Considering moving abroad: Education in the Netherlands


So the first official post of my “considering moving abroad” series is on education in the Netherlands. I found a general overview over at Expatica, but it doesn’t go into as much detail as I would like regarding the university system. The pre-university education, at first glance, sounds pretty good.  This describes the first eight grades of Dutch schooling:

Obligatory subjects are: sensory co-ordination, Dutch, arithmetic, English, art and music, geography, history, science and nature, social structures, and religious and ideological movements.

Schools are required to not only teach but also impart social skills and insights. Attention is also given to the fact the Netherlands is comprised of different ethnic groups.

I am particularly glad to see that religious and ideological movements are an obligatory subject.  In America, those are often just covered peripherally through history lessons.  While I am a huge proponent of separation of church and state and that there is no place for the church in state-provided education, I enthusiastically think that it is important for children to learn about all of the major world religions and movements.  I wish I had learned more about Christianity as a subject matter when I was younger; my lack of knowledge regarding it left me missing many allusions and themes in literature and the arts.  Also, understanding the other religions and movements is a crucial step in understanding the people that are different from oneself.

Through Expatica‘s article I found this website: Study in Holland.  It has lots of information for international students, which may help me, as a foreigner, to understand their system.  From it I learned that there are two main types of universities in Holland: universities, and universities of professional education.  The universities are more like American universities, while the universities of professional education are more focused on providing specific training for a career than on a broader knowledge base.  About the regular universities:

There are 14 government-approved universities in Holland, three of which specialize in engineering. These institutions essentially train students in academic study and the application of knowledge, although many study programmes do also have a professional component and most graduates actually find work outside the research community.

The universities vary in size, with enrolments ranging from 6,000 to 30,000. Altogether they enrol some 205,000 students.

Among those, three of the universities I have already looked into are the University of Groningen, the University of Amsterdam, and Leiden University.  They all seem to be strong universities with rich history and robust research programs.

Most importantly regarding what we are looking into for our future kids and cost of living is the information regarding what university costs in the Netherlands.  This is what I’ve found so far regarding the cost of tuition:

Education in Holland is not free, but tuition fees are reasonable compared to other countries. In Holland, higher education is subsidized, which means that tuition fees can be kept relatively low, especially compared with the United Kingdom and the United States.

The annual tuition fees for enrollment on a degree programme or course at a Dutch higher education institution start at approximately €1,500 for EU students. The costs of programmes or courses for non-EU students are generally higher.

I would like to find out more about this.  By the time our own kids are ready for college, I imagine they will be citizens if we have chosen to stay in the country.  So I want to find out what it costs for Dutch citizens.

Of course, I am also interested in learning about the country’s educational system for my own research and career.  I have found a great site I will check out further and report back on: The Researcher’s Mobility Portal for The Netherlands.

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