Educational institutions and study programmes
Dutch educational institutions and study programmes
Below, we explain what types of educational institutions and study programmes there are in the Netherlands. We also explain how you can check whether these are recognised and/or accredited. You can check the and/or to make sure that the quality is sufficient. We give the necessary information per educational sector.
The government of a country grants an official status to an educational institution and/or study programme. Usually, if the government recognises an educational institution, all its study programmes are also recognised. However recognition may also be arranged at the programme level. This means that the government must recognise not only the educational institution, but also its study programmes. We only evaluate diplomas from recognised institutions and recognised study programmes. Read more about recognition in the EAR manual.
An organisation checks and assesses the quality of education. Usually the accreditation is valid for a certain period. In some countries, accreditation is compulsory, in others it is voluntary. The government of a country often appoints one or more organisations responsible for accrediting institutions and/or study programmes. In addition, there are also private accreditation organisations. We only mention and (in the case of diploma evaluations) consult accreditation organisations appointed by the government of that country. Read more about accreditation in the EAR manual.
Secondary education | schools
There are various types of schools offering secondary education (middelbare scholen). On the central government's website you can find an explanation of the various types of schools for secondary education.
Secondary education | diplomas
Secondary education is divided into 3 types, each with its own diploma:
- pre-vocational secondary education (voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs, VMBO), concluded with national exams for a VMBO diploma;
- senior general secondary education (hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs, HAVO), concluded with national exams for a HAVO diploma;
- pre-university education (voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs, VWO), concluded with national exams for a VWO diploma.
Secondary vocational education | schools
There are different types of schools offering secondary vocational education (middelbaar beroepsonderwijs, MBO):
- ROCs; and
- beroepscolleges .
On the website KiesMBO, you can find an explanation of these types of schools (in Dutch).
Secondary vocational education | study programmes
Higher education | educational institutions
There are different types of Dutch higher education institutions:
- universities (universiteiten) for research-oriented higher education (wetenschappelijk onderwijs, WO);
- universities of applied sciences (hogescholen) for higher professional education (hoger beroepsonderwijs, HBO).
Most research universities (universiteiten) offer academic study programmes in various areas of specialisation. There are also specialised universities: 1 research university specialises in agriculture and the environment, while 3 universities offer largely technological programmes.
Some study programmes are offered by University Colleges or Institutes for International Education (IE Institutes):
- University Colleges are generally part of a research university and also provide WO. They offer English-language education and are mainly focused on bachelor's degree programmes. On the Study in NL website, you can find more information about University Colleges.
- The Netherlands has various IE Institutes. Most of these IE Institutes are part of a Dutch research university. They offer a broad range of study programmes in specific fields of study, and generally lead to a master's degree or PhD. On the Study in NL website, you can find more information about IE Institutes.
Universities of applied sciences
Universities of applied sciences (hogescholen) provide higher professional education (HBO). Some universities of applied sciences specialise in a particular domain, such as arts, agriculture or teacher training.
Checking the recognition of higher education institutions
On the website of the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), you can find a database of all recognised higher education institutions (in the Netherlands and Flanders).
The NVAO monitors quality assurance at higher education institutions. On the NVAO website, you can find more information about how they work (procedures). The NVAO acts in accordance with the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act (WHW) and internationally accepted accreditation practices. The NVAO is a member of both the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA).
Dutch higher education institutions can be financed differently. They can be either , or .
Government-funded (bekostigde) institutions are funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). They are entitled to issue legally recognised degrees. These institutions offer study programmes for the statutory tuition fee. You can find overviews of funded institutions on the:
Approved (aangewezen) institutions do not receive funding from the Dutch government but may also issue legally recognised bachelor's and master's degrees. These institutions are free to determine the amount of their tuition fees. At the moment there are 3 approved institutions:
- Nyenrode Business Universiteit;
- Transnationale Universiteit Limburg;
- Tias Business School.
Private (particuliere) institutions are not regulated by the Dutch government. Private institutions, such as international universities, are not bound by Dutch government regulations. However, these institutions may apply for accreditation for their study programmes by the NVAO, subject to specific conditions.
Higher education | study programmes
In higher education, study can choose between profession-oriented study programmes (HBO) or research-oriented study programmes (WO). You can find an explanation of HBO and WO and the corresponding diplomas on our webpage about Dutch higher education.
Checking the accreditation of study programmes in higher education
In Dutch higher education, study programmes are accredited by the NVAO. You can check if a study programme is accredition via 2 databases:
- If a study programme is not featured in RIO or the NVAO database, its quality is not ensured by NVAO. However, the study programme may be accredited by a foreign accreditation organisation.
- Higher education institutions are not obliged to have their study programmes accredited. However, only accredited programmes can entitle students to student finance (studiefinanciering) and only accredited programmes lead to a recognised degree.
Higher education | Code of Conduct for international students
As of 2006, the Netherlands has also had another instrument at its disposal in order to ensure the quality of Dutch higher education internationalisation: the Code of Conduct for International Students (Gedragscode Internationale Student).
Any institution that signs this code must abide by the good practices for international students described therein. This applies to:
- recruitment and admission;
- information services;
- the range of available programmes.