Study abroad for a semester in


The Netherlands, often referred to as Holland, is a country where tradition meets innovation. Imagine studying in Amsterdam, a city known for its artistic heritage, vibrant nightlife, and intricate canal system, or in Rotterdam, famous for its modern architecture and bustling port. The Netherlands offers a unique blend of academic excellence and cultural richness, making it an ideal destination for international students.

Dutch universities are at the forefront of educational innovation, focusing on interactive and student-centered learning. Whether you’re interested in water management, international law, urban planning, or digital media, the Netherlands’ educational institutions provide a wide range of programs to suit your interests.

Living in the Netherlands means embracing a culture that values creativity, open-mindedness, and sustainability. You can explore picturesque villages, enjoy world-class cuisine, and participate in lively local festivals. With its high quality of life, excellent infrastructure, and welcoming atmosphere, the Netherlands promises a fulfilling and enriching study abroad experience.

Netherlands is best known for

Innovative Education System 🎓: The Netherlands is known for its progressive education system that emphasizes critical thinking, collaboration, and real-world application. Dutch universities are highly regarded globally, particularly in fields such as engineering, social sciences, and environmental studies.

Diverse and Inclusive Society 🌍: The Netherlands is a melting pot of cultures, with a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for international students. English is widely spoken, making it easier for non-Dutch speakers to navigate daily life.

Sustainable Living 🌱: The Netherlands is a global leader in sustainability, with a strong focus on environmental responsibility and green living. From extensive cycling paths to innovative waste management systems, the country provides a perfect environment for students passionate about sustainability.

Table of contents

1. Visa and Health Insurance 🛂

Embarking on your academic journey to the Netherlands involves navigating the visa and health insurance processes. These essential steps ensure compliance with legal requirements and access to necessary healthcare services during your stay. Proper documentation and insurance coverage are crucial for a smooth and secure study abroad experience.

Visa Types

  • Residence Permit for Study (MVV and VVR): This permit is required for all non-EU/EEA students who plan to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days to pursue their studies. The residence permit is typically valid for the duration of the academic program and can be renewed annually.
  • Short-Stay Visa (Schengen Visa): This visa is for short-term study programs or courses that last less than 90 days. Valid for the duration of the short-term program, up to 90 days. It cannot be renewed for the same purpose; students must leave and reapply if they wish to extend their stay.
  • For EU/EEA Students: EU/EEA students do not require a visa to study in the Netherlands. However, they must register with the local authorities upon arrival if they plan to stay for more than 90 days. They can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access healthcare services in the Netherlands.

Application Process

  1. Acceptance from a Dutch Institution: Secure admission from a recognized Dutch university or educational institution.
  2. Prepare Documents: Gather all required documents, including your passport, proof of acceptance, proof of financial means, and health insurance.
  3. Visa Application Form: Complete the MVV (provisional residence permit) and VVR (residence permit) application forms available on the website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
  4. Submit Application: Submit the completed application forms along with all required documents to the nearest Dutch consulate or embassy.
  5. Pay the Application Fee: Pay the required visa application fee.
  6. Attend an Interview: Some consulates may require an in-person interview as part of the application process.
  7. Wait for Processing: Visa processing times can vary, so it’s important to apply well in advance of your intended travel date.

Required Documents

  • Passport (valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay)
  • Completed visa application forms (MVV and VVR)
  • Proof of acceptance from a Dutch university
  • Proof of financial means (bank statements or financial guarantee)
  • Health insurance coverage proof
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Academic transcripts and diplomas from previous education

Application Timeline

Start Early: Begin the application process at least 3-6 months before your intended departure.
Processing Time: Visa processing can take several weeks to months, depending on the country and application volume.
Important Deadlines: Be mindful of university application deadlines and ensure your visa application is timely.

Tips for Success

Complete Documentation: Ensure all your documents are complete and accurately filled out.
Financial Proof: Clearly demonstrate financial stability and sufficient funds.
Health Insurance: Secure a visa-compliant health insurance plan early in the process.

Importance of Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in the Netherlands. It ensures that students have access to medical care and covers a wide range of health services, from regular doctor visits to emergency care.

Types of Health Insurance

  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): For EU/EEA students, the EHIC provides access to necessary medical treatment in the Netherlands under the same conditions and at the same cost as residents.
    • Advantages: Provides basic coverage for necessary medical care.
    • Limitations: Does not cover private healthcare, non-urgent medical care, or repatriation costs.
  • Dutch Public Health Insurance (Basisverzekering): International students who work part-time or do an internship in the Netherlands are required to have Dutch public health insurance.
    • Cost: Approximately EUR 100 – EUR 120 per month.
    • Advantages: Provides comprehensive coverage for medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescriptions.
    • Limitations: Mandatory for students who have a part-time job or paid internship.
  • Private Health Insurance: Some students opt for private health insurance to ensure more comprehensive and faster access to healthcare services.
    • Cost: Varies based on the provider and plan. Plans typically start at around EUR 40 per month.
    • Advantages: More extensive coverage, faster access to services, and flexibility in choosing healthcare providers.
    • Limitations: Generally more expensive than relying solely on public healthcare.

Country-Specific Requirements

Public Health Insurance Registration: Upon arrival in the Netherlands, students must register for public health insurance if they plan to work or do an internship.
Private Health Insurance: Must meet the minimum coverage requirements set by Dutch authorities. Private plans often provide quicker access to healthcare services and more flexibility in choosing providers.

Finding the Best Health Insurance

wearefreemovers has developed a partnership with IMG with the intent of offering you reliable and visa-compliant health insurance for your stay in the Netherlands.

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IMG is our suggested visa-compliant health insurance for the Netherlands.

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What happens if my visa application is denied?
If your visa application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons for the denial. Address the issues mentioned and reapply, or appeal the decision if you believe it was incorrect. Review the reasons for denial carefully and seek guidance from the embassy or consulate if needed.

Can I change my health insurance plan after arriving in the Netherlands?
Yes, you can change your health insurance plan after arriving in the Netherlands. Ensure the new plan meets the mandatory health insurance requirements for students. Compare different plans to choose one that offers comprehensive coverage and suits your needs.

What should I do if I need medical care and don’t have insurance?
If you require medical care and don’t have insurance, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for all medical services, which can be very expensive. It’s highly recommended to have valid health insurance to avoid these costs. If you find yourself without insurance, contact a health insurance provider immediately to enroll in a plan.

Additional Resources

Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND): This official government portal provides comprehensive information for foreigners looking to study in the Netherlands, including visa requirements, application procedures, and practical advice for living in the Netherlands. It’s a reliable source for the most up-to-date information and official guidelines.

Study in Holland: This website offers detailed information on studying in the Netherlands, including available programs, scholarships, and practical advice for international students. It also provides insights into Dutch culture and student life, helping you to prepare for your journey.

2. Cost of Living 💰

The Netherlands is known for its high quality of life, which can come with a higher cost compared to some other European countries. Understanding these expenses is essential for effective budgeting and financial planning. Whether you’re living in Amsterdam, Utrecht, or another Dutch city, knowing what to expect financially will help you manage your resources wisely and enjoy your time in the Netherlands.

Detailed Breakdown of Living Expenses

Accommodation: Monthly rent can vary significantly based on location and type of housing.
EUR 500 – EUR 1,350/month
Food: From groceries to dining out, here’s what to expect.
EUR 300 – EUR 650/month
Transportation: The Netherlands offers an efficient public transportation system that is relatively affordable.
EUR 40 – EUR 120/month
Utilities: Essential services like electricity, water, and internet.
EUR 100 – EUR 200/month
Entertainment and Leisure: Enjoying the Netherlands’ vibrant cultural and social scene.
EUR 150 – EUR 350/month
Miscellaneous Expenses: Personal items and services.
EUR 150 – EUR 250/month

3. Accommodation Options 🏠

Finding the right accommodation is a key part of your study abroad experience in the Netherlands. The country offers a variety of housing options to fit different needs and budgets, from student dormitories and shared apartments to private rentals. The type of accommodation you choose will significantly impact your experience, so it’s important to consider your preferences and financial situation.

Types of Accommodation

Student Dorms (Studentenhuisvesting): Many universities in the Netherlands provide on-campus dormitories, offering convenience and a sense of community. Dorms are typically furnished and come with basic amenities.
Price: EUR 400 – EUR 650/month
Shared Apartments (Gedeelde Appartementen): Sharing an apartment with other students is a popular and cost-effective choice. This option allows for greater independence while still being economical.
Price: EUR 500 – EUR 900/month
Private Apartments (Privé Appartementen): Renting your own place offers privacy and independence. This option is ideal for students who prefer more space and freedom.
Price: EUR 800 – EUR 1,350/month
Homestays (Gastgezinnen): Living with a local family can provide a deeper cultural immersion and a supportive home environment. This option is particularly beneficial for improving language skills and understanding local customs.
Price: EUR 400 – EUR 800/month

Find accommodation in Netherlands

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Tips and Resources

Start Early: Begin your search well in advance to secure the best options and avoid last-minute hassles.
Budget Wisely: When planning your budget, include utilities and internet costs.
Consider Location: Choose accommodation that is conveniently located near your university, public transportation, and local amenities.
Use Reliable Platforms: Book through reputable platforms to avoid scams and ensure quality accommodations. The options on wearefreemovers have been preselected by us, offering you greater peace of mind.

4. University Information 🎓

Choosing the right university is a significant part of your study abroad journey. The Netherlands is home to a variety of universities that offer diverse academic programs and vibrant student life, all within a culturally rich environment. Whether you are interested in technology, humanities, environmental sciences, or the arts, the Netherlands has something to offer.

Find universities in Netherlands

Try our University Finder and discover the best universities for your needs

5. Further Practical Information 🛠️


The Netherlands’ transportation network is modern and efficient, making it easy to explore the country and commute to university.

Public Transportation 🚆: Major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht have extensive public transport systems, including buses, trams, and metro. Monthly passes range from EUR 40 to EUR 100, with student discounts often available. Amsterdam’s metro and tram systems are particularly extensive and user-friendly.

Bicycles 🚴: The Netherlands is renowned for its bike-friendly infrastructure, with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programs. Cycling is an excellent way to navigate cities and towns, and many students opt for this eco-friendly mode of transport.

Long-Distance Travel 🚆: The Netherlands’ intercity train and bus systems connect major cities and towns, offering a convenient way to travel across the country. For longer distances, domestic flights are available and relatively affordable.

Tips 💡: Always check for student discounts on transportation passes. For intercity travel, booking bus or train tickets in advance can secure the best rates.

Banking and Finances

Managing your finances effectively is crucial for a smooth study abroad experience.

Opening a Bank Account 🏦: Most banks in the Netherlands offer special accounts for students with low or no fees. Popular banks include ING, ABN AMRO, and Rabobank.

Documents Required 📑: To open a bank account, you will typically need your passport, proof of enrollment, and a local address.

Currency 💶: The currency in the Netherlands is the Euro (EUR). Having a local bank account helps avoid foreign transaction fees and simplifies everyday transactions.

Tips 💡: Look for student-friendly bank accounts and make use of online banking apps to manage your finances efficiently. Consider using services like for seamless international transactions.

Local Culture and Etiquette

Understanding local customs and social norms will help you integrate smoothly into Dutch society.

Punctuality ⏰: Punctuality is highly valued in the Netherlands. Arriving on time for classes, meetings, and social events is expected and seen as a sign of respect.

Greetings 🤝: A common greeting in the Netherlands includes a firm handshake, often accompanied by a friendly “Hallo” or “Goedemorgen.” In more casual settings, a simple nod and smile are common.

Mealtimes 🍽️: Dutch mealtimes are usually social events, with lunch being the main meal of the day, typically around 12-1 PM, and dinner around 6-8 PM. Sharing food and expressing gratitude for the meal is a cherished tradition, and tipping (usually 10-15%) is appreciated in restaurants.

Public Behavior 🤫: Dutch people value politeness and respect in public spaces. It’s important to be considerate and mindful of your surroundings, especially on public transportation and in residential areas. Keeping noise levels low and respecting others’ personal space will help you integrate smoothly into the local community.

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