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University in Netherlands: which is the best city for you?

University in the Netherlands: choose your destination in Europe!

You have chosen your course and now you have to decide which university to apply to in the Netherlands!

This is an important decision because wherever you decide to study will be your home for the next three or four years. Here is a short summary of what to expect from ten of the most popular, and yet different, student cities to choose for your University in Netherlands.

Groningen, in the north, has been voted the best student city not just nationally, but in the whole of Europe. The population numbers around 220,000  – of whom 50,000 are students-  so it is hardly surprising that it is a lively, buzzing place , with a huge range of  cafes and restaurants and 49 sports clubs, where you can enjoy horse riding as well as American football – and everything in between.

A bike-friendly city, Groningen mixes the innovative with grand historical architecture, patrician buildings and old warehouses,  and is particularly well known for its festivals, such as Eurosonic and Paradigm, which attract  thousands of visitors. The city has 150 bars, and counting, a student-focussed nightlife and economy, and is known for its multiculturalism and progressive spirit. Groningen also has a close relationship with the water, since canals cross the city centre, and you can hire a boat, do stand-up paddling, water sports and windsurfing  or simply enjoy a leisurely cruise through the city and beyond.

Groningen has its own international airport, Eelde, and is well-served by trains and buses. Amsterdam’s  Schiphol  Airport, with its connections  to  many  destinations, is two hours away by car, and there are  over 30 trains a day between Groningen and Schiphol, with a ticket costing in the range of 28 euros, single.

University in Netherlands


Choose your destination in Europe!

Amsterdam is the largest, busiest and best known city in the Netherlands. Located in the north-west, it remains the historic capital, although many administrative functions have now moved to the Hague, which is the Dutch seat of government. With a population of around one million people, the Dam, as it is referred to, is picture-perfect to look at : imposing world-class museums and galleries, a cafe culture which spills onto every street and lines its beautiful canals, and bicycles everywhere.

A liberal, cosmopolitan city, Amsterdam is , of course, slightly more crowded than other locations, because it is the prime tourist magnet in the Netherlands, and this  makes accommodation more expensive, and slightly more difficult to find. Amsterdam is known for its cultural scene and museum district, and the seventeenth century magnificent narrow houses with their ornate gables which mirror the city’s trading past and riches. Amsterdam rocks. It boasts an Affordable Art Fair every year and has its own marathon and popular Dance Event. Its nightlife is varied, exciting and attracts people from all over the world.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, trendy lifestyle, then Amsterdam is worth considering.

Leiden, situated some half hour away from Amsterdam in south Holland, Leiden  is an utterly charming, attractive and small city,  and boasts the oldest university in the Netherlands, established in 1575.  Leiden is known for its 28 kilometres of canals, for being the birthplace of Rembrandt and for its windmills and 2800 historic monuments.

Leiden’s Botanical Garden was founded back in 1590 and is probably responsible for the tulip fever which spread across Europe and bankrupted so many families! Known as the City of Keys, Leiden is a short bike ride away from the seaside at Katwijk and Noorwijk, where you can while away the summer, revising or reading.  Appropriately enough, the city hosts a famous Tulip Parade once a year and the extremely popular TAPT festival, where you can try speciality beers while listening to music.

The best cities for students


Holland welcomes tens of thousands of international students every year!

Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and was heavily bombed during the second world war. It is therefore a modern city, with an unusual and interesting architectural skyline, with its cube houses and skyscrapers, as well as Delfshaven’s historic houses and  old boats moored at the quayside, paying homage to the city’s past and importance as a seafaring hub.

Rotterdam is a cosmopolitan city with a well-developed electronic music scene, and since it was planned and laid out relatively recently , town planners have ensured that most of its attractions are within walking distance of the city centre. If you want to see a vision of the city of the future, Rotterdam will interest and enchant you.

The Hague is, as we all know, the home of the Dutch Royal Family, the government and numerous international organisations,  such as the International Court of Justice. An administrative city thus lies within the  city – and  is home to a large number of consulates and multinational companies, such as Shell, which makes the Hague incredibly diverse, elegant and vibrant.

The beaches at nearby Scheveningen and Kijkduin,  and the local forest and parks, will provide you with escape into nature, once the nightlife and shopping expeditions have worn thin – if this is possible! In August, the Hague holds  an amazing outdoor sculpture exhibition, but unlike small Dutch towns and cities, it also offers entertainment all the year round, since 43 per cent of its inhabitants are foreigners.

If networking is a priority in your field, then I can’t imagine a better place to study for a degree than the Hague – the home of international networking.

The Hague: the administrative center of the country


Discover the Hague, one of the best place to study in the Netherlands!

Tilburg is well-known for being home  to Sony, Fuji, Philips and Ericsson, which makes it fairly easy to find internships or even a full time job  while studying here. The city offers a mixture of modern and historical architecture and holds a well-known ten-day fair in July, which draws people from all over Europe.  Thanks to its geographical location, students from Tilburg can take day trips to Frankfurt and Brussels, or jump on a train and get to Amsterdam in just over an hour . Tilburg is known as the City of Textiles and is extremely green  and environmentally friendly.

Eindhoven is the home of design, vision, innovation and experimentation across every field of endeavour. The city is considered the technological hub of the Netherlands and its architecture reflects its forward-looking,  progressive thinking. From designer outlets to astonishing architecture, Eindhoven  is renowned for its great food and entrepreneurial spirit. It may not be pretty or quaint in the classical sense, but Eindhoven is the place to live, if you are as passionate about post-industrial reinvention as the city’s community of designers.

Utrecht  is ideally situated in the centre of the country and therefore travelling in any and every direction is very easy.BBC Travel found that Utrecht is the fourth happiest place in the world, and this may be because it has the  provincial cosiness and intimacy of a small town  , crossed with all the amenities you expect from a large city. From its medieval Dom Tower to its castle, canals, canoeing facilities and parks, Utrecht offers students a lively, safe and welcoming environment.

Delft can best be described as a miniature version of Amsterdam, with its ornate houses, winding lanes, cobblestones, cafes and historical monuments. Formerly the  seat of the House of Orange, it is best known as the birthplace of Vermeer and highly collectable Delftware, the distinctive blue and white pottery which  is so often found in our grandmothers’ cabinets. Delft is very attractive, small and quaint. Its historic buildings  draw visitors all year round, which can impact on the cost of housing.

Don't hesitate: choose Holland!


A green country, full of opportunities and welcoming people!

Maastricht is surprisingly hilly for the Netherlands, and borders Germany and Belgium. A two thousand year old settlement, it is divided by the River Maas, which flows right through the centre ,and is a stunning city with a historic old town, tunnel-caves, Roman remains and  miles of canals . The fortress of St Pieter is nearby and well worth visiting. Maastricht has an excellent gastronomic reputation and 49 per cent of the student body come from abroad, so it  is both international and multicultural in atmosphere. Travelling to Maastricht is not difficult, since it is close to several airports and well-served by road and rail. Maastricht’s Christmas market and European Fine Art Fair are  very popular with students and visitors alike.

Which student cities are the most expensive to enrol to a University in Netherlands?

  1. Amsterdam
  2. The Hague
  3. Rotterdam
  4. Maastricht
  5. Eindhoven
  6. Groningen

How much should I budget for accommodation?

You will spend between 350-650 euros a month on renting a  shared house.

If you want to economise, why not look for accommodation in the suburbs or small villages near your campus?

Transport links are excellent and you can always bicycle to university , like the Dutch!

What is the cost of living  in the Netherlands?

These are average prices, in euros, and you may find that they differ slightly, depending on where you live.

  • Internet 24
  • Phone 15
  • Transport 0-30
  • Food (weekly) 40
  • Cinema ticket 10
  • Gym membership 25
  • Bottle of wine 8
  • Fast food meal 9
  • Cappuccino 3
  • Pint of beer 5

Each student city in the Netherlands has its own character, attractions and visual appeal, so choosing between them and deciding where to study could well be difficult.

This is where Elab can help! Call us, send us an email or contact us via Facebook and we will go through the options with you, so that you end up studying the perfect course in the ideal student city in the Netherlands.