The Ultimate Guide to Studying Abroad in the Netherlands

Programs for this blog post

January in Amsterdam

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College Study Abroad

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to study abroad in the Netherlands? Renowned for its world-class museums, art galleries, music, opera, theater, and more, it’s easy to understand why you’d be interested in making the Netherlands your home away from home. 

Let’s dig into our ultimate guide to studying abroad in the Netherlands to put your wondering days to rest and make your study abroad dreams come true! 

Why Study Abroad in the Netherlands?

Our study abroad programs in the Netherlands are a dream. Here are a few reasons why you’re sure to fall in love with the country’s vibrant capital city, Amsterdam, where our programs are based: 

  1. You’ll appreciate the culture – Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most progressive and open-minded cities; a reputation it has held since the 17th century. 
  2. You’ll explore a variety of attractions – Since you’ll be in town for at least an entire session, you can take in diverse attractions that reside just beyond the city’s reach. Think countryside, beaches, windmills, tulip fields, and historic towns. 
  3. You’ll learn about the country’s history – You’ll quickly grow to love exploring Amsterdam’s picturesque canal network, rich history, and amazing museums, including the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, among others. 
  4. You’ll live in an international city – Know that as an international student, you’ll fit right in in the Netherlands. In fact, 40% of the country’s first-year university students are international. The city of Amsterdam itself is home to people representing 180 nationalities, and almost everyone speaks English.  
  5. You’ll get around easily – The city is very walkable and the public transit is reliable. Plus, you can always ride a bike. The rumor is there are more bikes than people in Amsterdam! 
  6. You’ll study in a central area of the city – CIEE Amsterdam is located in a convenient spot across from the University of Amsterdam in the tranquil Plantage neighborhood. So, it’s no problem to drop in to speak with our staff, study, or just hang out between classes. 

biking in amsterdam on study abroad

How to Study Abroad in the Netherlands 

Ready to get going on your study abroad experience in the Netherlands? Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Explore the various programs we offer in the Netherlands
  2. Connect with your campus study abroad office (if applicable) to discuss your plans and how they fit into your studies. Be sure to ask about any scholarships, too. 
  3. Start your application. (Keep in mind, your school may require its own study abroad application in addition to the CIEE Study Abroad application we require.) 

What to Pack for Study Abroad in the Netherlands 

Once you’ve been accepted into your dream program, it’s time to start packing! While this may be easier said than done, we’ve made a list of essentials to help get you started. Our main advice: Leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs. Trust us on that one! 

Your most important items to pack: 

  • Passport + a photocopy (just in case) 
  • Visa + a photocopy  
  • A second form of valid ID (e.g., driver’s license or government-issued ID) 
  • Cash (the Netherlands uses the Euro) and a credit card accepted in the Netherlands 
  • Plane tickets  
  • Proof of health insurance 
  • Proof of CIEE enrollment 
  • Prescription medications (enough for your entire stay, if possible) 
  • Preferred over-the-counter medications 
  • Prescription eyewear 

The Netherlands has a nice moderate climate with cool summers and mild winters. Depending on the season, you’ll want to pack: 

  • 1-2 pairs of comfortable walking shoes 
  • Warm, windproof jacket 
  • Raincoat 
  • 1 formal outfit for special occasions 
  • A few warm sweaters for winter 
  • A few light shirts for summer 
  • A few pairs of shorts or pants depending on the season 
  • A week's worth of underwear and socks 

students at a fountain while studying abroad in amsterdam

Best Study Abroad Programs in the Netherlands 

If you know you want to study abroad in Amsterdam but you’re still undecided about which CIEE program is right for you, don’t worry. Here, we’ll review our list of the 7 best study abroad programs in the Netherlands. 

1. January in Amsterdam 

Spend J-term living and learning in the progressive city of Amsterdam! During this three-week winter program, you’ll explore the city’s public health policies or gender, race, sexuality, and pop culture. This exciting, fast-paced adventure is designed for students from all areas of study who want to experience what it's like to call the global metropolis of Amsterdam home for three weeks.  

  • Timeframe: 20 days 
  • Credit: 3 semester hours / 4.5 quarter hours 
  • Language of instruction: English 
  • Cost: $3,650 

2. Business + Culture 

Live and study in one of Europe’s most progressive economic hubs. This rigorous program is well suited for students with a background in business and eager for insights into critical international business and economic issues.  

Study in one of CIEE Amsterdam’s two partner schools: the University of Amsterdam or the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Optional classes are also available at CIEE Amsterdam. 

  • Timeframe: 18 weeks 
  • Credit: 15 semester hours / 22.5 quarter hours 
  • Language of instruction: English 
  • Cost: $21,950 

3. Social Sciences + Humanities 

This rigorous 18-week program is designed for students across various social sciences and humanities disciplines. Choose from a wide range of classes including political science, sociology, anthropology, European studies, film studies, history, international relations, media, psychology, cultural studies, and more.  

You’ll study at our partner school, the University of Amsterdam, and have the chance to take classes at the nearby CIEE Amsterdam. 

  • Timeframe: 18 weeks 
  • Credit: 15 semester hours / 22.5 quarter hours 
  • Language of instruction: English 
  • Cost: $21,950 

amsterdam castle sunset in the fall

4. Summer Business + Communications 

Spend your summer in the multinational city of Amsterdam, home to the national stock exchange and the Dutch National Bank. This rigorous program is ideal for business or communications students interested in learning about the Netherlands' role in the global marketplace. CIEE Amsterdam offers courses on sustainable business, contemporary television, and intercultural communication. 

  • Timeframe: 4 weeks 
  • Credit: 3-4 semester hours / 4.5-6 quarter hours 
  • Language of instruction: English 
  • Cost: $5,650 

5. Summer Contemporary Netherlands Studies 

If you are interested in the language, society, politics, and culture of the Netherlands, then you should consider our Summer Contemporary Netherlands Studies. Courses are taught by local, qualified lecturers, and in-class work is paired with co-curricular visits to the city's rich variety of cultural institutions and organizations.  

  • Timeframe: 4 weeks 
  • Credit: 3-4 semester hours / 4.5-6 quarter hours 
  • Language of instruction: English 
  • Cost: $5,650 

6. Summer Comparative Public Health Systems I + II ( London + Amsterdam) 

This once-in-a-lifetime, eight-week, two-city program is perfect for students interested in building a foundation in public health by studying two of the world’s leading healthcare systems.  

In London, connect with healthcare professionals and researchers, visit sites that demonstrate the impact of cultural dynamics on the delivery of public healthcare, and evaluate global trends and agendas in public health. In Amsterdam, discuss the health effects of drugs and alcohol, euthanasia, and home birth. This is one extraordinary opportunity. 

  • Timeframe: 8 weeks 
  • Credit: 6 semester hours / 9 quarter hours 
  • Language of instruction: English 
  • Cost: $8,750 

students on a boat tour in amsterdam

7. Summer Comparative Public Health Systems II + III ( London + Amsterdam) 

Similar to the Summer Comparative Public Health Systems I + II, this program allows students to study in both London and Amsterdam while learning about the public health systems of the British and the Dutch.  

First, travel to London to learn about the National Health Service and the changes it’s facing in the 21st century. Then head to Amsterdam to investigate how culturally sensitive issues like euthanasia and drug-taking impact public health. 

  • Timeframe: 8 weeks 
  • Credit: 6 semester hours / 9 quarter hours 
  • Language of instruction: English 
  • Cost: $8,750 

How Much Does It Cost to Study Abroad in the Netherlands? 

The Netherlands is a relatively affordable country to live in and offers a high quality of life, making it a great destination for study abroad students. The cost of CIEE Amsterdam programs ranges from $3,650 to $21,950 and, depending on the program chosen, may include: 

  • Tuition 
  • Housing 
  • Pre-departure advising 
  • Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet 
  • Orientation 
  • On-site staff 
  • Cultural and/or co-curricular activities 
  • Excursions and/or study tours
  • Travel protection  
  • 24/7 emergency on-site support 

(See each program’s webpage for specific breakdown of costs and amenities.) 

Students interested in applying for CIEE programs can always apply for the many scholarships and grants. CIEE offers scholarships and grants to students with demonstrated financial need, proven academic merit, and who enroll in specific programs. Visit our Scholarships and Grants page to explore any and all financial aid opportunities available to you. 

amsterdam building by canal

Amsterdam is calling! 

Ready to make studying abroad in the Netherlands a reality? Apply today!