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The number of international students studying in the Netherlands is at a record high, with the students arriving from more different countries than ever before. The extreme growth in numbers of international students is particularly pronounced at universities, including at TU Delft.

Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, reports that in excess of 112,000 international students are studying in the Netherlands this academic year. These students span 164 different nationalities.

More than 30,000 students take a few courses or do an internship, but 81,000 have come to the Netherlands for the complete degree programme. More than half (48,000) of these students attend a university; 18% of all students in academic education are therefore from overseas. Ten years ago, international students only made up 8% of the total student population. The growth is especially marked in Master's degree programmes.

Germans and Chinese

Nuffic notes that an increasing number of international students are from outside of Europe, particularly from countries such as India, Indonesia and South Korea. However, Germans still make up the largest group (more than 22,000 students), followed by the Chinese (4,300 students). Surprisingly enough, more Italians than Belgians are now finding their way to the Netherlands.

Maastricht University has been the most international university in the Netherlands for a number of years, with more than half of all students coming from overseas. This percentage is only set to rise in the years ahead, as only 35.5% of first-year students are Dutch.

TU Delft: 20%

The University of Groningen and Erasmus University Rotterdam both have more than 5,000 international students. TU Delft ranks fourth, with slightly more than 20% of the nearly 22,000 students coming from overseas.

The most international studies at universities are the university colleges (38.7%), while at Universities of Applied Sciences (HBO), art courses lead the way (31.8%).

In November 2016, Nuffic reported that the increasing internationalisation of higher education can only positively impact the Dutch treasury. Roughly a quarter of the international students will live and work in the Netherlands for the rest of their lives. This results in a 'brain gain' of more than €1.5 billion for our knowledge economy.

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