Number of international students still on the increase

Erasmus University Rotterdam is attracting an increasing number of international students: the number of students from abroad has increased by 13% to more than 5,300 this academic year. These were the results from the annual census of students held on 1 October. The total student population currently numbers about 26,000.

The number of international students at Erasmus University is still very much on the increase. During the current academic year, 13% more students from abroad came to Rotterdam: 5,385 compared to 4,730 on 1 October 2015. As a further comparison, there were fewer than 4,000 international students in Rotterdam in 2013. One-fifth of the total number of students currently comes from a different country. Erasmus University now has around 130 nationalities, most the international students coming from Germany, Greece, China, Italy and France. 

The increase in the number of international students is due to various factors. One of these is the fact that more and more international bachelor and master programmes are being offered, many of which are in English. And EUR’s excellent reputation is a major factor too. As the International Student Barometer shows, people who have studied in Rotterdam recommend Erasmus University to their families and friends. And our sound international reputation probably contributes to the general appeal of studying in Rotterdam as well. Finally, all Dutch universities are attracting more international students due to increasing familiarity with the excellence of university education available in the Netherlands. 

New perspectives
Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board, says: “Erasmus University’s aim is to be an attractive place for Dutch and international talent alike. Exposure to new and different perspectives has a very good influence on the quality of education and research, and our society as a whole ultimately benefits from this. We want to educate all our students - Dutch and international - to become world citizens who are able to work with colleagues from different cultures and backgrounds during their further careers. That’s why we’re aiming to create ‘international classrooms’ with students from different countries and cultures. But internationalisation also means that we encourage our Dutch students to go on exchanges to universities abroad, as this enormously enriches their studies.”

Baele added that Rotterdam benefits from internationalisation as well: “We see that a lot of international students, doctoral candidates and scientists who come to Erasmus University to work or study want to settle permanently in Rotterdam too. This group makes a more than average contribution to the development of the local economy. So it’s very important to make sure that they feel at home in the city, and that good-quality housing and enough interesting and challenging opportunities are available to make them want to stay here.”

Size of the student community
The substantial increase in the number of international students is making a major contribution to the general increase in Erasmus University’s total student community. The total number of students has exceeded 25,000 for the first time. On 1 October 2016 there were 25,784 students at Erasmus University, compared to 23,898 on 1 October last year (a 7.8% increase). The numbers of bachelor and master students have both increased by 7%. For the first time, there are more female than male students at Erasmus University (50.3 vs 49,7%). 

One remarkable factor is the increase in the number of new students: 8,084 students have enrolled for the first time this year, which is a 13% increase. This is due to the influx of first-year students as well as new master students. The actual enrolment figures (students can enrol in multiple programmes simultaneously) totalled 28,011, which is a 7% increase compared to 2015.

Check the factsheet (attached) for more details. 

About the 1 October census 
Each Dutch university makes a tally of the number of students and enrolments on 1 October every year. The 1 October census is a snapshot taken at a specific moment: the figures may change slightly after this because the registration of students is an ongoing process where corrections to past figures may still be applied.


Aantal (internationale) studenten

International Students

More information

For more information, please contact: Erasmus University Rotterdam Press Office, +31 (0)10 408 12 16 or