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Netherlands Sees Surge in Interest Among International Students for Law and Human Sciences Programs


Almost 123,000 international students were enrolled in Dutch universities and vocational training in the 2022/2023 academic year, representing 15 per cent of the total student population.

According to Statistics Netherlands, over three-quarters of total international students, representing 93,410 scholars, were from Europe, especially Germany, while Asia was the second largest source of students with 21,130 for the academic year.

South and North America follow as regions of origin for 5,260 students, while 2,230 students were from Africa. Oceania was a source market for 160 students, while 110 scholars were stateless.

As per the degree, the majority of international students in this academic year were attending a university bachelor’s degree programme – some 52,370 compared to 167,140 were Dutch students. Around 33,480 international students were attaining a university master’s degree, while vocational education had an enrolment of 33,040 international students for the year.

The lowest number of international students was recorded in the vocational education for master’s degree programme – 3,520 compared to 11,230 Dutch peers.

Data further show that international and domestic university students most often choose studies in two main fields—journalism, social sciences and behavioural sciences or law, administration, trade and business services—this tendency is noticed along all types of degrees.

Compared to their Dutch peers, international students were more likely to choose these programmes and less likely to opt for healthcare, welfare, or education.

More specifically, 22,350 international students are enrolled in human societies bachelor programmes compared to 34,230 Dutch students, while 49,160 of the latter are in law studies compared to 14,680 students from the Netherlands.

Regarding master studies, around 23,390 Dutch students are enrolled in law master’s degree studies, compared to 13,030 international students. On the other hand, for the master’s programme of humanities and social sciences, 7,190 international students are enrolled in the journalism, behavioural and social sciences, while 8,020 were enrolled in the law, administration and business services.

Furthermore, compared to Dutch students, relatively many international HBO students (both Bachelor and Master) attended programmes in the fields of design, arts, language and history. They were less likely to study education or healthcare and welfare. A popular field among both international and Dutch students is law, administration, trade and business services.

In general, 111,540 Dutch students in vocational bachelor programmes in law studies were enrolled last academic year, compared to 10,200 international students in the same programme.

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