Amsterdam is bottom of new list of European student capitals

27th February 2014, Comments 9 comments

Amsterdam might attract 1.2 million young tourists a year but it lacks the ambition to attract foreign students and is missing out on talent and income, according to a new report out on Thursday.

The Dutch capital is bottom of a list of nine European student cities in a comparison study.

Just 6,750 of the city’s students – or 6.6 percent – come from outside the Netherlands, the report says.

By contrast, 34 percent of students in Brussels come from outside Belgium as do 31 percent of London students and 20 percent of those in Berlin.


Amsterdam also performs poorly compared with other Dutch universities.

Some 10 percent of Groningen’s student body comes from abroad as does 14 percent of Delft students and 38 percent of those in Maastricht.

The situation is likely to worsen, the report by the higher education research institute The Class of 2020 says.

It points to the lack of English-language courses in the city and a lack of international educational ambition.

"This means the city is missing out on talent, thousands of jobs and millions of euros in income," spokesman Frank Uffen said.

The lack of affordable accommodation for international students is another contributing factor, he said.

Uffen is also a director at the Student Hotel group.



9 Comments To This Article

  • carrico posted:

    on 5th March 2014, 14:52:20 - Reply

    My understanding is that the Dutch university and college systems are different, the latter more highly specialized. Does this effect the statistics?
  • tim posted:

    on 1st March 2014, 07:02:38 - Reply

    No Maastricht is not where Wilders comes from. No Wilders doesn't get the majority of the votes there (nor anywhere else in the Netherlands.) Yes there are universities in Belgium and Germany near the border. (Hasselt, Liege, Koeln, Duesseldorf.)
  • Anna posted:

    on 28th February 2014, 20:48:31 - Reply

    Isn't Maastricht the area where the Wilders the xenofobe politician comes from? and isn't he getting the majority of votes there?

    Given that Maastricht is only a few km away from 3 bordering countries, i would think lots of belgian, luxembourgois and german go to university there, and i think that's because there aren't any universities close to the border on the german, and belgian side, so these foreigners like the belgian prefer to go to nearby Maastricht in NL, than travel all the way to Brussels?

    I fully agree the Dutch are sickminded when it comes to xenofobism- it's a topic covered in youtube, and lots of local dutch students declared on youtube that it was completely true and that their parents like to hide their xenofobism while in fact they take decisions at work with xenofobism in mind on a daily basis. Kids don't lie. Have a look on youtube.
  • tim posted:

    on 28th February 2014, 19:41:13 - Reply

    Maatricht has 38% foreign students. Care to explain that, hellen and Christian?
  • hellen posted:

    on 28th February 2014, 11:15:22 - Reply


    The Dutch universities don't attract foreign teachers, BECAUSE they exercise xenofobism. That's the whole problem. It starts with the sick mentality of the Dutch, and everything goes downhill from there.
    French have no probs attracting foreign teachers. Because they don't hate newcomers as much as Dutch do. The problem is the sick mind of the average Dutch.
  • roland posted:

    on 27th February 2014, 17:35:40 - Reply

    Despite the lengthly discussions on this matter, the problem is simple to resolve. Amsterdam (and the Netherlands in general) has a poor track record of attracting foreigners as teachers who are qualified in education or in business but who may not speak dutch. Look at the cities you mentioned and survey the percentage of foreign teachers at their universities. They in turn attract foreign students. I am sure there will be some elaborate plans to address the problem but I am afraid this will be one of the last items that will be looked at.
  • Barry posted:

    on 27th February 2014, 15:43:34 - Reply

    Quote " So we continue to have these articles wondering why the NL does not have more foreign students and skilled workers, when the reason why they do not come and stay are very elemental "

    Even more elemental is how Dutch wonder why problems are not solved, while they read about them in news papers - not because the "problems still exist", but because the journalist are of bad quality. Unlike in the UK where a good portion of journalists finished top tier universities, in the Netherlands, most have barely finished high school or a marginalized online poly. They write to justify that their job is still needed, not because there is.. actual news to report.

    Other than that - I don't see a problem in asking students to go out to work in exchange for freebies (ov card / tuition financing). Dutch don't get those freebies either when they study in other EU countries. It is fair, because most likely these student's parents didn't pay tax in the university's recipient country, so how can you expect a recipient country to fund all these new EU students' subsidy needs? I certainly don't want to see my crisisheffin tax (already 75% of income) go up to a 100% to cover for the freebies for say eastern europeans or portuguese students. Portuguese shouldn't expect freebies: they don't get those in their home country, so why expect it from the Dutch?. I might as well kill myself if i have to pay 100% tax, as there is little point in life then! But most likely, i will chase those Dutch subsidy sucking portuguese first and probably teach them a lesson in humility. And mind you, I am an immigrant myself, but in my days, i had to work anyway to pay for my bills. I never got to do full day time university because i had to work to pay for my rent - never mind my ability or day dreams for a full time uni course. So i postponed it, and did it 10y later, and at a reputable (non Dutch!!) uni with zero subsidy. It is not considered 'Human right' to enter uni. EU spoilt students need to wake up to the music.

    What Netherlands ended up being, is THE trash can of the entire EU. Nobody goes to UK, because competition is fierce and freebies won't cover your tuition there. Every single poor parents' kid is sent over to NL to have a 'Dazzling full time student life' coupled with nice free tuition loans and other freebies. But these guys are TOO POOR poor to attend uni. They ought to work and learn to SAVE, which is something they clearly haven't learnt from their parents, have they??. Better yet: their irresponsible PARENTS ought to have worked FOR THEM and assemble the money needed to enter university - why aren't the parents in NL to work for the kids? If they had, the kids would probably study in their own country rather than travel all the way to NL just because it so happens that you can get everything paid for by Dutch government from train fees, tuition up to subsidized student rooms is arranged for them practically for free.

    So what we have here is an exodus of children of parents that have done nothing or close to nothing to ensure a sound financial situation for their children's education. We face a generation of kids from parents who are - it is harsh, i know- but who are effectively: losers. And we are paying for their way, while most Dutch kids in such situation (poor parents) would simply not attend university and go straight to work.

    University is not just for the brightest in terms of skills. It is also a place where poor bright kids should be disallowed entrance, unless they can manage to EARN a tuition grant, based on hardship (tested and proven hardship, rather than laziness from the parent's part). You see, in theory everyone can do uni. But not everyone SHOULD do uni. Some families, sorry to say, are just irresponsible and don't * deserve * a place in uni. It is called the law of evolution, and it ensures appreciation and humility. Because right now, I can tell you i interviewed a chinese girl who did poly in 2003 in NL and she was basically laughing in my face telling me " can you believe it? i got almost free schooling in NL, got a subsidized room, study financiering - which i would NEVER get in China because of my poor grades and my parent's bad credit status!' This woman was not a skilled migrant nor did she hold any Residency permit. She just walked in and was enrolled on the same basis as Dutch. She basically robbed the NL study funds, and instead of being thankful, or show some humility, she was LAUGHING AT ME (her future boss), and at the egalitarian Dutch system which rewards any moron born to irresponsible parents coming off the streets. Needless to say, i didn't hire her.
  • HTD posted:

    on 27th February 2014, 13:46:54 - Reply

    Actually, I find student life not to be one of the top factors determining foreign student interest (or lack of it in coming to the NL to study). Only the Maastricht University offers the widest variety of degree programs given exclusively in English; this appears to be one of the primary reasons why Maastricht enjoys a 38% foreign student body.
    Next would be how high the tuition fees are in the NL. Students from other EU countries that register to live in the NL can take advantage of the lower fee schedule. However, there is one growingly significant problem for these non-Dutch, EU students. Unlike their Dutch peers, these students are required to work 56 hours a month if they want to qualify for student loan assistance and an OV Card for free train travel during the week or on weekends, but not both.
    In addition, the current 56 hour requirement has recently been raised from 32 hours a month. Not only is this requirement blatantly discriminatory, but it also means that they have considerably fewer hours each month to prepare for their lessons. From my experience Dutch students have complained long and hard that the foreign students study more hours than they are accustomed to doing as their main issue. Instead of the government seeing the fact that foreign student study harder, they have instituted unfair regulations to force them to be less competitive in class.
    So we continue to have these articles wondering why the NL does not have more foreign students and skilled workers, when the reason why they do not come and stay are very elemental. The NL has created an academic playing pitch that is heavily sloped against them. The solution seems simple enough, treat the foreigner students and skilled worker on an equitable basis as our own Dutch students and the other advantages for them to study and work here will gradually improve.
  • Christian posted:

    on 27th February 2014, 11:38:01 - Reply

    Students pick a city for their student life, not just based on affordability (London is not affordable, yet very popular) but mostly based on future aspiration and possibilities in that city/country.
    As it stands: the whole world has seen first hand how xenofobism is practised in Netherlands against very high skilled asians (think about that Phd Singer who was made fun of in public), against eastern europeans who came legally to work hard and pay taxes (wilders polen meldpunt), and against 3rd generation immigrants (think the volkskrant publication showing less than 0.001% of Dutch from surinam/moroccan/turkisch heritage ever make it (read: are allowed to) to a post beyond that of a clerk, such as manager or board member.
    Students are going to places where they will be accepted in work relationships. Netherlands is the one place on the planet where immigrants, even Phd level ones are not accepted at all, let alone welcomed by anyone other than the employee who wants a cheap clerk with zero ambition to make it to the board. Apart from that, everyone by now knows that the salaries of high skilled people are suffering in NL under the egalitarian regime, and 'tax-on-tax-on-tax' system. It just turns out that when you are blessed with high skills, you will be rewarded better for it in places like the UK.

    At last, the Dutch are getting exactly what comes to them!