A third of the foreign PhD students still live in the Netherlands after ten years, according to an estimate by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB). Those with a technical degree stay around more often than other graduates.

CPB warns that while this figure should strictly be taken as an estimate, it believes that 32 percent of the foreign PhD students still live in the Netherlands after a decade. Some groups are less inclined to travel than others: women, but also technical graduates and graduates from poorer countries take root easier than other categories.

Eastern Europeans and Asians in particular often choose to stay in the Netherlands. Virtually everyone from North America leaves after obtaining their degree.

Back home

About half the foreign PhD students who leave the Netherlands after graduation go back home. Popular destinations for the other group include Germany, the US and the UK. Dutch PhD students who leave after graduation have similar preferences – albeit in a slightly different order.

The number of foreign PhD students enrolled at Dutch universities has increased considerably in recent years. This is good news according to the Dutch government, since internationalisation can play an important role in raising the quality of higher education. However, ultimately, all these expensive degree programmes are intended to boost the Dutch economy – through increased tax revenue, if nothing else.

CPB only had access to data concerning PhD students employed by a Dutch university. This figure involves approximately half the total number. Figures relating to doctoral candidates working at academic medical centres and candidates employed elsewhere were not used in the present survey.