9 Best Cities to Study in Netherlands

Have you ever thought about doing your exchange in Holland? This small European country has one of the best qualities of life in the world and a high concentration of top quality universities. Just to give you an idea, in the ranking of QS World Universities 2021, the land of tulips and channels has 13 universities among the 400 best in the world, which is a great result considering the size of the Dutch population according to Countryaah.com. But what will be the best cities to study in the Netherlands? This is what you will discover now!

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: Amsterdam

There is no way to make a list of the best cities to study in the Netherlands without starting with the amazing Amsterdam, the country’s capital. Famous for its canals and museums, this is a great option especially for students of Arts, History and other fields related to the world of culture. The Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum are just two of the sights you can explore after starting your studies in the city.

The University of Amsterdam is the largest higher education institution in the Netherlands in number of students and the second best in academic performance, occupying the 61st position in the overall ranking of QS. International students can find a large number of programs taught in English in several different areas at the university.

Another highly reputable institution in the city is the Free University of Amsterdam, which also offers a good number of courses taught in English and ranks 236th in the same ranking.

As you may already know, Amsterdam is also well known for the popularization of bicycle use by the majority of the population. If you are good at cycling this is a great way to save money at the end of the month, as you will not need to spend on public transport on a daily basis.

Considered the financial capital of the Netherlands, the cost of living in Amsterdam is more expensive than in the rest of the country and this, basically, is its main negative point. On the other hand, you will be delighted to know that the local community is liberal and completely open minded. In other words, tolerance, diversity and respect are fundamental things for the citizens of the city.

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - Amsterdam

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, as well as being home to the largest port in the whole of Europe. It is home to a diverse population and has a more lively and urban lifestyle than most cities in the country, which can be seen even in its most modern architecture.

This is due to the fact that Rotterdam was practically completely destroyed in World War II. But what could be just cause for sadness and tragedy served as a stimulus for a total reinvention and the result is a model and contemporary city with a very rich cultural scene, especially in music.

Universities in Rotterdam are also widely known for their popular programs and for the training of highly competent professionals. The Erasmus University of Rotterdam, for example, is famous for its programs in the areas of Marketing and Business. It is the eighth best university in the country (197th in the world) and the students trained there find several job and internship opportunities,  since the city is home to several international companies.

Rotterdam is, in general, a great option for those who want to have a more cosmopolitan life. And, although the cost of living is not the cheapest in the country, it offers a good number of budget accommodations for foreign students.

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - Rotterdam

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: The Hague

The Hague, or Den Haag, is the center of judicial decisions in the Netherlands (and also in the world!), Being the home of the United Nations International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. There are also the headquarters of the Dutch government and the Noordeinde Palace, which belongs to the Dutch royal family.

Living in The Hague means having a very comfortable life, as the city is very close to other important centers (such as Rotterdam, Leiden and Amsterdam) and has a great offer of trade and cultural attractions. The main educational institution in the city is the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - The Hague

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: Leiden

A small town between The Hague and Amsterdam, Leiden is a charming place that attracts a large number of international students. Just like the capital, in Leiden you will also find several picturesque canals and historic buildings. Another great advantage is the proximity to the country’s financial and political centers, as it is only 30 minutes from Amsterdam and 15 minutes from The Hague.

The University of Leiden, founded in 1575, is one of the pillars of Dutch education, especially in the fields of law and social sciences. As the oldest university in the Netherlands, several important names in the country’s history have passed through there, such as the famous painter Rembrandt and several members of the Dutch royal family, including the current King Guilherme Alexandre. According to QS, it is the sixth best university in the Netherlands, occupying the 128th position in the world ranking.

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - Leiden

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: Groningen

In the northern part of the Netherlands, you will find an incredible city with a lot to offer: Groningen. To begin with, about 30% of the population is made up of young students. Therefore, if you choose this city as your destination, you will come across a very dynamic and multicultural place, with good offers of cultural options and leisure activities.

In terms of universities, the highlight of the city is the University of Groningen (founded in 1614), which is the second oldest in the country. The institution is a great pioneer, having been the training place for the first astronaut, the first female student and the first teacher in the Netherlands. It is the sixth best university in the country (128th in the world). Yes, the universities of Groningen and Leiden are tied in the ranking!

It is also one of the most cyclist friendly cities in the world, mainly due to its safe bike lanes and flat relief features. However, Groningen also offers many things outside of classrooms, having already been voted the city with the best city ​​center in the Netherlands several times.

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - Groningen

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: Eindhoven

Home to the world famous Philips, Eindhoven is the center of engineering and technology in the Netherlands. And, as such, it is marked by several innovative initiatives both in the technological field and in its architecture.

Its most popular university, the Technological University of Eindhoven, has a great international reputation, mainly in its Architecture, Engineering and Design programs. It is considered the fourth best university in the country and the 120th best in the world.

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - Eindhoven

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: Utrecht

Located in the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht is still a city little explored by international students. But whoever decides to choose this corner as home does not regret it. Like Amsterdam and Leiden, it is also known for its canals and well-preserved historical architecture, but it has an even more relaxed and young lifestyle, since a large part of the population is made up of students. And due to its central location it also allows easy access to the main cities in the country.

The main institution of higher education in the city is the University of Utrecht, founded in 1636 and which today is internationally respected mainly for the high-level research carried out there. It is the fifth best university in the country (121st place in the world).

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - Utrecht

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: Delft

Considered a miniature and cozy version of Amsterdam, Delft is a picturesque city located between The Hague and Rotterdam. And although small, it has an architecture to make any city envy. In addition, Delft is proud to be home to the best university in the Netherlands: the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft), created in 1842. The most prominent areas at the institution are Mathematics, Architecture, Computer Science and Technology.

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - Delft

Best cities to study in the Netherlands: Maastricht

In the extreme south of the Netherlands, on the border with Belgium and Germany, is the city of Maastricht, which, unlike most other cities in the country, is marked by its mountainous topography. This does not prevent, however, that the local population (mainly students) is also adept at bicycles.

Maastricht is home to the University of Maastricht, a young institution with several options for programs taught in English. No wonder, about 49% of the university’s student population is made up of students from other countries. In the QS ranking, it is the 11th best university in the country (234 in the world).

The city’s southernmost location and its concentration of foreign students contribute to the multilingual population of Maastricht. You will not find it difficult to walk the streets and seek help (if you need to), since a large part of the population is fluent in English (above the national average, which is already high).

Best cities to study in the Netherlands - Maastricht