Dutch universities increasingly use English. Good or bad?

There’s been much discussion in the Netherlands lately about the increasing use of English at universities. The association Beter Onderwijs Nederland (Better Education Netherlands) even wants to launch legal proceedings to stop it. Here are some of the most heard pros and cons in the fierce debate.


  • It helps attract more international students, and a diverse student population raises the quality of education.
  • Better preparation for a career in science: most publications and conferences are in English.
  • More study materials to pick from.
  • Increased mobility of students around the world.
  • Better connection between universities worldwide.
  • Students already communicate in English through the internet, so they know the language.


  • Nuances and depth are lost because students and teachers have a hard time expressing themselves in anything else than their native tongue.
  • The goal of attracting more international students is mainly to get more money. (People are worried that universities are led by finances instead of quality.)
  • Students won’t learn to master Dutch.
  • Many students won’t end up doing scientific research, but with a job somewhere in Dutch society. Therefore they’ll need Dutch, not English.
  • Students who aren’t fluent in English experience a disadvantage.
More information

If you liked this article, you might also be interested in this:

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes