The Netherlands Study Abroad Country Profile

The Netherlands Overview

Netherlands Study abroad programs will give students the opportunity to experience all that this unique country has to offer. The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in Europe today, with nearly 50% of the population considering themselves non-religious. With regard to science and technology, the Netherlands boasts a long list of distinguished minds, including 18 Nobel Prize winners. One of the Netherlands’ most recognizable cities is without a doubt Amsterdam, the financial and cultural capital of the country. With its famous canals, fantastic museums, fashion-forward designers and the infamous Red Light District, Amsterdam has come to typify the Netherlands, although it is just one facet of this remarkable country.

Cultural Highlights

Despite stereotypes about tulips, windmills, and wooden shoes, the Netherlands is much more than that! Dutch culture is a unique blend of liberal thinking combined with national traditions. The Netherlands is a highly tolerant country, with outstanding social programs and where empowerment of the average person is championed. A progressive tax system means that huge disparities in wealth among the populace are more or less non-existent, and there is virtually no violent crime, especially in comparison to other European countries and the United States (traffic violations are the most common “crime” in the Netherlands).

There are a large number of museums in the Netherlands, from the Anne Frank House, commemorating the life of the Jewish diarist, to numerous art museums (famous Dutch painters include Van Gogh and Rembrandt), history museums, and everything in between. As you might expect, soccer is very popular in the Netherlands, and the Dutch enjoy an active daily lifestyle that you might find elsewhere in Europe – cycling is a popular method of getting around.

Popular Fields of Study

Because of its more liberal stance on soft drugs and prostitution, the Netherlands is a popular destination for students with interests in areas like gender and women’s studies. Programs on perspectives of sexuality and gender are popular, but the Netherlands offers a lot more. English language courses are offered in many areas of the humanities, social sciences, law, and economics. Cultural anthropology, human geography, and European Studies are all viable areas of study in the Netherlands, and because the Netherlands are considered a transportation hub in Europe, it is easy for Netherlands study abroad students to travel to other countries to enhance their studies with first-hand experiences.

Why Study Abroad in The Netherlands?

The Netherlands has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in The Netherlands.

1. Safety

Very low crime rates make the Netherlands a great destination for students. There is very little in the way of violent crime, and traffic violations are the most common type of “crime” committed.

2. Gateway to Europe

The Netherlands is a centrally located starting point for the rest of your European travels. Most other countries are just an hour’s flight away, and at least six or seven are within driving distance.

3. Amsterdam

There are so many positive things to say about Amsterdam, it would be difficult to list them here! The capital is packed with museums, galleries, shopping, great architecture, and more.

4. Friendly People

The Dutch are often stereotyped as being friendly and outgoing, even with foreign visitors, and in this case, the stereotype couldn’t be truer! You will meet friendly people, many of whom are more than willing to converse with you in English.

5. Tolerance

Tolerance means more than just being friendly. The Netherlands is a great choice for LGBT students because of its accepting environment.

6. Public Transportation

Though bikes are everywhere, the Netherlands also has a great public transportation system for those times that the weather is bad or riding a bike is an inconvenience.

7. The Hague

The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands, but it is also the de facto judicial center for the United Nations and is home to over 150 international organizations, including the International Criminal Court.

8. Language

Though you are encouraged to learn Dutch during your time abroad, don’t worry if you aren’t quick to pick it up – an overwhelming 89% of Dutch people speak English.

9. Cultural Points of Interest

The Netherlands is just overloaded with cool things to do – museums, man-made waterways perfect for boat rides, and unique events like the Drag Queen Olympics give you plenty of reasons to never be bored.

10. Gouda

The city of Gouda (yes, just like the cheese), is a quirky Dutch diversion where visitors can follow the “cheese map” around this cheese-making city.

The Netherlands Study Abroad Statistics

The Netherlands Country Ranking: 23

(based on estimated total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 0.8%
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 2,718
  • Total US Students 2007/08: 2,629
  • Yearly 2007/08 Trend: -4.7%
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