“It seems that stopping recruiting abroad and warnings about limited student accommodation are paying off”, says Jouke de Vries, president of universities association UNL.

On undergraduate courses, 220 fewer international students started last year. There are 18,594, according to these new counts. That is 31 per cent of the total intake. In Rotterdam, 1803 international students started their bachelor’s this year, which is 45 fewer than last year. They make up just under a quarter of the total student population.

For years, there has been unrest in the parliament about the anglicisation of higher education and the influx of foreign students. The minister is working on a bill in this area and agreed with universities that they would stop recruiting.


There was also a decline seen in master’s programmes, but only among internationals who came to the Netherlands specifically for a master’s. Nationally, there were 1,700 less this time than last year. At Erasmus University, however, the number of new internationals remained almost the same.

In addition, there is a considerable group of international students who completed their bachelor’s here and continue with a master’s. In-sum there are a total of 550 new international master’s students nationwide. 136 of them started a master’s at Erasmus University this year.

Per university

Nationwide, undergraduate programmes attracted eight hundred first-year students less than last year. But there are big differences between universities. In Maastricht, for example, the amount of first-year undergrads grew by ten per cent, while Tilburg had to endure an eight per cent. Erasmus University sees a 5.5 per cent drop in first-year bachelor’s students.

In contrast, the number of master’s students at Erasmus University increased by six per cent. Nationwide, the increase is two per cent: 52.5 thousand new students. Of them, a third come from abroad. At 12 per cent, the biggest percentage growth is at Tilburg. By contrast, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen saw the number of first-years in its master’s programmes fall by seven per cent.