The number of international students in the Netherlands doubled between 2006 and 2016 to more than 80,000.
According to a report published recently by Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, those students often remain in the Netherlands for years.
Although only two per cent of all students who go abroad to study come to the Netherlands, they have a big impact on such a small country. Those 80,000 are students who have come for a Bachelor or Master’s degree; the number does not include the forty thousand trainees and students who come for a course. In Maastricht, more than half the students come from abroad while in Deft, The Hague and Wageningen, more than a fifth are international. In Leiden, one in ten students is not Dutch. The percentages in many towns are much higher among the students who arrived this academic year. For example, 20% of the new Bachelor students in Leiden are foreign.
There are 164 different nationalities at the Dutch universities. Germans form the largest group: 22,000. In addition, there are many students from China (4,300), Italy (3,300) and Belgium (almost 3,000). The United Kingdom is in fifth place with 2,750 and climbing rapidly, probably because tuition fees have become much more expensive over there.
Nuffic also found out what students who graduated between 2007 and 2009 were up to. 36 to 42 per cent of those graduates were still in the Netherlands five years on. Based on figures provided by the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis and some educated guesses, the report estimates that, in the end, a quarter of the graduates remain in the Netherlands and that those who stay produce a brain gain of one and a half billion, mainly because they make up the deficiencies on the labour market. They primarily work in the four large cities, although more and more often, they are settling in the areas around the university towns Leiden, Groningen and Eindhoven.