Study Abroad Student Handbook
Netherlands Netherlands
Center for Global Education

Why Study Abroad?

Amsterdam, the Hague, Rotterdam, fields of tulips and daffodils, windmills… In Europe’s most densely populated country there is something to explore for every type of student. Museums, both historic and modern, dot the landscape. The country has long inspired artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, and M.C. Escher. It is also the home of the Van Gogh Museum (which features hundreds of the artist's original works and personal writings) and Gassan Diamonds (a diamond factory that dates back to 1878). Here students interested in geology or jewelry will be fascinated to see the entire diamond cutting process from beginning to end. History and political science majors will be fascinated by the many monuments and museums dedicated to World War II battles, such as the National War and Resistance Museum, which rests on the location of one of the harshest tank battles in the war. There is also the Natural History Museum, the Dutch Railway Museum, the Anthropological Museum, the Netherlands Maritime Museum, and hundreds more.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has a rich history. From 1600 to 1800, the Netherlands dominated world trade. Trade has been the leading source of wealth for the country, even to this day. The city of Rotterdam on the North Sea is the world’s largest port. This, coupled with its key location on the European continent, continues to make it a hub for intercontinental business. It has become one of the most coveted places in Europe for international companies such as Sony and Sarah Lee to locate their European offices. The Netherlands is also the home of ING Bank, KLM, Heineken and Philips. Students interested in international business will not lack for motivation. It is a truly modern country, but the bustling industry lives side by side with long standing traditions. In the countryside you may easily see folks go about their lives in traditional dress and, yes, wooden clogs. What you won’t see, however, is heavy traffic. In the Netherlands it is more common to ride a bike through the flat countryside than to drive a car.

The Netherlands is famous worldwide for its progressive and liberal social climate. It is one of the leading countries in the European community and was a founding member of the EU and NATO. It is also one of Europe's most diverse countries. More than 40% of the population comes from another country. There is exceptional religious and ethnic diversity, including a sizable Jewish and Muslim population. In the Hague is the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of Justice, the judicial branch of the United Nations, and a true example of global cooperation as all nations participated in its construction.

Education in the Netherlands is no exception to the Dutch’s trendsetting ways. Most of the population speaks English, so it is an excellent choice for a first time study abroad student or for someone who doesn't know another language. It was also the first non-English speaking country to offer courses in English. Now there are over a thousand courses taught in English, so you can pursue almost any field of study. The Dutch also invented the Problem Based Learning System, which requires students to solve problems analytically, learn through practical experience, work in groups, and conduct experiments. Teaching is student-centered and is intended to give students the freedom to form their own opinions, and the focus to be self-disciplined in the work force.

Read on – Why Study Abroad and find answers how study abroad can affect your personal growth and career path.

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