The Netherlands appeals to international talent

The Dutch knowledge economy, and the universities in particular, are heavily dependent on international talent. The appeal and the international prominence of the Netherlands and Dutch universities are crucial for collaboration and recruitment abroad. Our international positioning is also important for the knowledge networks that Dutch universities participate in, and therefore for the quality and reputation of Dutch scientific research and education as well.

This is why the universities are aiming for:

  • Close collaboration with knowledge institutes, the government and the business sector on their foreign policy;
  • Clear branding for the Netherlands and Dutch universities, so academic talent, talented students and knowledge workers can find their way to the Netherlands;
  • Retention of international talent in the Netherlands, such as by increasing the stay rate of international students.


International students contribute to an ambitious study environment. Students come to the Netherlands to study from all over the world. China and our direct neighbours are by far the largest suppliers. Universities strive to draw students from a wider variety of countries of origin to strengthen the diversity of degree programmes. International students now make up about 25% of all new university students in the Netherlands, which universities think is a good ratio.



Attracting international students is also important for sectors with a labour market shortage. The Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) recently estimated employment growth of 520,000 jobs over six years in the Netherlands. The ICT sector and the care sector in particular will need more people. Targeting specific European talent will help solve this shortage. On average, about 25% of all international graduates between 2006 and 2013 remained in the Netherlands after five years. The stay rate of graduates in disciplines with labour market shortages is relatively high. For example, graduates in educational, technical or natural science courses were more likely to stay compared to others. (see source). The graph below shows where in the Netherlands international students live. The large share of international students and exchange students in the border regions of our country is noteworthy.



Dutch universities are also attractive for international academics. The Netherlands has some of the world's best research teams, such as in quantum computing, agricultural science and ethics. International mobility for scientists is necessary to put together such excellent research teams. This is why it is good to see that the Netherlands scores well on the OESO indicator of talent attractiveness and the Global competitiveness index.

Last updated on 27-9-2022