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Royal Academy of Art, The Hague

Netherlands Netherlands




The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (often shortened to KABK) is the oldest academy in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in the world. It’s an amazing art and design university recognised internationally for its programmes and lecturers. Since it was founded in 1682, KABK has been chasing its vision, teaching students creativity and commitment.


KABK’s goal is to turn enrolled students into independent, fully developed artists with unique talents and thoughtful minds by the time they reach graduation. Any student lucky enough to attend the Royal Academy will leave as a valued member of an artistic community filled with creators and designers who encourage and respect each other. They also push each other to do better and achieve exciting new things.


The total number of students currently at KABK is around 1,000, and most of these are international students. Approximately 60 per cent of undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Royal Academy of Art come from overseas, representing around 60 nationalities in total. Wherever a student comes from, they can feel at home, and they can enjoy a great education across a range of art and design courses from a group of highly talented tutors.


As the name suggests, this university is located in The Hague, a coastal city in the Netherlands and the country’s royal capital. The Hague has a lot of history and culture, so when students aren’t busy improving their skills, they can check out art museums, monuments, shops and restaurants. It’s impossible to be bored in The Hague, and even less possible for a student enrolled at KABK.


The Royal Academy of Art isn’t a classic large campus university. Instead, it’s a beautiful modern building with classrooms, workshop rooms and studios — spaces for subjects from photography to interior architecture. KABK works to give students the best quality of education and a lot of encouragement every day. The subjects of art and design are all about expression and creativity, and these are core values at the university.


Supported by mentors, counselling services and financial aid routes, Royal Academy of Art students are given lots of guidance and encouragement during their artistic journey at the institution. Any person enrolling at KABK would find it was the perfect place to embrace their creative side and take steps toward their dreams.


Teaching Quality


KABK knows that its students only deserve the best. That’s why high-quality teaching from staff who know and understand the field is the standard. Students at KABK are taught by professionals who have enjoyed successful careers as artists and designers and can now share their guidance, knowledge and advice. Professionals who are fully prepared to educate a new generation of artists.


Communication, criticism and creativity. These abilities add up to the excellent teaching quality offered at KABK, along with an amazing faculty-to-student ratio. There are approximately three students to each member of staff, which means that every single student enrolled at the Royal Academy gets attention, focus and plenty of chances to be heard.


There’s also a lot of exciting research happening at KABK. Multiple lecturers and professors complete and contribute to research projects. Research subjects at KABK include art and design history, themes of public relevance and art and design as an angle through which to explore a wider range of topics. Sometimes, the quality teaching at KABK is classroom-based or studio-based. Other times, it’s research-based, active and practical.


Entry Requirements


KABK has an acceptance rate of around 60 per cent, and admission success depends a lot more on a student’s artistic abilities and determination to succeed than specific entry requirements. Still, there are some university entry requirements that every student must meet to be eligible for admission to their chosen programme.


An undergraduate applicant will need a high school diploma equivalent to a Dutch VWO, HAVO or MBO Four diploma to enrol. If the applicant doesn’t have the required diploma but can prove that they’re educated to the correct level, they can still apply.


Postgraduate applicants will need certain relevant university qualifications, usually a BA degree or equivalent in a field connected to the programme they’re applying to study at KABK. At both levels of study, students will also have to prove they have a good enough understanding of the English language.


A student’s artistic abilities/determination, as mentioned above, will be judged through their interview with KABK and their portfolio. Each programme at the Royal Academy will also have its own entry requirements. To find out the university requirements for a certain programme of study, applicants should look to the programmes section on the KABK website.


English Score Required


To study at the KABK, students must demonstrate a certain level of English proficiency. EU (European Union)/EEA (European Economic Area) applicants do not need to provide proof of English understanding through a test during the application process, but their ability to communicate in English will be assessed during their interview.


For non-EU/EEA candidates, it will be necessary to demonstrate English understanding up to a certain minimum English score. This can be done through any one of the following accepted test methods:


  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • The Cambridge English Test (FCE/CAE/CPE)


The most common test is probably the IELTS. For admission to KABK, applicants will need a minimum overall IELTS band score of 6. The TOEFL is another common option, and applicants will need a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based version/80 on the online version. A table of score minimums can be found in the English language requirements section on the KABK website.




The university admission process for KABK is very easy and simple for international students. First, they’ll need to create a Studielink account and provide some personal details, including information about previous education. Then, once the account has been created, they should click ‘add new enrolment’, choose a programme and confirm their application, completing this phase of admission.


Once this is done, it will be time to submit a portfolio that shows an applicant’s artistic ability and passion for their subject. Also, a motivation letter and possible additional documents depending on the course being applied for.


A number of applicants will then be chosen by the Royal Academy of Art to come to the university for an examination day and interview. Usually, they will present their portfolio, complete an assignment and end the day with their interview.


After this phase, KABK will make admission offers to successful students. This is also the point when students will need to provide important supporting documents, like a copy of their passport, a copy of their high school diploma/previous degree and proof of their English understanding (for non-EU/EEA students).


KABK applicants should note that the 2022–2023 statutory tuition fee for a year of full-time study is EUR 2,209 for EEA students, while the institutional tuition fee (which applies to non-EEA students) is EUR 8,000.


Scholarships & Funding


KABK understands that sometimes, funding can be a struggle. For many students these days, especially international students who are moving to a brand-new country, tuition fees can be a lot to handle and a lot to juggle with other living costs.


KABK wants to help wherever possible, and it offers several grants, university scholarships and other forms of financial aid to students who might be finding it hard to pay and/or students who deserve to be recognised for their academic achievement.


Students who experience a study delay as a result of exceptional circumstances may be eligible for a one-time payment of no more than EUR 2,500 from the Student Financial Support Fund. The Interfaculty School for Young Talent supports talented students from underprivileged backgrounds.


In terms of scholarships, KABK has a healthy range of options. The main scholarship for international students to be aware of is the Holland Scholarship, which is only for non-EU/EEA students. The Holland Scholarship is given once during year one of study, and it’s EUR 5,000. Students can view all offered scholarships, loan options and financial aid services on KABK’s website, as well as their eligibility, availability and values.


University Structure


KABK is a large neoclassical building covering 18,000 square metres of the city centre. Actions are currently being taken to make the space more accessible. In this building, most recently renovated in 2020, there are lots of creative programmes being taught. To be specific, there are three international exchange options, six preparatory options, seven undergraduate course options, seven postgraduate MA options and one PhD option.


Every programme encourages imagination, creativity and personal expression. While KABK’s structure is simple, students are still given a lot of choices about the direction of their studies. The BA and MA degree programme options are:


  • BA ArtScience
  • BA Fine Arts
  • BA Graphic Design
  • BA Interactive/Media/Design
  • BA Interior Architecture and Furniture Design
  • BA Photography
  • BA Textile and Fashion
  • MA Artistic Research
  • MA ArtScience
  • MA Industrial Design
  • MA Interior Architecture
  • MA Non-Linear Narrative
  • MA Photography and Society
  • MA Type and Media


The PhD is a PhDArts. The PhDArts programme is unique to the Netherlands, focused on deep artistic research. All courses at KABK are designed to let students challenge themselves and find their true passions. There’s something for everyone, and the full range of available programmes is on the KABK website (along with details about what each programme would involve).




KABK is a conservatoire, a large and beautiful student life centre with lots of workshops, classrooms, studios and labs. The building has been designed to promote student learning, research and creativity wherever possible.


Another academic gift to students at KABK is the library, a student activity centre filled with a wide range of books, materials and resources relevant to art and design, totalling over 13,000 items. This space is perfect for studying alone or in groups, but there are also plenty of student recreation centres and spaces for socialising and relaxing in the building.


Other useful facilities on campus include the library’s multimedia centre (around 500 DVDs which can be watched at the library and taken out). Also, the rental workshop (a place where students can borrow useful equipment like laptops, cameras, and film rolls) and the art supply store (where students can access all the supplies they could need during their artistic journey). There are then 15 modern, specialist workshops in the building:


  • The Alternative Photography Workshop
  • The Printmaking Techniques Workshop
  • The Textile Workshop
  • The Metal Workshop
  • The Typesetting Workshop
  • The Bookbinding Workshop
  • The Computer Workshop
  • The Digital Media Workshop
  • The 3D Lab
  • The Ceramics Workshop
  • The Sculpture/Plaster Workshop
  • The Wood Workshop
  • The Photography Workshop
  • The Hacklab
  • The Spray Booth


At KABK, every student is provided with the resources they need to pursue their creative ambitions. The beautiful and historic building is the perfect hub for any growing artist or designer, with everything in place to support their learning. As the institution is just one large building and not a full campus, there are no on-campus accommodation options to add to the list of useful facilities. The university does have lots of support services in place to help students find a place in The Hague though.




KABK is not a campus university. There is no official on-campus university accommodation for students. Instead, any student who enrols, whether they’re international or domestic, will need to look for their own student accommodation. KABK recommends starting the search as soon as possible, as accommodation options can be limited in The Hague and getting the best student house can be competitive.


The Hague has a population of 550,000. 30,000 of these people are students, all searching for a house or a room that will suit their budget and needs. There are over 40 neighbourhoods in the city and lots of different areas to choose from. Some popular student neighbourhoods include Bezuidenhout, Laakkwartier and Zeeheldenkwartier, all within short distances of The Hague’s city centre and the KABK building.


Though searching for a home can take time and effort, living in The Hague is worth it. It’s a chance for every KABK student to really experience life in the Netherlands and all of this historic city’s amazing culture.


Room prices in The Hague can vary, but students can normally expect the monthly rent price to be between EUR 300 and 1,500. Gas and electricity costs are not always included in this price, and landlords usually require a deposit, so these additional expenses should be something that students factor in as they search for the right place.


Student Support


Students are never left to fend for themselves at the Royal Academy of Art. Yes, teaching standards are high, and students are expected to meet them, but student support services are also readily available, and teamwork and collaboration are core KABK values.


All student support needs can be met at KABK. That could be a student counsellor to talk through problems causing emotional distress (like personal situations, academic worries, motivation struggles, study issues or communication challenges). Alternatively, it could be a student guide to point learners in the right direction or an academic mentor to put them back on the right track.


The student counsellor is bound by confidentiality and cares deeply about each student’s best interests. Speaking to the counsellor comes without fear of judgement or unwanted information sharing, it’s a safe space.


Other student services like mentoring and coaching can really help when a person is struggling with their academics or starting to plan out their career post-graduation. Mentors meet with students at least twice a year. They are teachers in the relevant subject area who offer a student support and advice about their studies, their progress and their assessments. Coaches have a similar student support programme focused on academic progress and making study plans for each semester.


Graduate Outcomes


After graduating from KABK, students are always on track to reach their potential and become successful art and design professionals. There are 14,000 artists and designers in the KABK alumni network, and many have gone on to have very successful careers.


Graduate job prospects and career options are strong, thanks to the skills and talents perfected during a student’s time at KABK and the amazing career services a student has access to from day one. For example, students can always speak with a career guide about their future path and their journey to employment.


Outside the Royal Academy’s large and well-equipped building, international students can always turn to The Hague International Centre and its range of employment services. Here, they’ll find help with everything from writing a CV to doing an effective job search.


Among the list of notable alumni from KABK are Barry Hay, George Henrik Breitner and Isaac Israëls. Barry Hay was the lead vocalist of the Dutch rock band Golden Earring for 54 years until they disbanded in 2021. Breitner and Israëls were both important, famous figures in the Amsterdam Impressionism movement, well-known for their incredible talent in the artistic field of painting.


These are just three examples, but each example shows that KABK is an institution that welcomes talented, driven people and turns them into future leaders in their fields. The Royal Academy strongly believes that every person has what it takes to achieve greatness if they’re willing to do the hard work and keep trying. For any student who is ready to do the hard work, focus on their creative practice and learn in this exciting Netherlands city, KABK is the perfect option.

Subjects you can study at Royal Academy of Art

  • Architecture and Construction Architecture and Construction
  • Creative Arts and Design Creative Arts and Design
  • Social Studies and Media Social Studies and Media

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