According to the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the growth is due mainly to the number of international students. This year around 29 percent of the new students in Bachelor’s programmes come from abroad, whereas the figure had remained at 24 percent for the past two years. The majority of international students in Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes come from Europe: 60 thousand out of almost 80 thousand.



In the opinion of the VSNU the internationalisation has a downside. “There’s a limit to the ability of our universities to absorb the ever increasing intake of international students and to offer high-quality education”, says VSNU chair Pieter Duisenberg. He is once again asking the government to provide “control instruments” for study programmes so as to make the intake manageable.

Fewer students from pre-university education

At the same time, the number of first-year students coming from Dutch pre-university education has fallen by 14 percent. That number is again at the level of two years ago. During the coronavirus crisis the intake was at an all-time high because the central written final exam was cancelled and many more pupils obtained their diploma. Additionally, because of the travel restrictions fewer successful candidates opted for a gap year.

Financial consequences

The VSNU is calling on the parties involved in the coalition negotiations to make a larger budget available for universities. The money they get per student from the State is, in the view of the umbrella organisation, outweighed by the growth of the student population. 

The final enrolment figures will be announced at the beginning of 2022. Last year’s provisional counts were fairly accurate: it turned out that one thousand more students than predicted were enrolled.