It is always a bit of comparing apples to oranges but Utrecht (with a score of 64.5) and Wageningen (70) have the best education according to the new Keuzegids Universiteiten, which is published today. Yet there are striking shifts in the rankings this year.

The creators of the ranking look at the student opinions on content, teachers, testing, atmosphere and preparation for the career. How many students reach the second year and how many graduate within five years is also taken into account.

This also results in an annual comparison of universities: who has the best education? To keep this already difficult comparison true, there are two rankings in the Keuzegids: of the ‘broad’ universities with many faculties and the ‘other’ universities with specialized faculties (such as Erasmus University, which emphasizes certain disciplines).


The current rankings are quite different, compared to last year. Among the broad universities, Utrecht (64.5) makes a jump from third to first place, while the VU Amsterdam (57.5) has suddenly been driven from second place to the lower regions.

Among the ‘other’ universities, Enschede (64.5) stands out. This technical university was still clearly number two last year and now drops to fourth position. But Wageningen (70) is still firmly at the top and Erasmus University Rotterdam (55.5) is again last.

The shifts can be explained. The student verdicts come from the National Student Survey, and after all sorts of wrangling the questionnaire was renewed. Therefore, the comparison with previous years cannot be made properly, according to the Keuzegids.


You could also say that it reveals the limitations of such lists. Apparently the extremes are reasonably visible (Wageningen and Rotterdam), but the differences between them are rather small, so a new questionnaire can cause major shifts.

But it could also be that the overall situation has simply changed in two years. The questionnaire was cancelled last year because the institutions were busy with the ensuing covid-crisis, and a bachelor’s program has the average duration of only three years. There are other students who found themselves in a very different situation after the first covid-lockdowns- especially in the spring, when the survey was conducted.


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