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The basics
THE Netherlands: Student Finances - Must read

3 Scholarships in the Netherlands to start you off...

Learn all about three key scholarships for international students in the Netherlands

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The quaint, one-foot-in-the-past yet modern cities in the Netherlands might be a key drawcard for international students, but it’s the relatively low cost of tuition that helps seal the deal. Whilst you might pay less for education at a Dutch university, when coupled with living and inescapable start-up costs the idea of financing your studies can be stressful. EU students are entitled to the same student funding options as local students, but there are plenty of scholarship and grant options available to those not from an EU country. Let our list of three key scholarships in the Netherlands help point you in the right direction.


If you aren’t applicable for any of the scholarships listed, don’t worry: we’ve included plenty of links and tips to steer you in the right direction to find the funding option for you.


I am an EU Student...


Dutch Government Student Grants

As an EU student you will have the same rights to student funding as local Dutch students. This funding is available in four parts: a basic grant, a supplementary grant (depending on your parent’s income), a student travel grant and a loan. All students entitled to funding will automatically receive a basic and travel grant. You will then have the option to apply for a loan or supplementary grant.


If you graduate within ten years of starting your programme then you will NOT have to pay back the grant. You will, however, always need to pay back a supplementary grant or loan.


In most cases, you will receive funding for the duration of your degree programme. Most programmes are four years long, and after you’ve graduated you’ll be able to receive funding for an additional three years. Amounts awarded vary, and can be calculated using the student grant calculator (only available in Dutch), on the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science website


Some of the scholarship options mentioned below are also available to EU students.

Check if you are an EU student


I am NOT an EU Student...


Funding Bodies


Whilst there are limited scholarship options available from the Dutch government, international students may look to Nuffic, a non-profit organisation that deals with international cooperation in higher education, to point them in the right direction. Nuffic manages a number of scholarships on behalf of other bodies such as the Dutch government, the EU and a range of individual organisations, initiatives and companies. You can find a comprehensive list of all programmes on offer on the Nuffic scholarship page.


You can also search for a grant using Nuffic’s Grantfinder tool.


Host University

Most scholarships will be directly administered through your host university. You should always look to your host first in looking for funding, as their scholarship programmes have been made with their own study programmes in mind and so will be more likely to cater to your needs. Dutch universities are also used to hosting international students and so will be well-versed in helping you look for and secure funding. Awards are typically granted based on academic merit, and often require students to be studying within a particular area.


External Funding

You can also search for external funding from companies and organisations. Typically these programmes require students to be studying within a specific area that relates directly to the work a company does, or may have a requirement that you work for them for a set period of time after finishing your studies.


You can find these awards using scholarship search engines such as StudyPortals or International Scholarships, or simply search for the name of an individual company, organisation or study area and follow along from there.



Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP)

Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this programme seeks to reduce shortages of skilled workers. The programme allows professionals with at least three years experience in their field to foster specific skills and knowledge they may then take away to develop and strengthen the organisations in which they work.


You will need to be nominated by your employer to qualify for funding, and will need to be accepted into either an English-language Masters programme from 9-24 months in duration, a short-term English Language programme (and, in some cases, French programmes) 2-52 weeks long or a PhD programme that is to be completed partly in the Netherlands and partly in your home country.


Applicants will need to prove there is a clear need for the skills they hope to glean through study in the Netherlands within their home organisation. After you’ve completed your study programme, you will need to resume employment with your employer and put these skills into practice.  


Amounts are awarded for the full duration of your studies, and will cover the bulk of your tuition fees, visa and travel costs, medical insurance costs and any costs relating to PhD research.


To apply, you’ll need to have been accepted into your course of study in the Netherlands, and then collect all supporting documents as outlined on the Study in Holland website. This includes a statement of motivation that explains why you want to complete your study programme, and how the skills you’ll gain will directly benefit your employer and meet specific skill shortages in your country. You will need to upload all of these documents and submit your application online using the Scholarships Online (SOL) system. Selection is very competitive and students are advised to begin their application as early as possible. For a start in semester one of the 2014 academic year, applications were accepted from December 1, 2013- February 4, 2014.

Check if your home country is eligible


Amsterdam Excellence Scholarships (AES)

Non-EU Students admitted to Masters programmes at the University of Amsterdam in fields of Law, Economics and Business, Science, Communication, Humanities or Social Sciences  may apply for this award.


Students must be within the top 10% of their Undergraduate class to apply, and provide two letters of reference, a personal statement that outlines why you’ve selected your study programme and details of any volunteer, industry or community work you’ve completed. You’ll also need to have scored either 7.0 in the IELTS test (with no band score lower than 7), or at least 100 overall in the TOEFL test (with a minimum of 22 in each component).


Deadlines vary between faculties and may change year-to-year, but in 2014 will be between January 15 and February 1. Valued at €25,000 (US$34,713), this award completely covers tuition fees and living expenses for one academic year. At the end of the year, students will have the opportunity to renew the scholarship.


Application requirements and selection criteria may also vary depending on the faculty of your study programme. For example, students completing programmes at UvA’s Amsterdam Law School will need to collect all supporting documents, including a personal statement and post them directly to the university, whilst students at the Graduate School of Psychology will additionally need to complete an online application.


Check if my study programme is eligible for this award

UNESCO-L’OREAL International Fellowships Programme for Young Women in Life Sciences

This joint award seeks to support research and development of young women studying at PhD or Postdoctoral levels in fields of Life Science, including Biology, Biochemistry, Agriculture, Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiology.


Students must demonstrate that they are able to approach problems using scientific strategy and solutions, and submit a research proposal that outlines how their project will contribute to the field of life science. Any project involving use of animals in the laboratory will be rejected, and preference will be given to proposals in areas of non-cosmetic research.


The application process for this award is multi-tiered, and first requires you to apply to the National Commission of your home country. You can do so by colleting all supporting documents and submitting them via this online portal. You can find a full, detailed list of all required supporting documents, including a research proposal and theoretical budget outline that SHOULD NOT exceed US$20,000, on the UNESCO scholarship page.  Eligible students will need to be either hold a PhD or be in the process of completing one.


Once you have lodged your first application, your home country’s National Commission will then decide whether they want to endorse you and forward on your application to the next round. If you are successful, you will be contacted directly by UNESCO.


Amounts are awarded for one year, and will be awarded in line with the budget you’ve outlined in your research proposal. You will also receive round-trip travel costs to attend the fellowship awards ceremony and For Women in Science week in Paris, as well an allowance and accommodation costs when attending these events. Students will need to be either hold a PhD or be in the process of completing one, and will need to include their host’s letter of acceptance. At least half of the fellowship must be undertaken in a country that is not your home country, and you will be required to complete the project in your own country for a minimum of two months.


Now that you’ve got a firmer idea of how to fund your studies, start browsing courses in the Netherlands now and kick-start your plans to study abroad!


Useful Links

3 Fields to study in the Netherlands

Tuition fees in the Netherlands