Univ. Amsterdam wants to slow international student growth: Report

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) wants to hinder the strong rise in international students enrolled at the academic institution, according to Parool. In ten years the number of international students quadrupled, according to new research from international student organization Nuffic.

Some 15% of the students enrolled at the UvA is international, among the freshmen the amount reaches up to 25 percent. The surge in international students is not exclusive to Amsterdam. There were over 80,000 international students enrolled at Dutch universities and applied sciences universities last academic year.

The University of Amsterdam is concerned about a lack of housing for students from abroad, and the prospect of students from one nationality dominating a classroom. The influx of German and Chinese students is considered alarming, and the UvA worries that popular English-language courses make education more difficult for Dutch students to participate.

Lack of student housing is also of concern at Amsterdam's city hall. After receiving reports of student sleeping in tents, socialist party SP city councillor Laurens Ivens determined that the situation had reached its limit. "Universities have to ask themselves why they open the floodgates to new students", he said, suggesting the UvA and Amsterdam's Vrije Universiteit see international students as a gold mine.

The universities have denied it: the difference in the amount of money coming from non-EU students and EU or Dutch students is covered by the government, the Parool said. The UvA wants assistance from the Ministry of Education to come up with a plan, and chancellor Karen Maex said admissions interviews may be one way to reduce the rising trend of foreign students. The university also wants to better inform potential students about the housing shortage in Amsterdam.


In terms of volume, Amsterdam and Maastricht are the most popular Dutch cities for foreign students, Nuffic said in a report issued last November. Each city hosted about 10 thousand. While that makes up about ten percent of Amsterdam’s total university population, it is over half of Maastricht's. About 20 percent of students in Delft, The Hague, and Wageningen are not from the Netherlands, while Rotterdam and Groningen are each home to 8 thousand international students.

Nuffic identified several benefits to international students, including the repopulation of shrinking municipalities, bolstering knowledge-based local economies, and providing fresh talent for businesses that need new knowledge and skill sets.