5 Best Law Schools in the Netherlands

Bordered by Germany, Belgium, and the North Sea, the Netherlands sits at the beating heart of Western Europe. Alongside its globally famous capital city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ third-largest city, The Hague, is reputed as the International City of Peace and Justice. Sometimes it’s even referred to as the legal capital of the world. Home of the International Court of Justice, and many other international courts, the Netherlands provides prospective law students with a chance to be in the heart of European and international law.

As one of the founding countries of the European Union, the Netherlands has been at the center of the action for decades. Students wishing to study at some of the best law schools the Netherlands has to offer will be treated to a historical marvel, with lush environments, and an inclusive, diverse populace. More importantly, the growth of students is nurtured with some of the best legal education Europe has to offer. Being around the location of many of the world’s international courtrooms allows students to experience first-hand the epitome of the legal profession.

But, with limited options of study offered to monolingual English speakers (or even multilingual talents without knowledge of the Dutch language), it’s important for prospective international students to have a grasp of the Dutch vernacular. The best law schools in the Netherlands primarily teach their subjects in Dutch, with the exception of a few accommodating academies that offer an LL. B. option in English. However, even for local speakers and Dutch citizens, there is still a sharp, competitive edge to enter the top institutes. Study and academic prowess, as always, are essential for entry.

Read on for information on what it means, and what it takes to be regarded as top law schools in the Netherlands.

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Top Law Schools in the Netherlands

1. Leiden Law School

  • Law School Link
  • Degrees Offered: LL.M., MSc, PhD
  • Language: Dutch and English

The Leiden law school perches high above the competition on its platform of success and rich, illustrious four centuries worth of history. It’s easy to see why it’s almost universally recognized as the best law school in the country. Naturally, for a Netherlands-based university, Leiden law school focuses on cultivating students’ knowledge towards the intricacies of the local law. However, with one campus in Leiden and one in The Hague, students have an opportunity to immerse themselves in the most international and diverse legal environment on the planet.

Boasting an impressive, though intensive, education program, Leiden law school aims to instill within their students a disciplined work ethic to which they may apply to the practice of law as a career. After all, a large part of what the university offers is a program developed exclusively with the ever-changing and constantly adapting job market in mind. It’s this eye for detail and this willingness to understand the needs of their students and alumni that make the academy one of the best law schools in the Netherlands.

2. University of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, may be internationally recognized for its water canals, intricate architecture, and vibrant red-light district, but it’s also known for its incredible law school, the University of Amsterdam. Ranked second in the Times Higher Education (THE), and situated in the heart of a truly universal, international city, students from all over the world are drawn to study law at a law school in the Netherlands that constantly strives to be the best. Beginning with the interdisciplinary PPLE program, students are then encouraged to branch out and specialize.

Due to the pluralistic nature of Amsterdam, studies at the University of Amsterdam’s law school are taught primarily in English. They do, however, cover the Netherlands’ law in great detail.

3. Utrecht University

Founded in 1636, the Utrecht University School of Law is one of the oldest public research facilities in the Netherlands. Producing a number of Nobel Prize laureates and Spinoza Prize laureates, it’s clear that the long-standing history of the school is by no means an accident. And the law faculty is no exception to that success. With a robust educational program, students are supplied with the knowledge of both local and international laws. As Utrecht law school has strong ties with schools in both China and Canada, students are also offered a chance to do an exchange to a list of select schools, furthering their education in international legislation.

While most bachelor’s degrees offered by Utrecht are taught primarily in Dutch, the school of law does offer several English-language master’s programs.

4. Tilburg Law School

  • Law School Link
  • Degrees Offered: LLB, BSc, LLM, MSc, PhD
  • Language: Dutch and English

As one of the more recently founded universities on this list, it’s easy to discredit it as the underdog in a race of champions. However, in the 80 years it’s been active, Tilburg Law School has observed a rocketing growth spurt, reaching a reputation of international acclaim. Through a progressive, socially relevant education program, students hone their skills as budding legal professionals or academics. Tilburg law school aims to always be at the forefront of innovation and undoubtedly has procured itself a spot as one of the best law schools in the Netherlands.

5. Maastricht University

  • Law School Link
  • Degrees Offered: LL.B., LL.M., LL.M./MSc, PhD
  • Language: English and Dutch

With its unique Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method, Maastricht University’s law faculty has made international waves. Utilizing learning through peer-to-peer discourse and student presentation, law students looking for a practical learning experience need not look further. With both international and national moot court sessions, students may sharpen their legal wit with their peers to ensure a successful post-graduation experience. Its distinctive methodology and practices place it firmly in the top law schools in the Netherlands.


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