The Netherlands is the fifth happiest country in the world according to the latest World Happiness Report published by the United Nations, which is a result of the high level of satisfaction, stability, democracy, and quality of life of its citizens. The country is also in 7th place in the world’s best countries for higher education.

This multicultural English-speaking country is one of the most forward-thinking societies which can be reflected in their universities. Classes in Dutch universities are informal and professors treat students like equals and active participants in the process of learning. Programs also put a lot of weight on practical activities to make them industry-ready and develop skills that employees are looking for.

Listed below are five of the best subjects to study in the Netherlands. We have also included a few helpful insights on each field as well as the universities that provide the best programs in the country!

Top Courses to Study in the Netherlands

1. Sociology

The Netherlands has a long history of excellence in sociology or the study of how humans behave in different areas and groups in society. It is home to some of Europe’s largest and best academic and research institutions that explore, analyze, and develop solutions to a wide range of social issues and phenomena. With this, sociology is among the best subjects to study in the Netherlands. Dutch society is also very modern and highly values equality, inclusivity, and freedom of expression, making the Netherlands one of the most ideal countries to study sociology.

Sociology classes in the Netherlands are composed of smaller groups and are more interactive than the usual lectures. Students are encouraged to ask questions, express their opinions, and engage in healthy dialogues with their professors. They are also trained to think critically and look beyond the surface of social phenomena to have a deeper understanding of how media, culture, politics, and other factors affect human behavior and interaction in society.

Some of the Netherlands’ top universities for studying sociology are the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Radboud University, and Leiden University.

2. Healthcare

The Netherlands is known for having an excellent healthcare system and healthcare programs for aspiring international students. The country ranks 2nd in the latest World Index of Healthcare Innovation. It also ranked in the areas of Science and Technology, Fiscal Sustainability, Choice, and Quality. Discussions and collaborations among the Dutch government, healthcare workers, insurers, researchers, and stakeholders constantly take place to continue improving the country’s healthcare system and ensure that medical services are provided to its citizens faster and better.

Healthcare degrees in the Netherlands have a strong focus on evidence-based research and practical learning. Students are directly involved in the research process for them to develop quantitative and analytical skills to understand and address the challenges faced by the country’s healthcare system. They learn about the causes, treatment, and prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle to their patients and the general public. Healthcare majors also visit several communities and remote areas to conduct studies and provide different healthcare services to people.

Some of the most recognized universities in the Netherlands for providing the best degrees in healthcare studies are Erasmus University Rotterdam, Utrecht University, Vrije University, Maastricht University, and Wageningen University.

3. Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is the study of applying engineering concepts and methods in developing devices that would help address different medical issues. Several sophisticated devices have been invented and medical discoveries have taken place in the Netherlands, and the biomedical engineering sector continues to use its technology and engineering expertise to design and develop medical devices that would improve the way patients’ needs are met, from diagnosis to treatment and prevention. Biomedical engineers are also among the most in-demand and highest-paid professions in the country.

Biomedical engineering degrees in the Netherlands are one of the best subjects to study in the country as they provide integration of expertise in computer science, physics, mathematics, and biology, as well as material, electrical, and mechanical engineering. Students collaborate with industry experts, physicians, engineers, and other healthcare professionals in finding solutions to real industry problems and challenges.

Among the best universities for studying biomedical engineering in the Netherlands are Radboud University, University of Twente, Eindhoven University of Technology, Utrecht University, and the University of Amsterdam.

4. Economics

Economics is one of the most popular programs to study among international students in the Netherlands. The fifth-largest economy in Europe, the country is known for its economic stability, highly developed infrastructures, and exceedingly competent and skilled workforce. Pursuing an economics degree in the Netherlands will allow you to explore its strong and dynamic economy and witness first-hand how key players and stakeholders interact with each other.

Economics students in the Netherlands not only gain a solid foundation on economic theories and models but also learn to apply their knowledge in tackling real economic issues. Most economics degrees in the country are recognized by the Accreditation of the Netherlands to make sure that European standards are being met in economics education and training.

Here are some of the Dutch universities known for providing excellent programs in economics: Maastricht University, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, Vrije University, University of Groningen, and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

5. Visual Arts

Numerous art enthusiasts travel to the Netherlands to visit its art galleries, exhibits, and museums displaying the works of famous Dutch artists from different periods, from the early Netherlandish paintings to the Dutch Golden Age to modern Dutch art. The country also does not run short of breathtaking views and scenes for artists and art students to be inspired by for their artworks.

The Netherlands has plenty of the world’s leading art schools. Studying in one of these schools will allow you to immerse yourself in a country whose culture deeply values and firmly believes in the power of art. Visual Arts is an excellent subject to take in the Netherlands. Art students in the Netherlands learn about the different techniques, mediums, and technologies used in producing art. They spend time in the studio working on their portfolios and planning their own exhibits to present their artworks for public viewing.

Some of the top art schools in the Netherlands are the Delft University of Technology, Design Academy Eindhoven, Amsterdam University of the Arts, Royal Academy of the Art, and Utrecht School of the Arts.


We hope that this article on the Best Subjects to Study in the Netherlands was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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