Living cost and tuition fees in the Netherlands for international students

There are many reasons why there are more and more international students attracted to study in the Netherlands. Beside the Dutch culture and lifestyle, this small country also happens to host several of the top 200 universities in the world. Add to that the fact that tuition and living costs remain affordable compared to what apply in other western countries, the Netherlands is set to become one of the world’s top study destinations. Here’s our overview of the study and living cost for international students in the Netherlands. 

Study in Netherlands | Living cost & Tuition fees

How much does it cost to study in Netherlands university?

All international students in the Netherlands have to pay tuition fees, regardless of their nationality. The charged amount varies depending on the country, since candidates coming from EU/EEA, Switzerland and Surinam pay lower tuition costs. As a rule of thumb, the distinction is made between: 

  • Statutory tuition fee: which applies to EU/EEA, Switzerland and Surinam international students. It also applies to graduates who have already studied in the Netherlands or are holders of certain types of residence permit. This is if you have a family member residing in the Netherlands, or from a country member of the EU/EEA, or have a long-term resident-EC resident permit or asylum permit. 

Learn about student visa and residence permit in the Netherlands.

  • Institutional tuition fee: is higher than statutory fee. This applies to non-EU/EEA international students and to those who don’t meet the statutory fee requirements. 

Tuition fees in Netherlands for international students 

Average tuition fees in the Netherlands for EU/EEA students cost between €1,040 and €2,083 per year whether it is for a bachelor’s or a master’s degree at a public university. Non-EU/EEA students on the other hand will pay between €6,000 and €15,000 per year for a bachelor’s. A master’s program on the other hand will cost them between €8,000 and 20,000 per year at a public Dutch university. 

Fees are much higher at private universities, where the cost can get as high as €20,000 per year for a bachelor’s and more than €50,000 per year for a master. Medicine, business management and communication are the most expensive courses. 

Most affordable Dutch universities: public universities in Netherlands for international students 

A way to get the most of the Dutch quality education without breaking the bank is to apply to one of the cheapest universities in the Netherlands. Here are some of them, with the average tuition costs they charge their students: 

  • University of Twente: €2,083 per year
  • HAN University of Applied sciences: €2,083 per year
  • Utrecht University: €2,143 per year
  • Radboud University: €2,143 per year

Check also our list of the best universities in the Netherlands.

Living cost per month in the Netherlands for students

The cost of living is certainly the main expense you have to handle when you study abroad, and the Netherlands is no exception. These costs however remain less high than those that you’d spend in the United Kingdom or the USA. Of course, cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam are more expensive than others. 

To give you an idea, you’ll need between €650 and €1,200 per month to live and study in the Netherlands. Here is an estimation of the total expenses in some Dutch student cities: 

  • Amsterdam: €1,000 to €1,500 per month
  • Delft: €800 to €1,200 per month
  • Groningen: €700 to €1,000 per month
  • Leiden: €700 to €1,200 per month
  • Nijmegen: €650 to €850 per month
  • Rotterdam: €800 to €1,200 per month.

Other costs of living in Netherlands for international students

Like in any other western country, students can benefit from discounts on food, transport, and leisure activities. To well manage your student budget in the Netherlands, you need to divide your funds in three parts: accommodation and rent; food and sustenance; and study material and leisure.

Student accommodation cost in Netherlands 

In the Netherlands, when it comes to housing, you have the choice between renting a room, get an on-campus accommodation, rent an apartment or flat share. The most affordable option is the on-campus student house, that will cost you between €350 and €600 per month.

The average rent for a room in the Netherlands is between €300 and €600 per month, depending on the city and the size of the place you decide to settle in. Moreover, if you have the opportunity to share an apartment with someone else, this will cost between €400 and €700. The maximum cost you would pay for student accommodation in the Netherlands would be €1,000 per month. 

Along with the accommodation cost, you need to set aside a monthly amount of around €200 to cover your utility costs. Internet subscription can cost between €30 and €50 per month. 

Get more details in our guide on student accommodation in the Netherlands.

Food costs

International students in the Netherlands should expect to spend between €150 and €180 for food and groceries. You should expect to pay a higher cost in bigger cities such as Rotterdam, Leiden or Amsterdam. In smaller cities like Groningen or Eindhoven, shopping for groceries will be more affordable. You can go to cheap supermarkets such as Lidl, Aldi or 

Albert Heijn. Cooking your own food is always advisable but if you want to eat out once in a while, meals in affordable restaurants cost around €10 to €20.

Transportation costs

International students in the Netherlands should expect to pay around €35 to €70 per for a monthly public transportation pass. A one-way ticket costs €3, and you can benefit from a discount card for train tickets, that will waive 40% off on off-peak fares. However, since we’re talking about the Netherlands, the best transportation option is of course to get a bike! And it will prove to be a great investment in the long run, even if you buy a second-hand one. You’ll save money while getting fit at the same time!

Student insurance cost in the Netherlands

Students in the Netherlands, who don’t work, can get a private health insurance. This costs on average €40 per month. Those who choose to work and study in the Netherlands will have to pay the Dutch Basic Insurance. This costs between €90 and €110 per month. However, a large part of this is often returned thanks to a tax rebate. 

Learn more in our article on student insurance and health care in the Netherlands. 

Additional study and living cost in the Netherlands

Apart from the leisure and social activities that cost around €50 – €60 EUR per month, students also need to pay for books and study materials. These will cost around €30 to €65  per month. Moreover, using your student card, you can easily get discounts in restaurants, museums, cinemas, etc.

Read also our other resources:

How to apply to a university in the Netherlands?

Why should you study in the Netherlands as an international student.

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