I have a question about studying a masters in the netherlands! I was born in Australia but my Dad was Dutch. The thing is, he left the netherlands at the age of 8, so now I’m unsure whether it’s possible to get a dutch passport. I’ve looked up information but it seems unclear. You seem to know a lot about this, do you have any points of recommendation for me? Sarah.
I recently received this email and am replying in a blog post so that others who are interested can also read the information, or may also have experience to share in a comment.
Visas and Passports for the Netherlands or Australia
Firstly, I regularly receive emails via this blog asking about visas and passports for either the Netherlands or Australia. I am not at all in a position to advise on this, the only authoritative source is the Embassies.
Dutch Embassy in Australia: http://australia.nlembassy.org
Australian Embassy in the Netherlands: http://netherlands.embassy.gov.au/ (though note they do NOT deal with visas, you can find more information here: http://netherlands.embassy.gov.au/thag/Visas_and_Migration.html)
If you find the information to be unclear, please contact the embassies directly, I have found they have always done their best to help. Situations and laws can change, but the embassies will have the most up to date information. They unfortunately won’t always give you the answer you want, in which case you can of course do more research, or look for an immigration agency who may have some experience in dealing with your situation – however be aware that these will usually charge significant amounts of money and ultimately, the decision and authority lies with the embassies.
Studying in the Netherlands
Back to studying in the Netherlands. Following a Bachelors or Masters in the Netherlands is a great option and there is a lot of support for international students. The quality of education in the Netherlands is excellent and even if you can’t communicate in Dutch, there are plenty of English-language programmes in a broad range of disciplines.
The authority for “internationals” including Australians studying in the Netherlands is NUFFIC. You can read more about the organisation in the Wikipedia entry here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuffic and on their official website here (in Dutch but with some English information): https://www.epnuffic.nl
They do have a dedicated website in English covering everything you need to know about studying in the Netherlands here: https://www.studyinholland.nl and the following video was produced with the goal of attracting international students.
Student Visas for the Netherlands (as an International Student)
Back to visas – if you are an Australian citizen wishing to study in the Netherlands, the university you are applying to should have a department which will assist you in obtaining the information you need to apply for a student visa. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has more information here: https://ind.nl/en
My personal understanding is that if you are an Australian citizen and qualify for entry at the Dutch university of your choice, apply and are accepted, and have means to support yourself during that year (i.e. enough funds to pay the tuition and living expenses) then you should be able to obtain a visa for the duration of your studies. Full details are here: https://ind.nl/EN/individuals/residence-wizard/study/higher-education-and-university
Once you graduate, you can currently apply for a 1 year extension to be able to have the opportunity to work in the Netherlands with your new Dutch qualification. After this year, you will then need to have a Dutch company sponsor you to stay on an employment visa, or you will need to return to Australia.
Studying in the Netherlands with a Dutch passport
If you have Dutch heritage, you can look into whether you may qualify for Dutch nationality. If you do and obtain this, then you will no longer be seen as an international student. For some universities, particularly the research ones (such as TU Delft and Erasmus) this means a significant reduction in tuition fees.
My personal experience of studying in the Netherlands
Over the last year, I have actually had quite a lot of personal experience about studying in the Netherlands! If you’re a new reader to this blog, to bring you up to speed – I hold dual nationality Dutch/Australian. Initially from Australia, I’ve married a Dutch man and we’ve lived between the countries (you can read more about me here). I obtained my Bachelor of Business degree via Open Universities Australia and Swinburne University of Technology by distance study while living between Australia and the Netherlands.
In October 2014, I took a 5 week teaching contract at The Hague University of Applied Sciences as a freelancer via my business, Zestee Social Media. I’d long been interested in guest lecturing or teaching at a university, but until then, hadn’t really looked further into this and had focussed on social media training for entrepreneurs. Through a connection, I met with the head of the IBMS (International Business & Management Studies) Bachelor’s programme and started just a few hours a week, teaching second year students for the “ebusiness” module. The entire Bachelor’s programme is taught in English and around half of the students are Dutch and the other half from many countries around the world. Teaching that age group (about 18-22 year olds) was a totally new experience for me, but I loved it. After that short contract ended, I was offered another freelance one in the same department for 5 months, from February-June 2015. This time, I was teaching subjects such as Intercultural Competence, Business Planning and Marketing and decided I could really see myself doing this as a long term career. However to become a permanent staff member as a lecturer, you need a Master’s degree. For a while, I’ve been considering this and with this extra motivation, in September 2015, I began my 2 year journey of teaching 50% of the week in the IBMS department and being a part time student in the MICM programme (Masters in International Communication Management). Due to my dual nationality, I am considered a Dutch student in the Master’s programme, but the majority of my fellow students are from other countries such as China, Uganda, Oman and many more. No other Australian’s yet!
So I’m now both a student and lecturer at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and though there are daily challenges, I’m loving it. With around 1800 staff and approximately 25,000 students, there is a very active atmosphere and I particularly like how international the environment is. Soon, I will write another blog post about my personal experiences of studying (and teaching) in the Netherlands but for now, if you have any questions, you’re welcome to contact me or comment below.
University or University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands?
One of the biggest tips I can give is to understand the differences between a “university” (Universiteit in Dutch) and a “University of Applied Sciences” (Hogeschool in Dutch). The first is a “higher” level of academic studies with a focus on research. They will also usually have a more difficult criteria for entry. Most importantly for Dutch residents, a Master’s programme is heavily subsided at a universiteit e.g. to study at TU Delft or Erasmus Rotterdam, the local student fee is around 1900 euros a year but to study at a Hogeschool is around 15,000 euros a year. This is fairly ironic and can be hard to understand, considering that the universiteit is a “higher” level of education, however I think it has to do with complicated political and historical factors and I do hope will change in the future.
Many say the Dutch society is fairly flat (i.e. not hierarchical, not just the landscape!) but I’ve found those who have had an universiteit education often consider themselves as “above” those with a Hogeschool education. Personally, I prefer the very practical approach of the Applied Sciences, where academic research and principles are important, but there is a real focus on “how will this work in the real world”. I’ll stop here with this comparison, as it’s one of those topics that will no doubt spice up a Dutch dinner party conversation with strong opinions, but if you’re an Australian considering studying in the Netherlands, this is something you will want to look into a little further. To some extent, you could be limited by your Australian qualifications and which are accepted and where – for example, Erasmus (a universiteit) would accept me in the Master’s programme I applied for with my Bachelors from Swinburne University of Technology – but only on the condition I did an additional full time year of a Pre Masters, where I would “catch up” on the “methodology” (i.e. academic research expectations), however this was not a requirement at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (a Hogeschool) where I was able to immediately start a Master’s.
Dutch students studying in Australia
Finally to round off this post, I would say that if you are an Australian keen to look into studying in the Netherlands, I’d recommend it! As this blog – and my life – have demonstrated for some time, Australians and Dutch have a lot in common and I think studying in the “other” country would be a great experience for many. Are you a Dutchie wanting to go to Australia? There is also a website for Dutch students wishing to study in another country, including Australia: https://www.wilweg.nl I’d love to write a blog post about this, so if you have done this please contact me.
So, Sarah, I hope that helps you and anyone else considering studying in the Netherlands, I’d love to hear how you go in a comment below.