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Academic culture

The academic culture in The Netherlands is different from that in other countries. Generally speaking, there is little hierarchy and professors tend to be easily accessible. Some general characteristics of academic culture in the Netherlands:

  • Dutch people in general and academics in particular tend to have a strong opinion; they enjoy a good discussion. Having your own opinion and being critical are important values for Dutch people. Teachers appreciate these critical and passionate discussions in the classroom because they are usually seen as a sign of highly engaged and interested students;
  • Competition hardly plays a role in the Dutch educational culture. The teacher establishes a minimum score and passes all students who meet this criterion; 
  • Dutch society runs on rules: individual exceptions are rare. The same rules apply to everyone and aim to ensure fair and equal treatment for all;
  • Because you are seen as an independent student, teachers will inform you about the study material while they leave the specific planning to you. Assignments can come up with few instructions and leave room to choose your own approach.
  • If something is troubling you, you are expected to take the initiative to find a solution. You need to take the first step and contact an academic advisor or someone else to help you.