Brexit will potentially have major consequences for the Dutch universities. The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the most important partners when it comes to collaboration in the education and research fields. In view of these ties, the VSNU jointly drew up an incendiary letter with its British counterpart Universities UK, calling on the authorities concerned to continue to facilitate the close collaboration in research and education post-Brexit. This includes participation in Horizon Europe, student mobility (including Erasmus+) and the immigration regime for researchers.


In the event of a Brexit without a withdrawal agreement, the consequences will differ from those of a Brexit with a withdrawal agreement. The Dutch universities are currently preparing for both scenarios. The information provided below is based on information from the Dutch central government. For the latest information on Brexit, please visit the Brexit page on the Government of the Netherlands' website. 

Consequences of Brexit in the event of a 'deal scenario' (with a withdrawal agreement)

A withdrawal agreement between the UK and European Union (EU), in line with the current draft agreement, implies that an EU-wide transitional period will initially enter into force. The transitional period will in any event apply until 31 December 2020, but it may be extended by two years. Within this period, British citizens in the EU retain the same rights as other EU citizens. They may take up residence in the EU during this period, without any consequences for their rights. This also means, for example, that the UK will in any event continue to participate in EU programmes, including Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 until the expiry of the EU transitional period.

Meanwhile, during the transitional period, the EU and the UK will conduct negotiations on the new relationship. The existing or new rights of British citizens will also be provided for in the agreement on this new relationship, including access to education. 

Consequences of Brexit in the event of a 'no-deal scenario' (without a withdrawal agreement)

A Brexit without a withdrawal agreement means that a national transitional period of 15 months will apply. The national transitional period is solely for implementation purposes. All systems will be prepared during this period.

  • British citizens who already resided in the Netherlands before the withdrawal of the UK from the EU will also be treated as EU citizens during this period. They will be given the right of residence under a 'Brexit permit'. For British students in this group, this means that the statutory tuition fees will continue to apply and that they will retain their right to student grants and loans if they also meet the other conditions for EU citizens. 
  • British citizens who arrive in the Netherlands post-Brexit do not fall under the national transitional period and will be treated as non-EU citizens. For British students who arrive in the Netherlands post-Brexit, this will therefore additionally have consequences for their right to statutory tuition fees and student grants and loans. 

Furthermore, a no-deal Brexit has consequences for Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. For Horizon 2020, this means that British researchers working in research partnerships will, in principle, no longer be eligible for financing. For the Erasmus+ programme, the EU has agreed that British students and staff members who are already in the Netherlands on an Erasmus scholarship, can complete their study period while retaining their scholarship. Exchange students who begin when Brexit enters into force are ineligible for an Erasmus scholarship.