Education system in the Netherlands

The education system in the Netherlands is known for its high quality in education and research. Dutch universities score high in international education rankings, and offer a consistent level of excellence in a safe and internationally orientated environment.

The Netherlands has the highest number of English language education programmes in continental Europe.

The Netherlands has two main types of higher education institutions: research universities and universities of applied sciences. Research universities focus on the independent practice of research-oriented work in an academic or professional setting. Universities of applied sciences are more vocationally oriented and offer professional programmes in the applied arts and sciences that prepare students for specific careers.

The Study Law in Holland consortium consists of only traditional research universities. They offer a range of academic law programmes, which also have a strong professional orientation. Most of their alumni find employment outside the academic environment: with large law firms; international (legal) organisations or businesses.

Legal education at Dutch universities is structured as follows:Duration
A three year bachelor’s programme in Law, leading to a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree (180 ECTS) 3 years
A one year master’s programme in Law, leading to a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree (60 ECTS) 1 year
Doctorate Programme. PhD places in the Netherlands are usually based on vacancies. PhD candidates often have an employment contract with the university, and therefore have the status of a member of staff rather than a student. 3-4 years

Dutch law students need to complete both a bachelor’s and master’s programme in Law, in order to gain the right to enter legal practice. Master’s programmes in Law are offered as stand alone programmes and attract many international students.

There are nine Law faculties at the research universities in Holland where individual responsibility, independence and overall small-sized classes are fundamental to an educational approach in which student motivation is a key feature, as well as interactive teaching and personal supervision.

Education in Holland is known for its:

  • Critical thinking
  • Socratic teaching method
  • interactive approach