The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, higher education is provided by universities of applied sciences, research universities, and “recognised private institutions” (private institutions recognised by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, and organisations teaching accredited programmes). Some programmes and/or training courses are taught by non-recognised private institutions or organisations; such programmes and courses are not accredited by NVAO.

  • Research universities provide academic higher education and conduct scientific research. The Netherlands features 13 research universities and an Open University offering high-quality education and research. Three of these universities are of a technical nature; the other nine are broad-based. There are eight university medical centres. In addition, there are four publicly funded universities set up on a religious or ideological basis; cf. the information provided by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU);
  • Universities of Applied Sciences provide professional higher education. In principle, professional higher education programmes prepare students for a profession. Two out of every three higher education students are enrolled in professional programmes. The Netherlands has 37 publicly funded universities of applied sciences; cf. the information provided by the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH). In addition, there are private universities of applied sciences (for more information, contact the Platform of recognised private training institutions).

The Dutch higher education system comprises bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programmes. The Netherlands thus ties in with European developments. In addition, graduates of professional bachelor’s programmes, academic bachelor’s programmes or academic master’s programmes may enrol in a post-graduate master’s programme once they have acquired several years of work experience. 

evaluation of degrees

NVAO is not involved in the recognition and evaluation of Dutch, Flemish, and international degrees. More information on the relevant organisations is provided below.


All the statutorily recognised higher education programmes and institutions in the Netherlands are registered on the Central Register of Higher Education Programmes (CROHO). The Register is maintained by DUO, the governmental implementation agency for the education sector, acting on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

complaints about higher education

Students who have a complaint regarding their institution or programme have several options for communicating such a complaint.