5 Best Medical Schools in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a popular educational destination because of several things. For one, it has a high proficiency in the English language, with many of its schools offering courses in the world’s lingua franca. It’s also considered a safe European nation, which makes it the perfect reprieve for students all across the globe.

Of its many course offerings, its Medicine program continues to come out on top. With its expert faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, Netherlands’ medical schools help create the best doctors of tomorrow.

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How long are medical schools in the Netherlands?

It takes 6 years to become a physician in the Netherlands. Students first need to take a 3-year Bachelors in Medicine, which should be followed by a 3-year Masters in Medicine.

What are the requirements for applicants who wish to study in a Dutch medical school?

Applicants need to submit proof of secondary schooling. Since some universities are very particular with diploma equivalency, those who do not meet the screening may need to complete extra credits in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.

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Top Medical Schools in the Netherlands

1. University of Amsterdam – Faculty of Medicine

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is one of 2 publicly-funded educational institutions in the Netherlands. Based in the capital, it has been standing as the Athenaeum Illustre since 1632.

Housed under the top university in the country, the UvA Faculty of Medicine is considered one of the best medical schools in the Netherlands. Being highly selective, it only accepts 350 applicants at the Academic Medical Center annually. Both degrees (Bachelor and Master) are taught in Dutch.

The Bachelor in Medicine degree hones students in the fields of family, community, and geriatric medicine. The curriculum is stratified into 4 themes, with lessons taught through a variety of methods such as digital education and team-based learning.

The Master’s degree, on the other hand, is all about hands-on education. It comes with a 2-year internship in the Academic Medical Center and other hospitals. Students are required to finish a 16-week research elective as well.

Should you wish to broaden your studies, UvA offers an intensive MD/Ph.D. program as well.

2. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Faculty of Medicine

The next medical school in the Netherlands is Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, a private university funded by the Dutch government. Based in the capital, it is often included in the top 150 list of many ranking bodies. Its medical program is recognized as one of its stronger disciplines, placing 48th in the Shanghai Ranking and 61st in the Times Higher Education rankings.

As a preparatory course, its Bachelor of Medicine focuses on theory. The 14-hour a week curriculum involves lectures, practical exams, and study group meetings. While it is solely taught in Dutch, students have an option to take an English-taught international minor during the last year of schooling. Although the focus of this course is research, it opens possibilities for other specializations as well.

The Master’s degree, which is also taught in Dutch, centers on internships and fellowships. After this, students can serve the country as primary physicians. Training courses are also available for those who wish to become medical specialists, nursing home physicians, or doctors for the impaired.

3. University of Groningen

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen is one of the top 100 institutions in the world. Based in the northern part of the Netherlands, it is famous for being the second-oldest educational center in the country.

Unlike other medical schools in the Netherlands, the University of Groningen’s Bachelor of Medicine course is taught in both English and Dutch. Because of this duality, the university always has an influx of applicants. Since the acceptance quota is only 406 students a year, the university observes a strict selection procedure.

Successful applicants get to enjoy Groningen’s unique patient-centered program. During the first year, students are already introduced to real-life cases that are discussed in small groups. This follows a 2-week internship, which is done in a hospital or a nursing home. A 5-week study abroad option is also available.

Compared to the Bachelor’s degree, the Master’s in Medicine program is only taught in Dutch. Here, students become interns in various medical centers. Apart from comprehensive rotations, students also need to complete a research project within 20 weeks.

4. Leiden University

Leiden University is a public institution located in South Holland. Founded in 1575, it is deemed as one of the world’s top 100 universities.

As the oldest university in the Netherlands, Leiden’s medicine program is recognized as one of the best in the country. Competition is so strict that only 332 applicants are accepted yearly into the elite, Dutch-taught program.

To link education with clinical practice and research, the Bachelor of Medicine degree is taught at the Leiden University Medical Center. Lectures and small focus groups are usually conducted, with the evaluation of learning done through interim tests.

After completing the 3-year degree, students get to continue with Leiden’s Masters in Medicine program. This scientifically-oriented program has a stricter admission policy though, accepting only 300 students a year.

Leiden-educated physicians are usually assigned to a physician-mentor for 3 years. After intensive studies, the mentees get to complete their internship rotations in the Netherlands. They also have the option to be of service to less-privileged nations.

5. Maastricht University

Founded in 1976, Maastricht University is one of the Netherlands’ youngest medical schools. A haven for international students, almost 50% of its 18,000-strong population comes from hundreds of countries around the globe.

As one of the best young universities in the world, Maastricht offers many courses, including a bachelor’s and masters in Medicine. The former is taught in Dutch, as well as English (International Track in Medicine).

This hands-on Bachelor’s degree enables students to interact with patients early on in their schooling. With the help of the high-tech skills laboratories, they develop the practical skills that are vital for any doctor.

After completing the Bachelor’s program, students can proceed with the Master’s in Medicine program. This is, however, only taught in Dutch. While clinical rotations are often done in the country, foreign internships are encouraged as well. After earning this degree, students can proceed with hospital residency or specialist training.


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