Leiden University Scholarships for International Students

Leiden University, founded in 1575, is the first university in the Netherlands and one of the leading international research institutions in Europe. They are amongst the top 100 universities in the world and home to 16 Nobel Prize and 23 Spinoza Prize winners, which is the highest distinction in Dutch science.

The university has two campuses, Leiden and The Hague, with a student population totaling over 30,000. They offer over a hundred undergraduate to graduate degree programs, some of which are taught in English to cater to their international students. Also, Leiden University has generous scholarships programs for these international students, which we will discuss in this article.

In its almost 500 years of service to society, Leiden University continues to stand firm with its motto, ‘Bastion of Freedom’ as well as its other pursuits towards inclusion, sustainability, and internationalization.

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Leiden University Scholarships

Undergraduate Scholarships at Leiden University

1. Holland Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: EUR 5,000
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • International students of all nationalities, except EU/EEA, Swiss, and Surinamese passport holders
    • Has never studied in a Dutch university
    • Completed their secondary education outside the Netherlands
  • Scholarship Link

The Holland Scholarship is a one-time award granted to academically performing students who aspire to undertake an English-taught program at Leiden University. Applications for this scholarship available for Leiden University are submitted alongside the student’s application for their chosen program, which must also include a letter of motivation. A selection committee makes their final decision on the basis of the submitted documents, academic achievements, and other extra-curricular activities. The Holland Scholarship amounts to EUR 5,000, which is given on the student’s first year of studies.

2. Mandela Scholarship Fund

  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition and an additional living allowance of EUR 1,000
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Permanent resident of South Africa
    • Enrolled in a South African university
  • Scholarship Link

The Mandela Scholarship Fund was founded in 1999 when late former African President Nelson Mandela received an Honorary Doctorate from Leiden University. This Leiden University scholarship was established for South African students to broaden their knowledge so they can contribute more to the development of their home country.

To apply, students must submit their application for an exchange study program at the university as well as other documentation. The selection committee will then make their decision based on the applicant’s academic standing, the purpose of the application, and motivation for contributing to the development of South Africa. Accepted scholars will study at the university for one semester, tuition fee fully covered. They will also receive an additional living allowance of EUR 1,000. The scholarship is also open to Master’s students.

3. Leiden University South Africa Scholarship – University of Cape Town

  • Scholarship Amount: A living allowance of EUR 1,000
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Enrolled at the University of Cape Town
    • Preselected for a scholarship by the University of Cape Town
  • Scholarship Link

The Leiden University South Africa scholarship allows students from the University of Cape Town to join a short-term exchange program at Leiden University. Each year, one scholarship is available for a two-semester exchange program, or two scholarships for a one-semester program each. A living allowance amounting to EUR 1,000 is provided each month. Applications are sent to the University of Cape Town, which will select one or two candidates whose applications will be forwarded for final review at Leiden University. The scholarship is also open to Master’s students.

These are just some of the scholarships available for international undergraduate students at Leiden University. Check out their Scholarships page for further information on the other opportunities.

Postgraduate Scholarships at Leiden University

1. LION scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount:
    • LION 1: EUR 12,000
    • LION 2: EUR 7,500
  • Eligibility Criteria: Non-Dutch students
  • Degree Offered: Master’s
  • Scholarship Link

Organized by the Den Adel Fund and Gorter Fund, the LION scholarship supports non-Dutch students with their financial needs to pursue their Master’s degree in Leiden University. This scholarship at Leiden University covers two years of studies, and grantees will receive an amount to cover their daily costs of living. The decision of recipients will be based on academic achievements and the applicant’s need for financial support.

2. CEU-Praesidium Libertatis Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: Tuition fee waiver and an additional monthly stipend of EUR 970
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Registered student at CEU at the time of application
    • Obtained their undergraduate degree at CEU
  • Degree Offered: Master’s
  • Scholarship Link

The CEU Scholarship was formed to encourage recent graduates from the Central European University to continue their Master’s in fields relating to social change and law. Annually, two scholarships are made available to aspiring candidates who will be able to take a one-year program at Leiden University. The amount for this Leiden University scholarship includes a tuition fee waiver, a monthly stipend of EUR 970, and reimbursements for health insurance costs and residence permit fees. Interested applicants may submit an online application to Leiden University and pay a EUR 100 application fee.

3. CSC-Leiden University Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount:
    • Waiver of fees
    • Living allowance of EUR 1,350
    • A one-time contribution of EUR 500 for health insurance
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Citizen of the People’s Republic of China
    • Between 18 to 35 years old
    • Accepted into admission for a Ph.D. program at Leiden University
  • Degree Offered: Ph.D.
  • Scholarship Link

The China Scholarship Council (CSC) aims at providing full-time scholarships to excellent Chinese students who wish to complete their Ph.D. degrees at Leiden University. Before applying for the scholarship, the student must have already been accepted admission into the university and must have found a Supervisor who will forward an acceptance letter to CSC. The council will review all nominated candidates and make the final decision of recipients. The CSC-Leiden University Scholarship amount includes fee waivers, a living allowance of EUR 1,350, plane tickets from China to the Netherlands and vice versa, and other relevant training and memberships.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.