The House is keen to hasten the reduction of international student admissions in higher education, and yesterday passed a majority vote in favour of allowing a student quota to be set for English-taught programmes.

An identical capacity limit on student numbers for specific courses (capaciteitsfixus) is also included in a Bill that outgoing Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf had planned to introduce into the House of Representatives in a few months. The House is not prepared to wait that long, however. It was hoped that the VVD amendment would allow universities to set a limit on international admissions as early as the 2025-2026 academic year.


Dijkgraaf doubts the possibility of that happening. First, because of Studielink, the organisation that handles student enrolments for all educational institutions in the Netherlands. They would need to adjust their systems by 1 October this year, Dijkgraaf said through his spokesperson. “Studielink has indicated that this is not feasible for them.”

And even if Studielink were to succeed, there would be another problem: higher education institutions would also have to modify their systems to align with the VVD plan. That too takes longer than the House wants, Dijkgraaf predicts.

“It is highly uncertain whether passing this amendment would save any time”, he said in a written response. In practice, the Bill may be in force just as soon as the amendment.


The House of Representatives has been grumbling for some time about the slow passage of Dijkgraaf’s Bill. NSC, which was initially willing to bide its time for Dijkgraaf, agreed to the VVD’s legislative amendment due to the sense of urgency.

A month ago, Dijkgraaf voiced constitutional objections against the amendment submitted. According to the House’s own rules, it should not have been submitted during the budget debate. D66 MP Jan Paternotte even spoke of a ‘constitutional mess’ and suggested the amendment should be declared ‘inadmissible’.

NSC acknowledges that such an amendment is not ‘in accordance with constitutional procedures’, but also feels that ‘this emergency measure was necessary to do something to ensure the accessibility of higher education in the short term’.

The SP also has similar thoughts. Like D66, the SP voted to declare the amendment inadmissible. However, when it became clear there was no majority for this position, it decided to vote in favour of the amendment. “At the end of the day, we judge an amendment on its substance”, the party announced.

MP Martens-America (VVD) could not be reached for comment today.

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