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The basics
THE Netherlands: Destination Guides

Dutch culture

An overview of Dutch culture for international students heading to the country.

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Although relatively small in size, Holland has a rich cultural tradition and is tolerant of multiple cultures and religions. Holland has welcomed people of non-Dutch origin for many years and you’ll find its population open to foreign visitors.


With a wealth of natural beauty and lively, cosmopolitan cities, Holland has much to offer the international student. It’s also a fairly safe country, with reassuringly low levels of crime. You’ll find that many Dutch people speak English. It will be useful for you to learn some Dutch before you arrive, as it will ease your integration into Dutch society. Dutch language courses for foreign students can be found here:


Dutch cities

If you choose Holland as a study destination, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself living in one of Holland’s cosmopolitan cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Maastricht, Rotterdam or Utrecht.


They each have unique appeal. Historic Amsterdam offers art and cultural events in abundance, and its pretty streets and canal system make it a great place to explore by bike or on foot. Utrecht is steeped in history and dotted with medieval architecture.


Rotterdam straddles the Maas river and has a thoroughly modern feel, reflected in its innovative buildings, metropolitan nightlife and year-round cultural calendar. It doesn’t matter where you choose to soak up Holland’s laid-back culture and culinary delights, as Holland’s cities have plenty to offer international students.



The Dutch economy is moving from a production-based one to a service-industry-led economy. The country is one of the biggest worldwide exporters of agricultural produce, but also has a strong creative industry.


Dutch cuisine

Equally famous for its hard cheese and its café culture, Holland offers an array of bars, restaurants and markets to delight your tastebuds. Holland’s diverse community means that the country has an abundance of eateries. So if Dutch food isn’t your thing, you’ll find a multitude of other foods from around the world on offer.

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Common cultural misconceptions about the Netherlands

Known for its sunny sidewalks, bicycle-toting populace and maze of canals, the unique culture and way of life in the Netherlands can be difficult for foreigners to discern. Whilst the nation consistently boasts excellent grades in international happiness and quality of life surveys, the Netherlands are unfortunately subject to a number of cultural stereotypes. Whether you’re planning on studying abroad in the Netherlands or are simply misinformed, let our