Universities are limiting intake of international students

Dutch universities have come up with a range of measures to limit the influx of internationals.

The number of Dutch-language bachelor programmes will increase from 2025-2026 onward and the number of English-language programmes will be reduced (they currently represent 30 percent of the total number of programmes). At least one of every major bachelor programme will also be taught in Dutch.

Furthermore, no new English-language bachelor programmes will be developed for the time being, and an overview will be made of which current English-language programmes can be fully converted to Dutch and active recruitment abroad will cease.

Unbridled influx

Umbrella organisation Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) reported on the measures on Thursday. With these measures, UNL is anticipating the upcoming Balanced Internationalisation Act, which appears to have a large majority in the Lower House in favour. The law should put an end to the unbridled influx of internationals at Dutch universities.

At the UG, about 30 per cent of students are from abroad. Jouke de Vries, interim president at UNL and boss at the UG, stresses that internationalisation is important for both Dutch universities and society.


At the same time, however, the growth in international student numbers is causing difficulties. The accessibility and quality of education are under pressure and in university cities, including Groningen, there is not enough student housing. ‘It’s because we want to preserve the added value of internationalisation that we are serious about solving these issues’, says De Vries.

UNL does point out that not all regions are facing the same difficulties. The measures will therefore differ from university to university.

Study climate

UNL stresses that internationalisation is very important for the Netherlands. It contributes to a stimulating study climate, a good connection to international scientific developments, and to training sufficient talent for the labour market.

In addition, international students also mean a lot to the Dutch economy. The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis calculated that their net contribution is almost 17,000 euros per European student. Students from outside the EU are worth 96,000 euros each.

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