Our role in international diploma and professional recognition


Nuffic is the ENIC-NARIC for the Netherlands. ENIC-NARIC stands for European Network of National Information Centres - National Academic Recognition Information Centres. It is the main platform for the exchange of knowledge and expertise on international recognition of diplomas. The ENIC-NARIC network is an initiative of UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

As ENIC-NARIC we organise and participate in European projects to strengthen the practice of international recognition within and outside Europe. Find more information on our project page.

Since 2020, Jenneke Lokhoff has been president of the ENIC office on behalf of Nuffic. Therefore the Netherlands plays an important role in the European recognition network.

Assistance Centre for professional recognition

Nuffic also provides information on regulated professions. We are doing this as the designated assistance centre under the European Professional Recognition Directive 2013/55/EU.

Regulated professions are professions which require prior authorisation from a competent authority in order to exercise the profession. Examples of regulated professions are doctors, teachers or architects.

On our page about working in the Netherlands or another EU country you can find more information about regulated professions.

Our role within the national education and recognition structure

Together with the Information centre for Credential Evaluation (IDW) and the Foundation for Cooperation on Vocational Education, Training and Labour Market (SBB), Nuffic is responsible for international diploma evaluation in the Netherlands.

Our task is to advise on the level of foreign study programmes in general secondary education and higher education. For private individuals, we do this by order of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). At the request of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW), we also give diploma evaluations for the integration of newcomers.

In 2019, the ministry of Education, Culture and Science decided to assign a statutory task to Nuffic's activities in the field of educational comparison. This is based, among other things, on the roles we have:

  • Nuffic has been appointed as the Dutch ENIC-NARIC.
  • As ENIC we monitor and support the practical implementation of the Lisbon Recognition Convention in the Netherlands. This is an international legally binding treaty.

National legislation and regulations have not yet been adapted to this legal task.

Every year we evaluate tens of thousands of diplomas and study programmes for all our clients. In 2019, we issued advice on more than 30,000 applications.

How do we evaluate your diploma?

The Lisbon Recognition Convention and its subsidiary texts constitute the European legal framework for the international recognition of diplomas. The Convention has been developed into a practical guide: the European Area of Recognition Manual (EAR Manual). The convention and the manual form the basis of how we evaluate diploma's.

The priciple of the Lisbon Recognition Convention is that, in principle, a foreign diploma is fully recognised, unless there are substantial differences with the study programme in the Netherlands for which recognition is sought.

A substantial difference means that the difference between the foreign study programme and the study programme in the Netherlands is so significant that the applicant is highly unlikely to succeed in the desired subsequent activity, such as following a particular study programme or practising a particular profession.

Therefore, when evaluating diploma's, we always take into account the purpose of the application and whether this is appropriate in relation to the foreign study programme.

See our descriptions of national education systems for country-specific information on how we evaluate foreign qualifications.

What can you use a diploma evaluation for?

A diploma evaluation is an advice that you can use to gain access to a study programme in Dutch education. You can also use a diploma evaluation to show the level of your foreign education to an employer or other party such as a government agency.

In the Netherlands, diploma evaluations are not binding: educational institutions themselves decide whether they admit students. Permission may also be required from a competent authority to exercise protected professions or to use certain titles (you can read more about this on our page on professional recognition). In other words, you cannot derive any rights from your diploma evaluation.

On the website of IDW you will find more information on the procedures for evaluating diplomas and on the appeal procedure. It's not possible there to object to decisions on professional recognition or admission to a Dutch education institution.