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Dutch vs. German Universities: A Side-by-Side Comparison

January 26, 2023

When it comes to choosing a university, one of the first questions you might be asking yourself is which country you prefer to study in. In this blog, we’ll give a quick rundown of the differences between two popular and bordering destinations; The Netherlands and Germany.  

Both countries have strong education systems and offer a variety of universities to choose from. However, there are some key differences between Dutch and German universities that may influence your decision.

Tuition: in Germany, public universities are generally free for both domestic and international students. However, in the Netherlands, tuition fees for international students can range from around €1,600 to €20,000 per year, depending on the program and university. Despite scholarships being available, the financial situation of the student (and his/her family) can have a strong impact on the eventual destination. Do bear in mind that tuition fees are (usually) only a small part of the total cost of studying (e.g. living costs, books, groceries, etc.), and that the city/accommodation you live in can have a much more significant financial impact.

Language: in Germany, most degree programs are taught in German, so it's important to have a good level of proficiency in the language. In the Netherlands, many degree programs are taught in English, making it a good option for international students. However, in The Netherlands there has been an ongoing housing crisis, making it much more difficult for (international) students to find accommodation. In fact, matters have gotten so severe that some universities have refused to admit students who were not able to prove they were successfully able to find accommodation. 

Duration: another difference to consider is the length of degree programs. In Germany, most bachelor's degree programs last for three years, while in the Netherlands, they typically last for four years. Master's degree programs in both countries usually last for one to two years.

When considering where to study, there will obviously be many more important elements to take into account (e.g. universities that offer the program, entry requirements, VISA, application deadlines, etc.). The list above will hopefully give a first impression and help with searching. 


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