The basics
THE Netherlands: Subject Guides - Must read

3 Fields to study in the Netherlands

Learn all about three key fields of study in the Netherlands

Windmills Netherlands

For a country of its size, the Netherlands sure packs a punch. As well as being the fifth largest economy in Europe, the nation boasts steady high scores in global measures of happiness and well-being, and is often toted for the tolerant, liberal attitude of its populace. Whilst Dutch universities shine in many disciplines, there are some strong study areas that can’t help but stand out. Let our overview of three key fields to study in the Netherlands help get your study abroad planning process underway.



With technical institutions amongst the world’s best, study programmes in Engineering fields are keenly popular choices in the Netherlands. After all, someone needs to build bridges over all those canals!


Ranking 19th globally in Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering, and 14th in Civil and Structural Engineering, Delft University of Technology (TU) is the nation’s strongest in the field. Students are offered a range of Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate programmes across a wide spectrum of engineering disciplines, as well as the chance to complete a number of short courses designed to keep qualified engineers abreast of developments within the field.


Pushing a strong ‘learn-by-doing’ approach, students will develop a broad range of problem-solving, technological and creative skills that are widely sought-out by employers in many industries. As well as directly finding employment as engineers, graduates have gone on to careers in banking, consultancy, management and business strategy.

Browse Engineering courses in the Netherlands

Browse all Engineering courses abroad


Social Sciences

Renowned for its socially liberal, progressive attitude, the Netherlands is a highly internationalised country with a unique social ethos. Ranking 4th in the 2014 Social Progress Index, the Dutch tied for second place as the world’s most tolerant of minority groups. Taking this against the nation’s consistent high scores in international quality of life and happiness surveys, there’s no discernible downside in learning the secrets to their success.


Dutch culture is direct, with a strong focus on egalitarianism and open-mindedness. Students are taught to approach problems from a broad perspective, addressing facts head-on and considering a berth of possibilities before arriving at an answer. With strong ties to other European countries and economic links to the US and Australia, students of Politics, International Relations and Sociology will enjoy key insight into world affairs and emerging modes of social thought.


Whilst plenty of Dutch universities offer Social Science programmes, Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) pull global rank, coming in at 34th and 44th respectively in Politics and International Studies. UvA also rates highly (18th) in Sociology, with a range of specialist, well-regarded Postgraduate programmes both by coursework and research.


Browse all Social Science courses in the Netherlands

Browse International Relations courses in the Netherlands

Browse Sociology courses in the Netherlands


Environmental Science and Agriculture

Where better to study sustainable energy than within the nation famed for its windmills? As well as a booming agricultural sector that comprises 2.8% of the nation’s GDP, the Netherlands ranks 11th globally for overall environmental performance,  second in water resources and first for both water and sanitation and health impacts.


Named the energy hub of Europe, Dutch industry is one of the world’s most energy efficient. By 2050, the Dutch government aims for 40% of electricity generated to come from environmentally sustainable sources, such as wind power, sea and biomass. In this same time frame, CO2 emissions are intended to be cut by half. One of the continent’s major oil-refining centres, the Netherlands is rapidly establishing itself as a global heavyweight in ‘green gas’ technology.


Two Dutch universities rank within the world’s top 20 for Environmental Science: Wageningen University (8th) and Delft University of Technology (19th). A further two are within the top 100, and another follows within the top 200. Wageningen University also ranks second globally for Agriculture and Forestry


Students will gain key, first-hand experience within one of the world’s strongest agricultural sectors: the Dutch trail only the USA as the world’s largest exporter of agri-food products, whilst the sector contributes a whopping 10% to the Dutch economy.


Browse Environmental Science courses in the Netherlands

Browse Agriculture courses in the Netherlands


Inspired to sharpen your technical skills, or become an environmental crusader? Browse courses in the Netherlands now and start planning your study abroad adventure!


Useful Links

Applying to study in the Netherlands

Study Engineering in the Netherlands

Search for a course

Study level*
About Author

Windmills Netherlands

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.