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Guide to Netherlands Scholarships for International Students

Guide to Netherlands Scholarships for International Students
Alpina ChariMay 12, 2023

Guide to Netherlands Scholarships for International Students

Despite the relatively low tuition costs in the Netherlands (Holland), scholarships are available for foreign students. The Dutch government, through collaborations with different countries and organizations, mainly funds scholarships in the Netherlands for international students. These scholarships fall under two categories based on the admission criteria: 

  • For students
  • For working professionals 

Students and working professionals applying to programs at participating research universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands are eligible to apply.  

Holland Scholarship, Orange Tulip Scholarship Program, NRF-Nuffic Program South Africa, Sino-Dutch Scholarship, and Erasmus+ Scholarship fall under the category of student scholarships. Students pursuing higher education in the Netherlands can apply for these scholarships. Whereas, Orange Knowledge Program, OKP-LPDP: StuNed Joint Scholarship Program, MENA Scholarship Program, and the Desmond Fortes Scholarship are for working professionals. They can pursue either short courses or master’s degrees in the Netherlands. Interested students must check out their eligibility before applying since these are course-specific and eligibility may change depending on your nationality. 

Besides, many universities in the Netherlands offer scholarships to international students. Our scholarship database provides detailed information about university-based scholarships offered by Netherlands universities. While most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit, there are also scholarship opportunities for co-curricular activities, financial need, leadership skills, etc.

Scholarships in the Netherlands for International Students: Overview 

Funding type  The Dutch government, global organizations, and universities
Scholarship type based on eligibility Scholarships for students and working professionals 
Student scholarships  Holland Scholarship, Orange Tulip Scholarship Program, NRF-Nuffic Program South Africa, Sino-Dutch Scholarship, and Erasmus+ Scholarship
Working professional scholarships  Orange Knowledge Program, OKP-LPDP: StuNed Joint Scholarship Program, MENA Scholarship Program, and the Desmond Fortes Scholarship
Popular University-Specific Scholarships Amsterdam Merit Scholarship, Utrecht Excellence Scholarship, TU Delft Excellence Scholarship, Radboud Scholarship Program, Leiden University Excellence Scholarship Program, Maastricht University Holland High Potential Scholarship

Netherlands Scholarships for International Students 

Holland Scholarship

The Holland Scholarship is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and many research universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. This scholarship is meant for non-European Economic Area (EEA) international students. Students pursuing both bachelor’s and master’s in the Netherlands can apply for it. The scholarship does not cover full-tuition fees. It amounts to 5,000 EUR awarded to students in the first year of studies. 

Eligibility Criteria 

  • You must be of non-EEA nationality 
  • You must apply to a full-time bachelor’s or master’s program at one of the participating institutions
  • You should meet the specific requirements of the participating institution 
  • You must not own a degree from a university in the Netherlands

The “Study in NL” website lists participating research universities and universities of applied sciences for the Holland Scholarship. This list is updated every year. Currently, the website lists 15 research institutions and 24 universities of applied sciences. The application round for the academic year 2023-2024 has been open since November 2022 and is expected to close by May or June 2023. Interested applicants can check the website for the names of the participating universities and whether they are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

Orange Tulip Scholarship Program

The Orange Tulip Scholarship (OTS) is promoted and managed by the Nesos (Netherlands Education Support Offices). This scholarship is awarded to brilliant students from India and Indonesia only. Students must note that participating Dutch institutions will decide which students will be granted the scholarship. The scholarship amount, the course offered, and application requirements vary by country and participating universities. 

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Citizens of India and Indonesia 
  • Not currently studying or working in the Netherlands
  • Does not hold a degree from a Holland institute of higher education
  • Undergoing the admission process or being admitted to a Dutch participating university

20 Dutch universities offer OTS for Indian students and cover mostly master’s and a few bachelor’s courses. The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Breda University of Applied Sciences, and Wageningen University & Research provide OTS scholarships covering their bachelor courses. To apply, students must complete a form given on the “Study in NL” website and send it to

OTS for Indonesian students covers undergraduate, graduate, and a few MBA courses.  Amsterdam Business School, Maastricht School of Management, TIAS School for Business and Society, and Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences offer this scholarship for their MBAs. Interested students can apply by filling out the form and submitting it to

NRF-Nuffic Program South Africa

It is a partnership program between the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa and Nuffic, an independent, non-profit Dutch organization for internationalization in education. The scholarship provides funding for Ph.D. programs for South African citizens and permanent residents. The funding is provided for full-time studies in the Netherlands or full-time joint doctoral programs offered by the Netherlands’ higher education institutions and partner universities in South Africa.

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Citizen or permanent residents of South Africa
  • Full-time doctoral programs 

Sino-Dutch Scholarship

This bilateral exchange partnership program is a Dutch-Chinese scholarship offered to 25 Dutch and 25 Chinese students annually. The funding for the scholarship comes from the education ministries of the Netherlands and the People’s Republic of China. This scholarship allows bright Chinese students to pursue research in the Netherlands for one academic year. Only students in their third year of bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. can apply for this scholarship. They are awarded an amount of 16,113 EUR to cover the total cost of the research for a year. This amount is paid directly to the candidate in three installments spread over a year. 

Applications must be submitted to the China Scholarship Council (CSC) and to Nuffic. The CSC is responsible for selecting the eligible applicants whereas Nuffic is responsible for the administration of scholarships and the final selection of the candidates. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Candidates must follow the code of conduct set by CSC and Nuffic
  • Must be between the ages of 18-35 years at the start of their research in the Netherlands 
  • They must be a Chinese citizen 
  • Must be admitted to the course for which they have requested the scholarship
  • CSC must nominate an applicant for the Sino-Dutch scholarship

Students can apply online by submitting their application, the required documents, and a copy of their passport. The applications are assessed based on the candidate’s grades, resume, and motivation. 

Erasmus+ Scholarship

This scholarship is a new EU program for Education, Training, Youth, and Sport to promote the mobility of international students. Students can spend anywhere from 2 months up to 1 year in the Netherlands for study or a traineeship (work placement). For example, students can spend 2-12 months of their bachelor’s or master’s studies at an academic institution in the Netherlands. This period can also be a combination of study or traineeship. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Candidates must be selected by their university during their final study year
  • Must be studying or recently graduated from a higher education institution

Netherlands Scholarships for Foreign Working Professionals

Working international students or mid-career professionals who wish to study further can also apply for scholarships in the Netherlands. 

Orange Knowledge Program

OKP or Orange Knowledge Program funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs was started with the aim to contribute to society’s sustainable and inclusive development. The scholarships are considered for short courses of 2 weeks to 7 months and long master’s programs of 12-24 months. OKP is open to mid-career professionals from the following countries as per the “Study in NL” website

Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia, Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, and Yemen.

This list of participating countries keeps getting updated from time to time and students must refer to the website to confirm their eligibility. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Living and working in OKP country 
  • Proficient in English or French 
  • Highly motivated 
  • Must be able to transfer their knowledge and experience at work after their studies
  • Working in priority areas for their country 

Students will need an employer statement to show that they support their application. Civil servants, on the other hand, must submit a government statement to prove the support of their government. OKP scholarships fall under the focus areas of 

  • Security and rule of law
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Food and nutrition security
  • Water management

Applications related to security and the rule of law and sexual and reproductive health and rights are prioritized over other focus areas. There are two application rounds for OKP scholarships: Round 1 from February to March and Round 2 from June to September.  Once submitted, the results of the application are announced within 3 to 4 months.

OKP-LPDP: StuNed Joint Scholarship Program

This scholarship is an integration of the OKP program but is limited to mid-career professionals from Indonesia to pursue a full-time master’s degree at a Dutch university. OKP-LPDP is a collaboration between Nuffic Neso Indonesia, the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP), and the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture (DIKTI) started in 2021. In 2022, it got integrated into the OKP scholarship program. 

The main aim of this bilateral cooperation is to promote Indonesia’s sustainable and inclusive development. The courses that are covered under the scholarship include

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Water management and technology
  • Public health management
  • Sustainable and circular economy focusing on urban development and heritage restoration
  • Maritime and logistics
  • Security and rule of law, in particular, cyber security

Eligibility Criteria

  • Indonesian citizens living and working in Indonesia 
  • Candidate must be willing to return to Indonesia upon graduation
  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimal GPA of 3.0
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL IBT ≥90 or IELTS ≥6.5)
  • Mid-career professional below 35 years of age 
  • Unconditional letter of acceptance

It is a fully funded scholarship program that covers tuition fees, health insurance, study material cost, visa cost, travel, settling costs, research allowance, etc. Applications are accepted from February 2023 till June 2023. The assessment for the scholarship is done on the basis of the relevance of the application to priority areas, eligibility criteria, and the quality of the application. A total of 9 Dutch Institutions are participating in the scholarship program. 

MENA Scholarship Program

Young professionals from the Middle East and North Africa can apply for MENA Scholarship Program to pursue short courses in the Netherlands. It is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Shiraka program and managed by Nuffic. The aim of this scholarship is to foster relationships with organizations in the Middle East and North Africa. This enables mutual understanding and knowledge sharing between the participating countries to foster a strong alumni network.

Here is the list of eligible countries provided by the Study in NL website

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Mauritania
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia

Syrians who live or work in any one of the above-mentioned countries are also welcome to apply for the MENA Scholarship. Through this limited scholarship, a handful of highly motivated working professionals are selected to pursue short courses in English or French in the Netherlands. Students can apply for the scholarship twice a year in February or March and in September or October. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Candidates up to 45 years old are allowed to apply for the scholarship 
  • The course duration must not exceed 2 to 13 weeks 

The Desmond Fortes Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to aspiring professionals from Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. The applicant must be employed within FMO’s client network. FMO is a Dutch development bank based in the Hague and manages funds for the Dutch government. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must have a strong interest in green finance and environmental sustainability
  • Must be citizens of the countries mentioned above 
  • They must be employed by the client network of the FMO bank 

This scholarship is awarded in honor of FMO’s colleague Desmond Fortes who passed away in 2015 due to an unexpected cause. It celebrates his passion and dedication to promoting green finance and environmental sustainability in developing economies. 

Besides the government and collaborative scholarships, international students can also expect scholarships funded by Dutch universities. These scholarships are awarded as entry scholarships for newcomers, merit-based scholarships for academically bright students, and financial aid for underprivileged students. Some scholarships are also given to students participating in sports and extracurricular activities. 


The tuition fees and living costs for international students in the Netherlands are affordable. As per the official website of “Study in NL,” the annual tuition fee for bachelor’s programs is between 6,000 and 15,000 EUR. And for a master’s program, the fees fall between 8,000 to 20,000 EUR per year for Non-EU students. Even then, the Dutch government offers scholarships to international students. The most popular scholarship covering a wide range of courses is the Holland Scholarship. The government of Holland also awards scholarships in collaboration with international agencies. These scholarships are country-specific and some of them can also be availed of by working professionals. Lastly, international students can also apply for specific university scholarships in the Netherlands. For more information on scholarships and admission criteria, contact Gyanberry.

Find Related Blogs


International students in the Netherlands can apply for a range of scholarships. These scholarships are funded by the Dutch government along or in cooperation with global agencies and some are thus country-specific. Additionally, some Dutch universities also award scholarships to international students.

Holland Scholarship funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education is the most popular scholarship for international students in the Netherlands. Students pursuing both bachelor’s and master’s in the Netherlands can apply for it. Students are awarded 5,000 EUR in the first year of their studies. 

Yes, scholarships are available in the Netherlands for foreign working professionals. These include Orange Knowledge Program, OKP-LPDP: StuNed Joint Scholarship Program, MENA Scholarship Program, and the Desmond Fortes Scholarship. 

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