect combination of student hype along with a laid-back atmosphere.
Some of the major pros when it comes to Utrecht being your place of study are
- Safer city: Utrecht is the 4th safest city in Amsterdam, giving you the freedom to wander about as much as you wish.
- Less commute: With the perfect combination of less city area and a well-designed public transportation system, the city offers students a few more minutes of precious sleep (not to mention the skillfully laid-out bicycle paths).
- Higher wages: Students nowadays, being independent, can look for part-time jobs that pay well, thanks to the city’s high average salary index.
- Dutch feels: History buffs have found their haven as the oldest city in the Netherlands has more than 25 museums, along with traditionally designed buildings, roads, and even houses. In addition, the canals, cathedrals, and gardens in and around the suburban city are major tourist attractions.
|Top universities in Utrecht||Utrecht University, HKU University of Arts, Nyenrode University of Business|
|Popular universities in Utrecht||Utrecht University, HU University of Applied Sciences, TIAS School for Business & Society|
Student life in Amsterdam
The capital of the Netherlands, the hub of all new and exciting things, Amsterdam is the land of opportunities. This city has everything from cuisines to travel to international opportunities for students, including traffic (courtesy of being the busiest city in the Netherlands). Let’s have a quick overview of why this city is the one-stop destination for all international students.
- Pick up your travel bags: It only takes half an hour by plane to travel from Amsterdam to Paris, Berlin, Venice, or London! But if planes prove to be expensive on the student allowance, there is always the Thalys, the best train to travel intercontinental, passing by the most extravagant and panoramic view of one’s life.
- High chances of becoming a food blogger: The city is the capital, and has the widest array of international as well as native cuisines to offer for all to take one or more bites, from the Albert Cuyp market to Dam Square. You did not hear this from the writer, but Amsterdam has more than 1,100 bars and pubs.
- High employment rate: With more than 500 international companies setting up base in Amsterdam, the number of jobs created has significantly gone up. This doesn’t mean that getting a job might get easier (as more people are applying every day), but it does create a bigger scope for students to apply.
- Nightlife: The rave and scintillating music at parties all around Amsterdam have caused quite the commotion nowadays, with fests lining up and concerts being performed non-stop. With Martin Garrix, Afrojack, and Tiësto having made the Netherlands world-famous in the realm of techno music and EDM, the nightlife becomes a vital part of any student’s college life.
- Public transportation: Although bicycles are the trend around the country, the hubbub of the city rarely allows for a quiet, dreamy life. Instead, the metro, trams, buses, and ferries link the whole city, making it much easier to commute.
- Art/Museums: Netherlands is also the home to an iconic historical figure of art, the revered Rembrandt, and his exclusive museum in Amsterdam, hanging some of his etchings in perfection.
|Top universities in Amsterdam||University of Amsterdam, Vrije University|
|Popular universities in Amsterdam||Amsterdam School of Arts, Intercollege Business School of Amsterdam, HvA Jakoba Mulderhuis (JMH)|
Student life in Groningen – World Cycling City
The more easy-going city of the Netherlands, situated in the north of the country, Groningen is known to be the ultimate student city. With over 25% of the city’s inhabitants being students, most of the hang-out places are overfilled with students. As the city is well laid out, there are bicycle paths everywhere for a student to commute or to enjoy a day out in the landscape. There is more time for after-work recreation due to lower commute times, maybe shorter working days, and a more relaxed work environment.
The student life resembles that of an average British student, making it possible for students in Groningen universities to work internationally along with experiencing the typical Dutch lifestyle.
|Top universities in the Groningen||University of Groningen, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences|
Student life in Delft
Home to the golden age artist Vermeer, the city has the most colorful history, with strong links to the House of Orange (the royal family of the Netherlands). Being well-versed in history, the city is as forward in technology and innovation, with extravagant universities catering to the same. The region’s Clean Tech Delta and Medical Delta both have large concentrations of innovative businesses situated in Delft. Environmental research into renewable energy sources, biofuels, and cancer cures are all actively being conducted in the Technological Innovation Campus. Additionally headquartered in Delft are the UN-Water Centre and UNESCO-IHE.
To all the art enthusiasts out there, the writer can very proudly assert that they have a first copy of ‘The Milkmaid’, by none other than Johannes Vermeer. With its canal-side pubs, hipster boutiques, and inexpensive eateries, Delft’s historic center is a bustling student neighborhood.
|Top universities in the Delft||Delft University of Technology, TU Delft Faculty of Architecture, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education|
Student life in Eindhoven
The last on our list of the best student cities in the Netherlands is Eindhoven. A relatively quiet city, Eindhoven is majorly the place for students due to its upcoming universities in major sectors. With commuting being easy in the city with the help of bicycles and the cost of living being quite manageable in Eindhoven, students can save up to enjoy the brighter aspects of living in the city. These include recreational activities such as sports in the famous Student Sports Centre, Eindhoven, which is available to all students from all universities.
Once you’ve figured out your expenses, don’t forget to check out the nightlife of the city! With its wide range of bars, pubs, and clubs, Eindhoven has numerous after-hours hangout spots, with the majority population being students. Some major areas include the Markt, Stratumseind (the longest pub street in the Netherlands), Kleineberg, and Wilhelminaplein.
|Top universities in the Eindhoven||Eindhoven University of Technology, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Design Academy Eindhoven|
Student life in the Netherlands
Like all other European countries, the Netherlands doesn’t fall short of its ability to awe everyone with its picturesque beauty. Also known as the Gateway to Europe, Netherland’s geographical and economic position in Central Europe puts it at an advantage. Located in the temperate zone, the air quality index of the Netherlands averages at 20 AQI as per the AQI Index, also making it one of the least polluted countries in the world.
Although the scenic attraction of the European country is the icing on the cake, student life strives on two crucial entities – caffeine and extra-curricular activities such as parties and socializing. Moving on to the more interesting aspect, the attribute Netherlands is immensely attached to – Dutch brews, including world-famous brands such as Heineken, Grolsch, Bavaria and not to mention, and Douwe Egberts’s coffee.
For my art lovers, the Netherlands is home to more than 1,000 museums and an immense amount of musicals and theatres. As the Europeans take pride in everything artistic associated even remotely with them, let’s not forget the breathtaking Van Gogh Museum, which requires a whole article to itself.
All aspects aside, with some of the best student cities in the Netherlands, it proves to be a one-stop destination for higher studies. Although there exists quite some tension regarding accommodations provided to students, since campuses overflow with the intake of students each year, the universities in the Netherlands strive to help students find accommodation through their various portals and help centers. Just make sure to keep the following points in mind while choosing one of the best student cities in the Netherlands:
- Participate in anything and everything: One thing the people of the Netherlands love, and especially universities, are organizations, student clubs, societies, etc. Do not forget to involve yourself as much as possible, as the people there are quite friendly, warm, and open to learning.
- Student life varies according to your university: Make sure to check up and read up on the university you’re applying to before diving head first since there is no particular set of rules for all the universities to follow in the Netherlands. Rather, each university has its own work and life.
- There’s always time to travel: Most Dutch universities often have classes for around 40 weeks a year. Since you practically live at the university, it gives you a lot of free time to travel around. So, make sure to pop in and out of Paris, Berlin, or Antwerp just in a few hours by coach!
- You cycle everywhere: the Netherlands is big on sports and maintaining a healthy body. No matter what time of the year, the most convenient way to commute around the country is by cycling. Cycle stands and cheap cycle rides are available throughout the country.
All in all, the people, the culture, the studies, and the life here in the Netherlands becomes unrivaled and second to none if looking to study abroad. From deciding which Netherlands city to go to, to which university is best and cheap for your chosen field, we can help you in numerous ways. Our admissions counseling services have assisted thousands of students in getting into their dream universities. For more information, kindly book a video appointment with our experts.