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Higher education in the Netherlands

Here you'll find more information about higher education in the Netherlands and the differences between the two types of institutions: Research Universities (like Tilburg University) and Universities of Applied Sciences.

Two types of institutions

Higher education in the Netherlands is known for its high quality and its international study environment. With more than 2,100 international study programs and courses, it has the largest offer of English-taught programs in continental Europe. Dutch higher education also offers great value for money: high quality and reasonable tuition fees.

Higher education in the Netherlands is offered at two types of institutions: 

  • Research Universities (WO)
  • Universities of Applied Sciences (HBO)

Research Universities offer the highest level of education available

Research by Statistics Netherlands has shown that education at a research university is a good investment in your career: the total long-term annual income of research university graduates in the Netherlands is nearly 50% higher than that of graduates of a university of applied sciences.

Every student, however, should decide which type of education fits him or her best. The main differences are set out below.

Differences in type of education and teaching methods

Research Universities
Universities of Applied Sciences

Differences in requirements and degree awarded

Research Universities
Universities of Applied Sciences

More information about the Dutch higher education system

More information on the Dutch higher education system and studying in the Netherlands can be found on the Study in Holland website.

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