Partner:  Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC)

In addition to being a leading destination country for international students, the Netherlands also sends a sizable number of its tertiary students abroad. The majority of international students come from Europe. German students account for 28% of all international enrollment in the Netherlands. The second leading sending country is China, which sent 4,342 students in 2015/16. There were over 78,800 international students in Dutch higher education in 2015/16. The top five places of origin in 2015/16 were Germany, China, Belgium, Italy, and the United Kingdom. NUFFIC is an independent, non-profit organization that supports internationalization in higher education and research in the Netherlands.


Inbound/International Student: An individual who has crossed a national border into the Netherlands with the purpose of studying at a higher education institution. The criterion for being an internationally mobile student in the Netherlands is the country where a student completed his or her high school degree (for full-degree/qualification students) or country where he or she is enrolled in a full higher education program (for credit point mobility students who are defined as students crossing a border with the purpose of obtaining credit points for a full-degree program back in the country of origin). Therefore, Dutch nationals who are mobile or “homecoming students” are included in this definition. All EP-Nuffic reporting prior to 2015-16 used a student’s nationality as the criterion for mobility. Data submitted to Project Atlas only reflects full-degree/qualification (bachelor’s and master’s) which reflects the majority of inbound mobility to the Netherlands.

Outbound Student: A student with a Dutch nationality pursuing education in another country. All information on outgoing Dutch full-degree students is supplemented from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

Public HEI: Constitute the majority of HEIs in the Netherlands.

Private HEI: Data submitted to Project Atlas only reflect international students in public HEIs.

Data Tables 

Data Collection and Resources

Entities collecting data on academic mobility in the Netherlands include the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH), Ministry of Education (DUO), and the Central Agency for Statistics (CBS). The DUO sets policies relating to data collection while CBS is the primary source of data. Data have been collected on an annual basis from 1998 onward, to date. Specific data are collected on: academic degree and non-degree granting programs; and other types of program (e.g., vocational, distance learning, secondary, etc.).

For additional data or other information on international students, please visit: