Studying for free in The Netherlands?

Studying for free in The Netherlands?

Studying for free in The Netherlands is possible if you know the tips and tricks on finding scholarships and grants. The Netherlands is a choice of many internationals when studying because majority of the population speaks English and you are not required to learn Dutch especially when it is at masters and PhD levels. There are many courses or programs that are offered in English even at Bachelor’s level making the schooling in Netherlands even more inclusive.

I started entering the academia in 2010 by studying for free in The Netherlands. I got a master scholarship that covered costs of tuition, health insurance, travel allowances, and living expenses during the 2 years duration of my study in the Netherlands. Afterwards, I entered a PhD program wherein I also had to find various scholarships and grants to cover my program. In my current position in the academia, part of my task is to also find funding, which could be used for offering funding for students’ research and thesis as part of their studies in The Netherlands. Given these experiences, I will share where to look for Master’s program scholarships and grants for studying for free in The Netherlands.

Photo from Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

Full scholarships for studying for free in The Netherlands.

1. Knowledge Orange Programme (Masters and short courses)

This full scholarship is for short courses ranging from 2 weeks to 12 months and masters studies from 1-2 years of the Dutch universities that offer OKP qualified courses. The aim of this scholarship is to promote advancement in the capacity, knowledge and quality of the individuals and their organisations in the fields related to the priority programmes of OKP. This scholarship is offer to nationals of almost 30 countries. To check if you are eligible, check this site of StudyinNL.

2. Erik Bluemink Scholarship (Masters Program)

The Erik Bluemink Scholarship is a fully funded scholarship for future master students at the University of Groningen. Nationals from all countries worldwide are eligible to apply. It covers the costs of tuition fee, international travel, subsistence, health insurance, and books. This scholarship focus on study areas, such as Arts, Medical Sciences, Law, Spatial Sciences, Philosophy, Science and Engineering, Economics and Business, Behavioral and Social Sciences. To know more, check the link of Erik Bleumink Scholarship.

3. Justus & Louise van Effen Excellence Scholarships (Masters Program)

This scholarship is another fully funded scholarship available for all nationalities worldwide who would like to do masters study (2 years) at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). The amount a recipient can receive is either 30,000 euros per year for non-EU students or 11,500 euros per year for EU students. See the link to full details of this scholarship. The main requirement to qualify for this scholarship is that the candidate has a Grade Point Average of 80% or higher during the bachelor degree from an internationally renowned university outside The Netherlands. Interested with this scholarship? Check further their requirements and how to apply in this site.

4. Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Scholarship

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Scholarship is a fully funded scholarship for nationalities worldwide who want to do a master at 3 universities in Europe, with at least 1 university associated to the Programme of Erasmus. The scholarship include the tuition fee, travel, and living allowances. To know more about this programme, check this site of Erasmus Mundus on scholarship.

5. Utrecht Excellence Scholarships

This scholarship is targeted to excellent (top 10% of the class) non-EU students who would like to study in Utrecht University. The scholarship can be in full (tuition fee + required income required by immigration office for staying in The Netherlands) or partial (tuition fee only) for a period of one year. It is possible to renew this scholarship on 2nd year when following a 2-years master’s programme. Want to know more information? Check this site for Utrecht Excellence Scholarships.

6. Maastricht University Holland High Potential Scholarships for International Students

This full scholarship targets highly talented students outside EU who plan to do masters at Maastricht University. The amount of scholarships is 30,000 euros, including tuition fee waiver, living expenses (€12,350 – 13 months; €23,750 – 25 months), health and liability insurance (€700), and visa application costs (€207). This programme requires academic excellence, meaning that you belong to top 5% of the graduating class during your bachelor, and not age above 35 years old. Check this website of Maastricht University Holland High Potential Scholarships.

7. L-EARN for Impact Scholarship (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

L-EARN for Impact Scholarship is targeted to mid-level professionals from developing countries listed by World Bank. This scholarship aims to support the individual and country’s development based on the master program that the grantee will follow. The amount of scholarship is 15,000 euros and a tuition fee waiver. Upon finishing the master’s programme, the condition is to return to their home country to use the new set of skills and knowledge obtained in his/her study in order to contribute to social and economic development of the country.

Partial Scholarships for studying for free in The Netherlands

In case that you do not qualify for full scholarships, there are still available scholarships and grants that partially cover your study in The Netherlands. Often, these scholarships are provided by the University and the government of The Netherlands. Below are some of these scholarships.

8. Holland Scholarship

The Holland scholarship is a contribution of 5,000 euros for non-Europeans who are applying for a bachelor or master’s program in The Netherlands. This scholarship is awarded every year and can be received by the recipient once. The website of this scholarship is at

9. Leiden University Excellence Scholarship

This scholarship targets outstanding (among the top 10% of the class) non-EU nationals enrolling in a full-time master’s programme at Leiden University. The scholarship can be in various amounts, such as 10,000, 15,000 or total tuition fee minus statutory fee. Check this site for information related to this type of scholarship.

10. Radboud Scholarship Programme for International Students

This scholarship is even to non-EU students who will follow a master’s program at Radboud University. Instead of paying the full amount of tuition fee (16,000 euros), the grantee will only have to pay around 2,000+ euros, which is the amount a Dutch or EU nationals pay when enrolling in a Dutch university. If you follow a two year masters’ program, it is possible to apply on the 2nd year with a condition that you passed all the courses in the first year. The website of this scholarship can be found here.

11. University of Twente Graduate Scholarship

This scholarship is open for both EU and non-EU students who are on top of their class (belonging to 5-10%) during their bachelors’ studies. The scholarship can range from 3,000-22,000 euros per year and is given to a number of qualified programs within University of Twente. It is possible to apply again this scholarship during the 2nd year, if the master’s program is for two years, once you satisfied the requirement of the scholarship. Need more information? Here is the website of University of Twente Graduate Scholarship.

12. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Fellowship Program (VUFP) for International Students.

This scholarship is open for both EU and non-EU students who will follow a masters’ program at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The VUFP is a contribution towards the costs of tuition fee. If you apply for VUFP, it is also possible to combine it with Holland Scholarship, which costs around 5,000-10,000 euros during the first year of study. One condition or requirement for applying the VUFP is that the applicant has an excellent academic grade (GPA equivalent to 8.0 in Dutch standards). If you are interested in this scholarship, check the VUFP site.

13. Study a Master’s in Europe Scholarship

This scholarship is given by and is a contribution of 5,000 euros for doing a master’s degree in Europe. The application requires filling out a form and a short essay consisting of 400-500 words, related to the question: Why did you choose your study abroad country, and how will it help you grow as a globally-minded leader?

Other Scholarships (Country-NL Collaboration) for studying for free in the Netherlands

In addition to in-house scholarships from the universities, there are also scholarships that are provided as a result of collaboration between The Netherlands and specific countries. These include for example Sino-Dutch Scholarship (China), NRF-Nuffic Programme South Africa (South Africa), and OKP-LPDP: StuNed Joint Scholarship Programme (Indonesia).

Did I miss something in the lists or do you want to give your best advice for studying for free in The Netherlands, feel free to leave a comment. If you are interested to know the Dutch academic system, I also made a blog about Differences between Dutch and Asian Universities.

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