Quality assurance system of the Netherlands

The Netherlands introduced its accreditation system in 2002. The higher education programmes in existence at that time were “statutorily accredited”; they were reviewed by NVAO in phases up to and including 2010 to undergo an initial external assessment.

In January 2011, the second accreditation system of the Netherlands came into force. Under this system, the “institutional audit” was introduced. All the research universities and most of the universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands have passed their institutional audit by now. The second phase of the system terminated in 2016. 

In 2017 and 2018, the programmes were reviewed on the basis of an updated Assessment Framework for the Higher Education Accreditation System of the Netherlands 2016 (Framework 2016). This framework is based more on “trust” and the individual responsibility of the institutions. 

Since 1 February 2018, Following the adoption of the Dutch Customised Accreditation Act, the institutions and programmes are reviewed on the basis of the Assessment Framework for the Higher Education Accreditation System of the Netherlands 2018 (Framework 2018), which has incorporated the reforms set down in this Act. One of its principles is a binary, undifferentiated conclusion (positive, possibly conditionally positive, and negative), while existing programmes are accredited for an indefinite period of time. On the basis of an external assessment report submitted by the institutions, NVAO will determine whether or not institutions will retain their accreditation.