Make it in the Netherlands

14 Sep 2015 | Genoveva Geppaart

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Bonding international students to the Netherlands

In 2014,  the programme Make it in the Netherlands ! (2013-2016) started. It is a joint plan of EP-Nuffic (previously called Nuffic) together with research universities, universities of applied sciences, municipalities and businesses. The aim is to make it easier for higher education institutes and companies to work together and retain talented international students for the Dutch job market.


Five courses of actions

The programme consists of five courses of actions:

1. It all starts with language. Aim:  improve the Dutch   language skills of international students and improve the English language skills of lecturers
2. From studying to career. Aim: to promote and facilitate the transition from study to work for international students
3. Breaking the bubble (i.e. connect with Dutch people). Aim: to promote the integration of international students into Dutch society
4. From red tape to red carpet. Aim: to improve and streamline administrative procedures and information services
5. Regional results. Aim: attract and retain international talent for regional job markets

The results achieved so far are described below.


It all starts with language

A serious game has been developed on Dutch language and culture in the form of an app. It is called “ Hoi Holland” and can be downloaded free of charge from the App store and the Google Play store.


From studying to career

In order to ease the transition to the job market, information on the Dutch job market and information on those professions most in demands per sector and per region is made available on

On a lot of information is available about working in the Netherlands after graduation.


Breaking the bubble (i.e. connect with Dutch people)

In order to build long-lasting ties with the Netherlands, buddy programmes are successful. In these programmes, Dutch students serve as buddies for international students. In 2014,  a Buddy Day was successful. Such a day will be held annually and hosted by a higher education institution. The Holland Alumni network ,, has expanded to foster permanent ties with the Netherlands.


From red tape to red carpet

Information on student grants and loans, residence permits and other administrative procedures has been compiled in a web application called Pathfinder, which is available for  research universities, universities for applied sciences  and other organisations that focus on international students.  One example can be viewed at: :


For employers, a toolkit has been developed which serves as a quick guide  and gives an overview of the applicable rules, regulations and application procedures to help hire talented international students. These factsheets are available in both Dutch and English. 


Regional results

Project plans for bonding international students in the regions West, North and East have been carried out and recommendations have been made.

Regional cooperation and joint recruitment and marketing activities are being deployed to attract international world-class talent from Turkey and Poland (approximately 70-100 science and technology talents) to the Brabant region and assist them with finding suitable jobs. This pilot is concentrating on the IT, engineering and economics & finance clusters.


The full programme is available on


A report on the results achieved after 1 year is available on


Original programme "Make it in the Netherlands"Report "Make it in the Netherlands"- one year after the startInformation on the Dutch job marketWorking in the Netherlands after graduationToolkit for employersHolland Alumni Network


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