Internationalisation Agenda

Internationalisation of higher education is important for students, scholars and society. It is the ambition of the Dutch research universities that internationalisation:
1.    contributes to our high quality of education and research;
2.    reinforces the international positioning of the Netherlands as a knowledge society, also with a view to global challenges;
3.    is a factor in addressing the needs and shortcomings of the Dutch labour market.

In order to realise these ambitions, the Association of Universities the Netherlands and the Netherlands Association of Universities of Appleid Sciences have formulated a joint internationalisation agenda. This agenda, that was presented to the minister of education on May 14th 2018, contains four priorities.

The first priority is inclusive internationalisation aimed at quality. Internationalisation should first and foremost strengthen the quality of education and the education community. In order to realise this, research universities invest in support and training for teachers, in an integral language policy and in projects that contribute to an inclusive commuity. In order to safeguard the quality and accessibility of education programmes, research universities ask for extra instruments that allow them to manage the inflow of international students.

Attracting and retaining international talent is the second priority. It is important for both Dutch higher education and the Dutch economy that we succeed in attracting and retaining the best international talents. Providing sufficient and suitable student accommodation is a vital precondition in this regard. To raise the ‘stay rate’ of international students, the Dutch research universities are committed to a follow-up of the ‘Make it in the Netherlands’-programme. 

Thirdly, research universities want to strengthen their international positioning. It is vital for Dutch higher education and the Dutch economy that the research universities are clearly visible on the international playing field. This requires for instance that knowledge institutes are a standard component of large economic missions and that we realise unified branding.


Finally, it is important to realise a better balance in mobility. While research universities have succesfully raised the level of outgoing credit mobility (and will continue to do so), the Dutch government needs to take action to increase the relatively low level of outgoing diploma mobility. Moreover, it is necessary to pay more attention to specific groups of students, such as first-generation students, for whom a period abroad is less self-evident.


On the 19th of November 2018 the VSNU and Erasmus University Rotterdam hosted a conference on Internationalisation. During the conference experts of various universities shared their experience and knowledge with regard to the themes discussed in the agenda. More information on the conference can be found here.