There are two main kinds of universities in the Netherlands: research universities and universities of applied sciences (hogescholen in Dutch). Research universities offer more academically rigorous education that focuses on specific subjects. Universities of Applied Sciences offer profession-orientated- programmes that are designed for students who are looking to enter a particular career upon graduation.
Undergraduate degrees at research universities typically take three years to complete and usually do not include work experience.
Undergraduate degrees at Universities of Applied Sciences typically take three or four years and will always include a work placement and usually a period of time studying abroad.
In addition to the two main categories of universities in the Netherlands you can also find private universities and university colleges. Private universities typically specialise in particular areas such as hospitality and tourism and charge higher fees than other Dutch universities.University colleges are more often affiliated with public universities and specialise in teaching liberal arts degrees following the US model of undergraduate education. University colleges usually charge additional fees and require students to live on campus.
With very few exceptions you are entitled to a place to study at a Dutch university if you have a school leaving certificate. For this reason it is usually much easier to receive an offer from a Dutch university. You will not be made a conditional offer, you will simply be told that you will be accepted subject to your achieving your Baccalaureate in the summer.
The admissions calendar in the Netherlands usually opens the first week of October for the following academic year. There are very few English-taught programmes that have admission in the spring semester.
The deadline for submitting an application varies depending on the type of university you apply for and any entry restrictions such as Numerus Fixus. The deadlines also vary for EU and non-EU applicants.
For 2021 admission, the deadline for most courses at research universities is 1st May 2021 if you have an EU passport. For British and other non-EU nationals the deadline is 1st April. However, even here there are exceptions so it is worth checking directly with the university you are interested in. Some universities have their own selection processes and you will need to adhere to their terms and conditions. In all cases, however, you need to have set up your account on Studielink by 1st May 2021.
For courses with Numerus Fixus, the deadline will be 15th January 2021.