How to Study in Netherlands for Free (10 Steps)

The Netherlands is one of the friendliest countries for foreigners, chiefly for international students. The Dutch residents were very welcoming and hospitable to foreign students. Not only the people but also the universities and their programs are friendly to non-European students aspiring to strive for high-quality education.

Relatively to other countries, learning in the Netherlands lifestyle-wise is easier because it is less expensive and offers several benefits for the students. That is why attempting to study for free in the Netherlands is easy if you have the right resources and research for it.

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Study in the Netherlands for Free

1. You need to have a good application

Everyone gives their favor to anyone who has a good personality and academic background. The same logic applies to universities who seek for international students to attend their institution.

To be the one who they seek for, you must have an excellent application with all your educational, artistic, and athletic achievements included in it. Any country would first notice applications that have outstanding stats such as stellar GPA and test scores. These are usually reviewed immediately and the possibility of acceptance is higher than mediocre applications.

You should have given your greatest effort in your previous studies before creating your application for studying abroad. This is critical, but often overlooked, step in studying in the Netherlands for free. Outstanding credentials can get you anywhere if you played them right. Good grades, high test scores, and good behavior and personality will be your wild cards and weapons that will get you accepted in the Netherlands, so hone them well before using them out.

2. Submit your applications early

Nothing can make any strict superior proud and amused unless they are people who finish their work early and do their job almost perfectly in the workplace. Even in sending applications, you get the chance to impress them with your early inquiry or submission. Use this as an advantage to get close to the personnel and staff in the Netherlands.

Aside from the good impression that you will instill in the minds of the admission team in the Netherlands, your application will be prioritized among other applicants. You probably get to be interviewed first and the chances of getting accepted into the university will be high.

3. Apply to several universities in the Netherlands

As you prepare your application material, now is the time to choose the university you want to enroll. Research about universities in the Netherlands and try to send applications to several universities. You can use e-mail or fax to send a copy of your portfolio for faster communications and make sure to reply to them when necessary. If they accept online applications, then apply online!

If you are unsure about the whole application process, we’ve prepared a guide on How to Apply to Universities in the Netherlands. Check out the guide!

4. Get Scholarships from the Dutch Universities

Pursuing education abroad can be financially taxing that’s why many universities offer assistance and scholarships to international students. Having these also advertises their university to other students from any country to come to the Netherlands and enroll at their colleges. A few colleges provide financial assistance and discounted tuition fees to their students. Getting scholarships from the universities is the best way to study for free in the Netherlands.

Some of these universities that offer several financial assistance and scholarships are Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam. They are public and research universities that offer scholarship programs especially for international students.

5. Get government scholarships

If you could not find any university scholarships or you did not get accepted into any, look for scholarships offered by your government. Particularly if your country has connections with the Netherlands, inquire about scholarship programs in the Netherlands on any government agency on external or international affairs.

However, competition for scholarship slots is tighter compared to university scholarships because there are usually limited slots for this kind of program. Though if you got fortunate enough, financial assistance and monthly stipends will be higher than the offers of university scholarships.

6. Get private scholarships from organizations and companies

Additional scholarships are not prohibited if your benefactor is a private organization, business, or company. It is only difficult to find this kind of scholarship because they are not widely advertised. Usually, the private sectors assist other people because they want to decrease their government taxes.

Nonetheless, they still help people ease their problems by providing financial assistance. Commonly, students who have private scholarships receive a monthly allowance from their sponsors. The money they will receive will then be used to pay for their school fees in installments.

7. Enroll in affordable universities in the Netherlands

Choosing a university where you will be spending four or more whole years seems easy but there are several factors to consider before enrolling, especially if you are limited on funds. You should not enroll at a university that is expensive if you want to study in the Netherlands for free unless you have a scholarship that covers the tuition fee or more.

One thing that you should consider is attending affordable universities in the Netherlands. There are some great quality universities that is also affordable. If you are interested, check out the Affordable Universities in the Netherlands for International Students.

8. Apply for a job while studying if allowed

Many international students in Netherland have part-time jobs along with their studies to pay for their daily expenses. Non-European students are permitted to work for 16 hours per week as long as he or she owns a work permit during academic terms. However, they are permitted to work full time during summer breaks in June, July, and August.

Work permits can be availed at the Netherlands’ government with a small fee. To cover other bills or to save money, working is the most effective way of studying in Netherlands for free if you can manage your time.

9. Be mindful of your living expenses

Having all those scholarships and jobs to pay for your school fees and save up money will not matter if you have an extravagant lifestyle. Living in any country abroad risks your financial security especially if you are living alone because you will have no one to rely on. So lower your living expenses by changing your lifestyle. Instead of eating out, cook your meals. Walk if your destination is not that far. Share your apartment with a classmate or a friend to decrease your housing bill. And, efficiently use your utilities to save energy.

10. Use One or More of the Steps Above!

If you implement one or more of the steps above, you can study in the Netherlands for free. So, make sure that you read the article carefully, and see what you can do to make your dream come true!


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