The cost of studying at a university in the Netherlands

This guide outlines the cost of fees, accommodation, lifestyle and financial assistance options if you are planning to study in the Netherlands

Student finance
Student life
Study abroad
January 11 2018


How much does it cost to study in the Netherlands? If you are interested in studying in the Netherlands, one of the most important things to consider is how much everything is going to cost. This essential guide breaks down the cost of every aspect of university life to ensure that you have everything covered. 

Note that prices and exchange rates are correct at the time of publication and may vary from those shown here. 

Tuition fees 

For students from the Netherlands, other European Union or European Economic Area countries, Switzerland or Suriname, the government typically covers the cost of studying at a Dutch university. There is, however, a statutory tuition fee (referred to as collegegeld), which is about €2,006 (£1,784) per year (2017/18 figures), set by the government.

Students from outside the EU or EEA countries can be charged double or sometimes triple the amount of their EU/EEA counterparts. This could be up to €6,000 (£5,337) a year but the amount depends on the institution, the degree, the residence permit type, previous study history and scholarship opportunities. There is also an application fee, which is €50-100 (£44-88) depending on the programme or course.

A bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands lasts four years so EU/EEA students should estimate to spend €8,024 (£7,138) on university tuition in total, while non-EU/EEA students should estimate to spend a maximum of €24,000 (£21,349).

Private schools (particuliere scholen) – which include business schools running bachelor and MBA programmes – are more expensive and can cost a student between €16,000-36,000 (£14,233) for the full programme of study. 

Accommodation costs

The cost of accommodation in the Netherlands is above the international average. There are several options when it comes to renting, but you can expect to pay €300-600 (£266-533) per month. Living alone in a rental apartment is an average of €419 (£372) per month, sharing with another person is €572 (£508) per month and a room in student accommodation is €340 (£302) per month.

Some 27 per cent of students live in university accommodation, but there is a high demand for this sort of arrangement, and popular student cities such as Leiden and Groningen suffer from shortages. If you were to stay in university accommodation for the full four-year programme (which is unlikely because of the squeeze on places), it would amount to €13,600 (£12,098) while rented accommodation would cost €16,670 (£14,829) for four years.

It is important to factor in average utility costs, which, if not included, amount to €165 (£146) per month.

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Other essential student costs

The average monthly internet subscription costs €23 or £20.46 (split between tenants) and the average phone bill is €15 (£13.34). Per month, students can expect to spend €30-65 (£27-58) on books and other academic materials.

Students in the Netherlands should budget to spend €35 (£31) a month on transport, with the average one-way ticket costing €2.90 (£2.58). Travelling by bike is a very popular way to get around so it may be worth renting or buying a bicycle during your period of study. There is also a student discount card for train tickets, which gets you 40 per cent off on off-peak journeys. A litre of petrol costs €1.53 (£1.36).

If you are just studying in the Netherlands (i.e. not employed) you can get private student insurance, which is an average €40 (£35.58) a month.Those who do choose to work will be obliged to pay Dutch Basic Insurance which is about €90-110 (£80-98) per month, however a large part of that is often returned with a tax rebate. You can find out more about the options available here.

The application fee for a student visa for anyone from outside EU/EEA countries is €317 (£282).  

Including rent, transport, food, utilities and entertainment, it costs an average €1,200-1,300 (£1,067-1,156) to get by in Amsterdam and Delft, €1,200 in Enschede, €1,100 in Eindhoven and €1,000 in Rotterdam.

That would mean that the average student living in Amsterdam, for example, should expect to spend €48,000 (£42,700) on living expenses across the full four-year programme.


The average weekly shop in the Netherlands costs €50 (£44) or €200 (£177) a month. But spending less is possible because there is a good selection of cheap supermarkets such as Lidl, Aldi and Albert Heijn. A meal in a restaurant costs €15 (£13.34) and the average cinema ticket costs €10.50 (£9.34).

In 2017, a Big Mac was €4.47 (£3.98) and a pint of beer in a bar was €4 (£3.56) with a glass of wine at €2.50-3.50. The average monthly gym membership costs €26 (£23) and entry to a club costs €10-15 (£8.90-13.34), depending on the night.

What financial support is available

The Dutch government offers a student finance programme (studiefinanciering) to help students pay for the cost of study and living. This can range from free public transport to grants for students from low-income families to student loans with low interest rates and reputable repayment options. These options are typically limited to Dutch students, however, non-Dutch students are sometimes eligible if they have EU citizenships or a type II, III or IV residence permit.

As for scholarships, you can find a full list of opportunities here.

Many bars, restaurants, museums and cinemas give student discounts, especially in student-dominated cities. Most will ask for proof of studentship from your institution but it is also worth investing in an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which guarantees a student discount all around the world. 

Read more in this series

The cost of studying at a university in the United States
The cost of studying at a university in the UK
The cost of studying at a university in Germany
The cost of studying at a university in Canada
The cost of studying at a university in France
The cost of studying at a university in Australia
The cost of studying at a university in New Zealand
The cost of studying at a university in China


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