Why a PhD in the Netherlands?
Holland, a rather small country located in western Europe and is bordered by Belgium to its south, Germany to its east and the North Sea to its North and West. A country that is 1/3 below sea level. In order to prevent being flooded by the sea, the Dutch built an incredible system of dams which open and close according to water levels and the seasons of the year.
Living and working with the Dutch
The most important thing for you, when coming to the Netherlands, are the Dutch people themselves. You’ll be working along them for most of the time and encounter a lot in your daily life. So how can you describe Dutch people in a nutshell? The Netherlands is a democratic country. The people are used to giving their opinion and feeling free to do so, but in your opinion, it could perhaps come of as harsh. The task-orientated mindset resulting into direct communication is an important character of the Dutch. Due to the open mindset of the Dutch, people from outside the Netherlands have the opportunity to be themselves and also integrate in society by listening and observing the Dutch. It will make it easier working with Dutch people.
Academia in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has an excellent academic climate for PhD students. Learn more about academia in The Netherlands in A Beginner's Guide to Academia.
Because of the small size, the Netherlands has a network of universities collaborating with each other. They’re organised in a union to ensure to be a driven force for the improvement of the social environment and high-quality research and education. That enables the Dutch universities to maintain top positions in global rankings. Visit the website of VSNU for further information.
Finding housing can be quite difficult, but is essential for a stay longer than 4 months. You are legally obliged to have a valid Dutch address. Only then it is possible to get a Citizen Service Number (‘BSN’). In and around Rotterdam there is lettable accommodation available on the private market, but it does come at a cost. In experience it is advisable to look hard and focus on more than one agency. It’s possible to find a house or apartment in a Dutch city or village. Your budget and your choice of location play an important part in this.
Central position in Europe
A big advantage of coming to the Netherlands is traveling. From the Netherlands, you can reach most destinations in Europe within a few hours, by train or by plane.
The country is the home of one the best airports in the world. Schiphol offers, among other things, direct flights to anywhere in the world and it is less than an hour away from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Also, it is easy to reach by car and public transport. An alternative is the Rotterdam-the Hague airport. This smaller airport offers flights throughout many European destinations.