News and events Tilburg University

Proposed legislation concerning internationalization of higher education and online consultation

Published: 19th July 2023 Last updated: 19th July 2023

After the Cabinet meeting on Friday, July 14, the online consultation for the proposed legislation concerning a more balanced and coordinated approach to internationalization in Dutch higher education (Wet internationalisering in balans) was launched*. We understand that this proposed legislation may lead to additional worries and concerns among all our colleagues. Therefore we want to emphasize again that Tilburg University continues to be committed to our (international) employees and students. We are inclusive and stand up for our entire academic community. Tilburg University is analysing the proposed legislation and its ramifications for our university and will provide input for the consultation.

*Why an online consultation?

An online consultation enables people, companies, and institutions to obtain information on legislation that is being prepared and allows them to make suggestions to improve the quality and feasibility of these proposals. An online consultation increases the transparency of the process and possibilities for public participation, and contributes to the quality of legislation.

Share your questions and concerns

As the Executive Board, Deans, and Managing Directors, we again emphasize that our international community is a valued and integral part of our community and that we foster it. We call on everyone who is concerned to share these concerns with their supervisors. We feel it is very important that you know you can come to us with questions and concerns. We may not be able to answer all questions, but we can listen and report back to you with the answers. Also, the signals you give us can help us continue to monitor developments, advocate our interests, and try to exercise influence on the further development of the Education Minister’s plans. After the summer, more will become clear about the proposed legislation on Internationalization and its ramifications for Tilburg University.

Questions can also be submitted via Specific input for Tilburg University’s response to the online consultation can also be sent to this e-mail address. More information will follow as soon as more becomes clear about any consequences for Tilburg University.

Proposed legislation

The Bill covers measures relating to language and more centralized control of student admissions, with a view to effectively managing the number of international students coming to the Netherlands and to increase students’ Dutch language skills. The proposed legislation encroaches on the autonomy of universities, that is essential for the academic quality of education and research. The universities themselves are competent to make sector-level agreements on this. We have demonstrated this before with the sector plans made. We are critical of the ministerial order regulating exceptions for foreign language education. This proposed legislation includes much-anticipated steering instruments. They will help programs that need to control the influx, monitor the quality of education, and safeguard access for Dutch students.

Online consultation

The phase of online consultation is one of the mandatory steps in the legislative process. In September, Parliament will decide whether the subject of Internationalization is considered controversial until there is a new Cabinet. This means that much is still unclear. A summary and brief analysis of the proposed legislation [link toevoegen] is available on the intranet. Until September 15, everyone who feels the need to do so can express their views on this proposed legislation via the online consultation (in Dutch). The Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) and Tilburg University will submit a formal response to the online consultation at the end of August.


The international character of higher education is of crucial importance to society at large. It is essential for a stimulating study environment, and for keeping up to date with international scientific developments and sustaining the leading international position enjoyed by Dutch universities. Furthermore, it is particularly important, now and certainly in the future, to train sufficient talent for the labor market. The universities themselves have observed for years that the increased influx of international students at some programs, universities, and university cities has led to problems. We want to take responsibility ourselves to address these problems by:

  • managing student admissions and the language of programs.
  • stimulating the Dutch language skills of both international and Dutch students.
  • further increasing the stay rate of international students.