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Foto: Sterre van der Hee

UvA continues to grow because of internationals: now, there are over 40,000 students

Henk Strikkers,
4 november 2021 - 14:22

This year, there are more first-year students at UvA than last year. The number of first-year bachelor’s students is growing by 8 percent, the number of first-year master’s students by 2 percent. That growth is entirely caused by international students. The university is concerned.

For the first time in history, more than 40,000 students are studying at the University of Amsterdam. In five years, the number of first-year students has increased by 46 percent. This growth is almost entirely due to international students. Their number grew from 831 to 3,240 in five years; almost a fourfold increase. Without those international students, the number of freshmen would have increased by only 180 students in five years.

‘Apart from room problems on the campuses and the huge student housing shortage, the workload for employees has become unacceptably high’

The UvA is worried. For years the policy has been to stop growth, but according to Geert ten Dam, chair of the UvA board, ‘this is the limit’. The rate at which student numbers at the UvA are growing causes concern, she says. ‘Apart from room problems on the campuses and the huge student housing shortage, the workload for employees has become unacceptably high.’


The quality of education, the relatively low tuition fees and the growing number of courses offered in English result in more and more international students choosing for the Netherlands and the UvA. Moreover, there are relatively few studies in the Netherlands with a selection procedure. It was also expected that students who wanted to go to the UK would now opt for another European country because of the Brexit; perhaps they chose the Netherlands.


According to Ten Dam, it is high time that ‘instruments’ are created to ‘manage inflow’. Ingrid van Engelshoven, the outgoing Minister of Education, Culture & Science, had a plan for this: a numerus fixus for so-called tracks within a study. However, after the cabinet fell at the beginning of this year, that proposal was put on ice.


Fewer Dutch students

Of this year’s freshmen, 40 percent are from abroad. The majority of the students are from Europe, where Germany (413 freshmen), Italy (223), and Poland (202) are purveyors. Most freshmen from outside Europe are from China (206), the United States (83), and India (83).


These international students mainly choose the faculties where many English-language courses are offered. These are the Faculty of Economics & Business Administration, Faculty of Social & Behavioral Sciences and the Faculty of Humanities. Those are the only three faculties that have more first-year students this year than last year. No faculty welcomed more Dutch first-years than last year.