1. Key industries in the Netherlands

The Dutch are big on exports, research and innovation, and are environmentally ambitious so it’s no wonder that the Netherlands is extremely attractive to global industries and investors.

A world leader in designing making and developing high-tech equipment and products, the Netherlands is a frontrunner in both public-private research and "open innovation", with its Brainport region Eindhoven named "the world's smartest region" in 2011. It is an excellent example of how companies, research institutions and government can collaborate to foster knowledge and create innovative technology. This has resulted in an intensive collaboration between manufacturers, specialised suppliers and knowledge institutions.

The Dutch are experts in hydraulic engineering, flood control and protection, foundation technology and infrastructure. They are renowned for their ability to design and build storm surge barriers and levees, reclaim land through high-tech dredging and engineer entire coastal areas and harbours. The Dutch also excel at river engineering and maintenance and are pioneering climate adaptive construction, which allows houses to be built in flood-prone areas.

The Netherlands has an innovative chemical industry that makes a significant contribution to the economy. Some of the leading chemical companies in the Netherlands are AkzoNobel, Shell, DSM, Purac, MSD, and ECN. Leading research institutions include Twente University, Wageningen University TNO, Delft University, and Eindhoven University.

With a strong standing in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and a leading position in wind energy at sea, biomass processing and greenhouse farming, the Dutch have set themselves some ambitious challenges. With a commitment to have a reliable, sustainable and affordable energy system by 2050 and generate 40% of their electricity from sustainable sources, the Netherlands is investing heavily in innovation, design and public-private partnerships.

2. Does it make sense to study engineering in The Netherlands

Within the context of these key industry strengths and future ambitions the Netherlands is an ideal place to study engineering and have the opportunity to contribute to future cutting-edge innovation, design and technology.

Along with Denmark Dutch universities offer the widest range of English-taught Engineering degrees in Europe. Some notable courses to explore are:

3. Undergraduate opportunities to study engineering in English

Recognised as a "Top Rated Programme" by the Keuzegids HBO 2014 Awards the Advanced Sensor Applications programme at Hanze University of Applied Sciences focuses on the application of sensor systems in key social areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, consumer products, production companies and scientific research.

The University of Twente’s  Advanced Technology course is a broad technical programme with an eye for societal needs. It is unique as it gives students the opportunity to study several fields of study at the same time. Options include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, applied physics, chemical engineering, mathematics, and business administration.

Are you technically inclined and have a passion for motor vehicles and mechanical technology? Automotive Engineering at HAN University of Applied Sciences is a 4-year programme leading to a BEng. Mobility it changing rapidly and there is a demand for creative solutions that combine our mobility requirements with suistainable, social and technical developments.

Chemical Engineering at the University of Groningen: where students think about chemical processes in factories or help to develop new products rather than studying reactions in a laboratory.

The Civil Engineering programme at HZ University of Applied Sciences specialises in Coastal Engineering and covers areas such as hydraulic engineering, road construction, pipeline, bridges, dams, leves, canals and storm sewer design.

The Electrical Engineering course at the University of Twente sees students contributing to healthcare, energy and safety projects such as robotic arms, energy-saving batteries and predicting tornados by using small robots.

The Industrial Engineering and Management degree at the University of Groningen involves translating new technologies into usable solutions. You look beyond the technology. You analyse the problem, design a solution and consider the business aspects: finance, planning, logistics, and people.

The BEng in Industrial Design Engineering at The Hague University of Applied Sciences teaches students to design solutions for today’s complex challenges and to combine creativity with entrepreneurial skills, so that the products and services designed will also include building working prototypes.

4. Postgraduate opportunities to study engineering in English

If you are interested in health care and technology, the MSc programme in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Groningen offers you the opportunity to gain in-depth information on a broad-range of topics. You will study topics in the fields of imaging techniques, physiological control engineering, rehabilitation engineering, implant engineering, cell and tissue engineering and infection prevention, as well as aspects of medical ethics and law. You also become well-versed in medical and biological basic knowledge.

A student of the University of Groningen's MSc programme Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM) learns how to deal with practical problems in businesses. A focus lies on how to find solutions to problems while taking on a technical and scientific design perspective. The general aim of the IEM Master's programme is to train engineers to acquire a thorough overview of all primary and secondary business processes, especially with respect to the design of a technological product or process.

Complex, innovative and multidisciplinary projects in a dynamic environment call for a new breed of engineers who are able to expertly combine engineering knowledge with management skills. The University of Twente’s MSc programme in Construction Management and Engineering (CME) can train you to be just such an engineer. A hands-on expert who is able to combine the technical aspects of civil engineering projects with the non-technical.

Designing new products and improving existing ones is a continual process. The MSc in Industrial Design Engineering at the University of Twente teaches you the ins and outs of the world of industrial design. You will think about and design products that are safe, affordable and sustainable, and that are relevant both from a technological and societal point of view. The user experience will serve as an important frame of reference.

How can you design a slow-release drug system and produce it in sufficient amounts? How can we make biodiesel from the Jatropha plant? How can we use waste products for pharmaceutical purposes? These are some of the interesting questions you will be able to answer once you have completed the MSc degree programme in Chemical Engineering at the University of Groningen.

The MSc programme in Electrical Engineering  at the University of Twente teaches you how modern technology can be used to further enhance, accelerate or scale down electronics-based systems. Your work and commitment will result in high-tech applications in nanotechnology, robotics, electronics, biomedical and telecommunication technology.

5. What grades do I need to get in?

It is a safe assumption that you will need to have A’ Levels in Maths and Physics in order to be able to study engineering at university.

The grades required really depend on the university you choose. There are some world-class universities where you will need world-class grades just as there are in the United Kingdom.

6. Will my degree be recognised?

Theoretically, if you study engineering in the European Union then your degree will be recognised. However, engineering is perhaps the hardest of all subjects on which to offer clear-cut advice. It is essential that you check with the professional organisation responsible for your branch of engineering (for example, Institute of Chemical Engineers) as you may very well find that there are difficulties with some universities' qualifications.

If you study engineering in the United Kingdom, it is quite common to study a four year MEng qualification. In the Netherlands this route does not exist. To reach the same point you would need to take a 3-year BSc or BEng followed by a Masters degree that will typically last 2 years. This difference in approach can mean that it is difficult to switch from a UK degree to a Dutch degree upon completion of a bachelors degree.

7. What else should I bear in mind?

The most important thing for you to consider is whether your degree is recognised. After you have clarified that, then you have the choice of some excellent universities in the Netherlands.

Engineering courses at UK universities are probably the most likely to offer bursaries so it is worth considering that it may be cheaper for you to study in England than for most other students.

It is also worth bearing in mind that many Dutch universities teach BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) degrees. These differ from BSc qualifications.

Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences offer engineering degrees that have a greater focus on project management than actual engineering. Therefore it is particularly important that you check the course content in order to ensure it meets your requirements.

8. Does it make sense to study engineering abroad?

Depending on the branch of engineering you study, you can expect to have a very international career ahead of you.

Like most professions, engineering firms are extremely global in their operations. As a young engineer you might find yourself working on projects all around the world. It therefore stands to reason that an international education experience could help you prepare better than a standard university degree from a UK university.

Some thoughts from engineering students at Dutch universities

Liam Gerlin

Shaheer Shahid Nawar

Similar courses

About Study In Holland is an information service designed to assist British and Irish students in pursuing their university education in the Netherlands.

We have extensive knowledge of English-taught degrees in Holland and we also work with careers advisory services. is owned by A Star Future Ltd and is not affiliated with the Dutch government.