Press releases and news


Sharp increase in number of pre-university (VWO) students at universities



The total intake of new first-year students for university Bachelor’s degrees is 45,377; this represents a 7% increase compared to 2012. The growth comes, in particular, from an increase in the intake of pre-university students. These pre-university students are increasingly choosing to go and study at university after passing their pre-university secondary diploma, instead of taking a gap year to work or travel. The figure is 11% up on 2012.


One likely explanation for this sharp increase is the proposed introduction of the social loan system. The introduction of this Bill has now been postponed, but would have meant that students enrolling a year later would no longer receive a basic grant.
Increases in the Agriculture, Natural Sciences and Technology sectors
The increase in the intake of new students is greatest on programmes in the Agriculture (+22%), Natural Sciences (+13%) and Technology (12%) sectors. The number of registrations is up in all sectors, apart from Law (-2%). The national fixed rate that applies for this academic year appears to be the cause. What stands out is that after years of falls in student numbers, the Linguistic & Cultural Studies sector is once again on the up (+12%).


Most popular studies
The programmes within the sectors of Behavioural & Social Sciences and Economics still have the most pulling power. Most students study within these sectors. This year the most popular Bachelor's degree courses expressed in terms of new first year intake are Psychology, Law, Medicine, Business Economics and Business Studies.


Overall picture of enrolment
The total number of students enrolled at universities for this academic year is 248,247. This is a 3.5% increase compared to 2012.

Increase in student mobility
Increasingly, students are choosing to follow a Master's degree at a different university from the one where they completed their Bachelor's degree. 4,510 students have done so, which is 12% of the total number of Master's students.

Increase in the number of foreign students
The number of students from abroad that are beginning a programme at a Dutch university for the first time has risen by 5% to 11,756 students. This figure relates to students enrolling for a full programme. Germany still provides the most students, followed by China, Greece and Great Britain. Italy rounds off the top 5, relegating the Belgians to sixth place and out of the top 5.
Fewer degrees awarded, but at the anticipated level
In the previous academic year fewer Bachelor’s and Master's degrees were awarded. 33,812 students received a Bachelor's degree and 35,864 students received a Master's. That is a fall of 8% and 11% respectively compared with the previous academic year. These numbers are no cause for concern. Degree numbers were exceptionally high in the previous academic year, under the threat of the long study fine. Students at the time did their very best to complete their programme. Now that the long study fine has been taken off the table, we can see that the number of degrees awarded is back at the anticipated level, and has actually risen compared to 2010.

In the attached factsheet (in Dutch) you will find a visual overview of all definitive student numbers in different categories.  


Note to editor
For more information please contact:
Bastiaan Verweij 06 43 26 97 55 | spokesperson



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Ruben Puylaert


+316 13 86 10 69

Gijs Kooistra

Deputy spokesperson

+316 82 05 72 66