The Netherlands has a unique cultural identity, and it's central location serves as an easy hub from which to explore the rest of Europe. In addition to the Netherlands' traditional windmills, canals, bicycles and tulips, you'll find a dynamic economy, state-of-the-art technology, rich cultural treasures and a lively contemporary social scene. Marvel at timeless artwork at the Rembrandt House and the Van Gogh Museum, or hop on a bike and explore a country dedicated to making the most of its open streets.



Languages Spoken:

Dutch

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION

The Netherlands has three streams of higher education that exist alongside each other:

  1. Universities
    The Netherlands has 14 universities; in principle these institutions train students to be scientists and scholars, although many programs also have a professional component.
  2. Applied sciences (Hogeschoolen)
    The study programs offered by universities of professional education are above all career-oriented. The country has more than 50 such higher education institutions.
  3. Institutes for International Education
    15 institutes for international education offer post-graduate courses in a wide range of fields. The courses are conducted in English and have been designed with foreign students in mind.

The Netherlands implemented the two-tier system of bachelor's and master's programs in the 2002-2003 academic year. The new bachelor's degree requires three years of study. The primary language of instruction during the bachelor's degree is Dutch. Master's degrees take an additional one to two years of postgraduate study. Most (postgraduate) masters are taught in English.

Courses, Academic Year and Grading Systems

The Dutch academic year is a long one, running from early September to mid-July, and is divided into semesters or trimesters.

Course scheduling varies from university to university and even varies within departments. Some institutions schedule their courses on the modular system, in which a student takes one course at a time for a period of four to five weeks. Other institutions have systems in which a student takes two or more courses each trimester.

Course work
During the semester, students are expected to participate actively in any course they take. This means preparing for lectures and seminars, doing the necessary homework and carrying out the appropriate assignments. The Dutch style of higher education entrusts students with a high degree of individual responsibility, encouraging them to develop an independent and critical way of thinking.

Assessment
Courses may be assessed by means of papers, or written or oral exams. An oral exam usually lasts 30 minutes to one hour. Written exams normally last tow to three hours. During a written exam, students have to answer open, multiple choice and essay type questions.

Grading system
Passing grades range from six (pass) to 10 (outstanding).The grade 10 is not usually given, so in practice the grading scale runs from one through nine. The grading practices tend to be a bit more difficult than other places, with a grade of six considered a satisfactory mark. Eights and nines are generally considered outstanding.

Credit system
The workload of the various program items is expressed in European Credits (ECTS); one ECTS equals 28 hours of study. The study program for every academic year consists of 60 ECTS (1,680 hours).

University Life
The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country and ISEP member institutions are located in urban areas. Given such a cosmopolitan environment, university life can differ significantly from the campus-style environment of U.S. institutions.

Dutch universities are fully integrated into the city of which they are a part. Students generally rent apartments and commute to classroom buildings by bike, bus or train. Students are responsible for paying rent, including a housing deposit, and cooking their own meals. You will need to seek out a social life, since activities are not centered around the campus.

Visa and Residency

STUDENT VISA/RESIDENCE PERMIT

Note to ALL students
Health insurance

All students must be insured against the cost of medical treatment. This is a requirement under Dutch law.

Applying for a residence permit

ALL ISEP STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE A RESIDENCY PERMIT IF THEY ARE STUDYING FOR A SEMESTER OR LONGER. Please visit the Study in Holland Website for more specific information.

A residence permit looks like a credit card and proves that you are residing legally in the Netherlands. You are obliged to obtain a residence permit if you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country or Switzerland and you would like to stay in the Netherlands for a period of more than three months. A residence permit will generally be issued for a period of one year. Depending on the purpose of your stay, the validity may be for a longer or shorter period of time. In order to apply for a residence permit, your host institution will (with your help) fill out an application form that you have to sign. The institution will send it to the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) in Rijswijk if you arrived with an MVV (visa) and to the IND in Den Bosch if you arrived without an MVV. Please note that the fee for a residence permit is currently EUR 311.00 (as of April 2016). Please visit the administrative fees website for the most up to date cost information. It is very important to arrive with the correct visa!

Remember: if you enter the Netherlands on a short-stay visa, you won't be able to obtain a residence permit.

VISA AND RESIDENCE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS AND FEES CHANGE OFTEN. This information is provided as a procedural guide to obtain a Dutch Residence Permit (known as the VVRref-procedure). Please check with the appropriate Dutch embassy or consulate to confirm requirements and fees, or visit the Study in Holland Website.

Students from: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, and USA

Entry visa

You do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands, neither for a short, nor for a long stay. All you need is a valid passport.

Formalities on arrival

Staying less than 90 days

  1. You are required to report to the local Aliens Police within 3 days of arrival.

Staying longer than 90 days

  1. You are required to report to the local Aliens Police within 3 days of arrival
  2. You must apply for a residence permit. When your purpose of stay is to study here, your host institution (university or university of applied sciences) has to apply for the permit on your behalf, but you have to sign the application.
  3. You need to register with the local municipality as an inhabitant of the municipality within five days of your arrival

Registering with the university

You need to register at your host institution when you arrive, not only for getting your class schedules, but also to comply with immigration procedures. The host institution will want to see proof that you have reported to the Aliens Police, the municipality and, if applicable, will apply on your behalf for a residence permit which form you need to sign.

Work permit

Foreign students who would like to take paid work alongside their studies are allowed to do so. Depending on your nationality you can only do this for a limited amount of hours per week and only if the employer has applied for a work permit for you. You do need a work permit before you may work in the Netherlands. The following academic activities, among others, count as working: lecturing, doing a student traineeship or work placement, conducting research, and pursuing a doctorate or PhD (as AIO, for example). The employer must apply to the Central Organization for Work and Income for your work permit.

Students from the EU/EEA or Swiss-students (except for Bulgarians and Romanians)

Entry visa

You do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands, neither for a short, nor for a long stay. All you need is a valid passport. You may travel through all EU countries freely.

Registering with the university

You need to register at your host institution when you arrive, not only for getting your class schedules, but also to comply with immigration procedures. The host institution will want to see proof that you have reported to the Aliens Police, the municipality and, if applicable, will apply on your behalf for a residence permit which form you need to sign.

Work permit

You do not need a work permit. You are allowed to earn money alongside your studies or traineeship activities without a work permit. You can work as many hours as you want; there is no restriction.

Students from: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Uruguay

Entry visa

Staying less than 90 days

You do not need an entry visa for the Netherlands. All you need is a valid passport. You are free to travel through all Schengen countries.

Staying longer than 90 days

You need an entry visa for the Netherlands. This entry visa is known as a provisional residence permit, abbreviated in Dutch to 'MVV' (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, MVV). Your host institution may seek advice from the IND concerning your application for an MVV. If the advice of the Dutch Immigration Service (IND) is favorable, you then have to apply for the actual MVV yourself at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country, or the country in which you legally reside. The Dutch embassy or consulate will then issue you with the MVV in the form of a sticker placed in your passport. It is extremely important that you have this visa before traveling to the Netherlands! You can also apply for an MVV without the help of your host institution. However, this procedure takes longer and is more expensive.

Formalities on Arrival

Staying less than 90 days

  1. You are required to report to the local Aliens Police within 3 days of arrival.

Staying longer than 90 days

  1. You are required to report to the local Aliens Police within 3 days of arrival
  2. You must apply for a residence permit. When your purpose of stay is to study here, your host institution (university or university of applied sciences) has to apply for the permit on your behalf, but you have to sign the application.
  3. You need to register with the local municipality as an inhabitant of the municipality within five days of your arrival

Registering with the university

You need to register at your host institution when you arrive, not only for getting your class schedules, but also to comply with immigration procedures. The host institution will want to see proof that you have reported to the Aliens Police, the municipality and, if applicable, will apply on your behalf for a residence permit which form you need to sign.

Work permit

Foreign students who would like to take paid work alongside their studies are allowed to do so. Depending on your nationality you can only do this for a limited amount of hours per week and only if the employer has applied for a work permit for you. You do need a work permit before you may work in the Netherlands. The following academic activities, among others, count as working: lecturing, doing a student traineeship or work placement, conducting research, and pursuing a doctorate or PhD (as AIO, for example). The employer must apply to the Central Organization for Work and Income for your work permit.

Students from: China

Chinese nationals must apply for a Nuffic Certificate in order to be eligible for a Dutch entry visa. A Nuffic Certificate is issued by Nuffic to provide an assessment of the student’s English language proficiency and of the authenticity of educational degrees and diplomas. Chinese students who wish to enroll in an English-taught program at a Dutch university must apply for this certificate. Upon issuance, the certificate will be sent directly to the Dutch university, and will then be forwarded to the Dutch immigration authorities. For more information about the Nuffic Certificate and how to apply please visit the Nuffic website.

A Note Regarding the Schengen Area

The Netherlands is a member of the Schengen area. Students should review the important regulations that dictate travel and visas within the Schengen area.

Culture

CULTURE

Historically, Holland has always been an outward looking nation. Its coastal geography and advanced skills in ship building ensured that Dutch navigators featured strongly in international exploration, colonization and trade. This gave the country a leading role in international affairs disproportionate to its size. The result was a cosmopolitan outlook and an entrepreneurial attitude that endure to this day.

The people also developed a taste for the exotic and a willingness to accept aspects of foreign culture while maintaining their own unique identity. Holland remains a nation of prolific travelers with many people taking two or more foreign holidays a year.

Social factors

The Dutch love to eat out and they enjoy visiting bars and cafes; cinemas are also popular. They are keen on sport and fitness, music, social clubs and organized events.

Their sense of humor tends to be of the less subtle variety; the Dutch are not noted for their sense of irony. Many visitors find the Dutch rude because of their direct nature and unwillingness to form queues. In fact, they have a highly ritualized system of social etiquette which takes time and effort to learn. Dutch people routinely wish each other a pleasant day, afternoon, evening, weekend and the like; these greetings carry a lot more sincerity than the American ‘have a nice day.’ Dutch value their privacy and personal space; some foreign nationals may find it surprising that the Dutch will often stand so far away from the person they are speaking to. They also tend to be quite formal in their communications, and first names are not normally used except between close friends.

Outward displays of wealth amongst Dutch people are not common and there is an emphasis within Dutch culture on financial equality that is reflected within wage and tax structures within the country. When either dinning out or drinking at a bar each person will nearly always pay their own part hence the internationally used expression ‘going Dutch’.

Tolerance

Holland is known worldwide for its tolerant attitude and the aspects of this most visible to outsiders are the open attitude to sex and the widespread availability of soft drugs.

Immigrants from former colonies have largely integrated well and found acceptance. Other ‘guest workers’, are tolerated rather than accepted and an undercurrent of racism has always existed in certain quarters. Anti-immigrant sentiments have unfortunately become more accepted in recent years.

Most people in Holland speak English and like to use it but long-term residents, particularly non-English speakers, are expected to learn Dutch and adapt to the Dutch way of life.

Religion

In the 20th century, major religions began to decline in Holland. Most of the Dutch Jews did not survive the Holocaust, and in the 1960s and 1970s Protestantism and Catholicism began to decline. Islam is the major exception, which grew considerably as the result of immigration. Linked with the decline of religion is the Dutch adoption of liberal social policies towards abortion, euthanasia, prostitution and same-sex marriage.

Daily Life

CULTURE

Historically, Holland has always been an outward looking nation. Its coastal geography and advanced skills in ship building ensured that Dutch navigators featured strongly in international exploration, colonization and trade. This gave the country a leading role in international affairs disproportionate to its size. The result was a cosmopolitan outlook and an entrepreneurial attitude that endure to this day.

The people also developed a taste for the exotic and a willingness to accept aspects of foreign culture while maintaining their own unique identity. Holland remains a nation of prolific travelers with many people taking two or more foreign holidays a year.

Social factors

The Dutch love to eat out and they enjoy visiting bars and cafes; cinemas are also popular. They are keen on sport and fitness, music, social clubs and organized events.

Their sense of humor tends to be of the less subtle variety; the Dutch are not noted for their sense of irony. Many visitors find the Dutch rude because of their direct nature and unwillingness to form queues. In fact, they have a highly ritualized system of social etiquette which takes time and effort to learn. Dutch people routinely wish each other a pleasant day, afternoon, evening, weekend and the like; these greetings carry a lot more sincerity than the American ‘have a nice day.’ Dutch value their privacy and personal space; some foreign nationals may find it surprising that the Dutch will often stand so far away from the person they are speaking to. They also tend to be quite formal in their communications, and first names are not normally used except between close friends.

Outward displays of wealth amongst Dutch people are not common and there is an emphasis within Dutch culture on financial equality that is reflected within wage and tax structures within the country. When either dinning out or drinking at a bar each person will nearly always pay their own part hence the internationally used expression ‘going Dutch’.

Tolerance

Holland is known worldwide for its tolerant attitude and the aspects of this most visible to outsiders are the open attitude to sex and the widespread availability of soft drugs.

Immigrants from former colonies have largely integrated well and found acceptance. Other ‘guest workers’, are tolerated rather than accepted and an undercurrent of racism has always existed in certain quarters. Anti-immigrant sentiments have unfortunately become more accepted in recent years.

Most people in Holland speak English and like to use it but long-term residents, particularly non-English speakers, are expected to learn Dutch and adapt to the Dutch way of life.

Religion

In the 20th century, major religions began to decline in Holland. Most of the Dutch Jews did not survive the Holocaust, and in the 1960s and 1970s Protestantism and Catholicism began to decline. Islam is the major exception, which grew considerably as the result of immigration. Linked with the decline of religion is the Dutch adoption of liberal social policies towards abortion, euthanasia, prostitution and same-sex marriage.

Health and Safety

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

Currency

MONEY MATTERS

The currency used in the Netherlands is the euro (€ or EUR). Coins worth five, ten, twenty and fifty cents and one and two euros are in circulation. Notes come in denominations of €5,€10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. Most shops do not accept notes of €100 or above. The one and two cent coins are now officially no longer in use, and change is usually rounded up or down to the nearest five cents.

Cash

Most everyday payments are settled in cash, although an increasing number of retailers accept electronic debit cards with PIN codes.

ATMs

If you have a Cirrus/Maestro, Visa/Plus or EuroCard/MasterCard debit or credit card with a four-digit PIN, you should be able to withdraw money from your home bank account at any of the numerous cash dispensers. Ask your own bank about the availability of this service, its conditions and costs.

Credit cards

Credit cards are becoming more popular, although they are not as widely accepted as in some countries. For example, few supermarkets, small shops or cafés accept them. When shopping or going out, always make sure you have enough euros on you or a bank card so that you can draw money from a cash dispenser. Personal checks are not used in the Netherlands and traveler’s checks are not accepted for retail purchases (you can only cash them in at banks). Large payments such as rent are generally made by bank transfer.

Cost of living

Although the cost of living in the Netherlands has reportedly increased steadily in recent years, it remains lower than in many other European countries, and the Netherlands was recently reported as being one of the two cheapest countries in Europe to buy groceries, along with Germany (ACNielson, 2006). This is largely due to the market dominance of discount supermarket chains.

Restaurant and hotel bills normally include Value Added Tax and a service charge, so it is unnecessary to tip, although it is common practice to leave a small tip for good service. In the case of waiters and taxi drivers, a tip of around 10% of the bill is customary.

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