In 2013, Statistics Netherlands counted 321,000 people aged between 25 and 35 with a Master’s degree or a PhD. There are currently more than 500,000. In addition, there are also almost 200,000 more people with a Bachelor’s degree from research-oriented higher education and higher professional education.

The number of holders of a Master’s degree or a PhD has risen from 16 to 23 percent – an increase of nearly half. Bachelor’s degrees have also become more commonplace. One in three have now received that degree from a higher education institution.

Statistics Netherlands gets these figures from a Dutch survey, which international graduates complete less frequently because of the language barrier. So the actual number of holders of a Master’s degree is probably even higher.

Highly educated workforce

More and more foreign students are coming to the Netherlands and some of them continue living here. Additionally, somewhat older figures show that an increasing number of international graduates are entering the labour market. In 2006/2007, that group represented 12 percent of all Master’s graduates from a full-time research-oriented university study programme, and in the academic year 2018/2019 the figure was 29 percent, says Statistics Netherlands.

The level of education in the Netherlands has risen sharply over the years. Only 18 percent of people over 75 received higher education.