The government welcomes international exchange programs for students in higher education. By studying or doing internships abroad, students gain international competencies that prepare them for a (globalizing) labor market. Moreover, workers with international experience strengthen the Dutch role in the global economy. International mobility also contributes to qualitative impulses in education.
There are two types of mobility in higher education:
- Diploma mobility. In diploma mobility, students focus on completing studies abroad and obtaining a diploma or degree;
- Study Point Mobility/Progame Mobility. Credit mobility involves obtaining credits abroad as part of one's studies. This is usually done by attending a partial study or doing an internship. Additional "program" funds, such as the Erasmus program, are also available.
Many colleges and universities offer exchange programs with foreign educational institutions. Educational institutions are responsible for this themselves. A student can do part or all of the study abroad. International students in higher education who, for example, have questions about admission requirements, credit recognition, scholarships, visas and housing can contact Study in Holland. Study in Holland, coordinated by Nuffic, is the starting point for international students looking for reliable and up-to-date information about studying in Dutch higher education. WilWeg, coordinated by Nuffic, is the starting point for Dutch pupils and students looking for reliable and up-to-date information on study opportunities abroad.
Work experience placements
In addition to studying abroad, students at higher education institutions can also do internships abroad. In this way, students gain international work experience.
Teaching placement in developing countries
Furthermore, students can do educational internships in developing countries, for example, through the Edukans Foundation. This is a development organization that focuses on promoting primary and secondary education in developing countries. Edukans receives funding from the government for this purpose.
Students studying or doing an internship abroad can usually take their student loans with them. Often part of the costs of the study, internship or research can be financed with a scholarship. This can also be done with a contribution from a fund. All options for this can be found on the WilWeg website.
The European education program Erasmus+ offers opportunities to students in higher education for study and placement mobility. This concerns intra-European mobility but also mobility with other regions in the world.
Part of the Erasmus+ program is the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters. An Erasmus Mundus Joint Master is a prestigious transnational study program for all disciplines, offering scholarships for excellent students worldwide. It is a jointly developed master's program of outstanding quality, offered by a consortium of at least three higher education institutions.
In 2019, the number of Dutch nationals enrolled abroad continued to increase, reaching nearly 20,200 (+14.0% compared to 2018). In 2019, Dutch nationals were enrolled at educational institutions in more than 95 different countries. Although the number of countries in which Dutch nationals are enrolled has doubled since 2005, most Dutch students can still be found in Belgium, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Study point mobility
The figure below shows study point mobility among Dutch students. In 2011, the percentage of Dutch students with a study abroad experience increased. With 6% for higher vocational education and 2% for academic education. Overall, 20% of students reported having been abroad.
See "Internationalization in Focus" for various mobility statistics (latest available data is from 2019).
Evaluation of diplomas
A diploma valuation describes the overall value of a foreign diploma in the Netherlands, as well as the content and level of education measured against Dutch equivalents. The most up-to-date information on degree evaluations can be found on Nuffic.nl.
Incoming students: Coming to The Netherlands
You may use the academic title you obtained abroad in the Netherlands. However, to use a Dutch title (BA/Bsc, MA/Msc, Dr/PhD) you will need special permission. A recognized Dutch title must be applied for at DUO. If you want to work in the Netherlands after your studies with a foreign degree, you will have to deal with professional recognition. Look here for general information on academic and professional recognition procedures and information on country-specific procedures.
Outgoing students: Going abroad from the Netherlands
In order to be admitted to an educational institution abroad, it may be necessary to have the Dutch diploma valued. You can check with the foreign institution to see which documents are needed for this. Sometimes a diploma has to be legalized. This means that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) recognizes the Dutch diploma. Foreign authorities then know that the document is legally valid. Only diplomas from programs OCW recognizes are eligible for legalization.
Diploma description (higher education)
A diploma description explains the Dutch diploma, the Dutch education system and indicated what foreign diploma can be best compared to a Dutch diploma.
Students doing an internship in another European country can use the Europass. This is a set of documents that workers and students can use to record their work experience and training. The Europass is an initiative of the European Commission to facilitate working and learning within Europe. Europass is for both students and teachers, as well as recent graduates.
Europass can consist of the following documents:
- Europass CV;
- Europass language passport;
- Europass mobility;
- Europass certificate supplement;
- Europass Diploma Supplement.
The Europass CV is a standard curriculum vitae (CV). All EU countries recognize the Europass CV. This makes it suitable for job applications in all European Union countries. It consists of a standard form on which an individual can enter his/her qualifications and skills. An example can be downloaded from the Europass website and your own Europass CV can be created.
Europass language passport
The Europass language passport describes a person's practical knowledge of several European languages. This is important when a person applies for a job in which language skills are important. A European language passport can be created on the Europass website.
Europass mobility is a record of a person's stay and experience abroad. For example, an internship or an academic exchange program. A person does not create the mobility document himself. This is done by the institution where the person studied or the employer for whom the person worked.
Europass certificate supplement
The Europass Certificate Supplement is a general description in English or Dutch of the vocational MBO training that a person has followed. The certificate supplement adds information to the official certificate, but does not replace the diploma. Bodies that award the recognized vocational certificate issue Europass Certificate Supplements. Which bodies these are can be checked with the National Reference Point Netherlands.
Europass Diploma Supplement
The Europass Diploma Supplement describes the content, level and progress of a person's studies. These are studies at college or university level. This makes it easier for employers and educational institutions abroad to assess the value of someone's diploma. This is especially useful when looking for an internship or study place abroad or when applying for a job abroad. The institution where the diploma was obtained draws up the diploma supplement. In the Netherlands, all higher education institutions are required to provide this diploma supplement with the diploma at no cost to the graduate.
Inbound mobility of foreign students
In addition to outbound mobility of Dutch students, it is also interesting to look at the inbound mobility of diploma students. Euraxess is a European partnership aimed at supporting:
- EU researchers who want to settle in another EU country and to non-EU researchers who want to come to the EU;
- The career development of researchers
- The scientific cooperation between Europe and the rest of the world.
Euraxess supports both staff, students and researchers to Nuffic is the national coordinator of Euraxess NL and several knowledge institutions are Euraxess Service Centers. Check the Euraxess website for the most up-to-date information.
Nuffic maintains figures around incoming student mobility and are surveyed annually. Nuffic's surveys and current dashboards can be found here.
Staff mobility in higher education
In the Netherlands, there are no national policy goals and national mobility programs related to staff mobility in higher education. Euraxess (European partnership) and FactCards focus on supporting researchers both within and outside the EU. The government leaves the responsibility for organizing, coordinating and funding mobility programs to higher education institutions.
No information is collected at the central level on annual participation in such programs. Occasionally, however, the situation is surveyed and tracked among academic staff. Agreements between the organization of universities (Universities of the Netherlands, formerly VSNU) and the organization of higher education institutions (Vereniging Hogescholen) regulate salaries, financial compensation and social security for such programs. Rewards for participation in international mobility programs are determined per institution.
- Within the Erasmus+ program it is possible to apply for funding for outgoing mobility of teachers and staff in higher education to countries participating in the program. To a limited extent, this is also possible to countries outside Europe. This can be done by teaching at other educational institutions or through internships or job shadowing for the purpose of professional development. Staff members from organizations other than education can also be invited to teach at the educational institution.