Despite The Netherlands being a relatively small country within Europe of around 17 million people, it has one of the highest numbers of top ranking global Universities, with 8 in the top 100.

Several years ago Universities in The Netherlands had the foresight to spearhead English tuition courses as a means to attract international students. With a continuing increase in the number of undergraduate courses taught in English each year and the highest number of postgraduate courses taught in English outside the UK, coupled with low tuition fees and an open and multi-cultural environment, the student population in The Netherlands has grown rapidly, particularly the international student population which has grown 40% between 2007 and 2011 alone, one of the highest growth rates in the world.

Amsterdam has the country’s largest student population, of which 5% are foreign.  Maastricht has the highest number and proportion of international students in the Netherlands; 7,500 students account for 38% of its total student population due to its location, strong international exchange agreements, international themed study programmes and fully bilingual status.


The future prospects for the Netherlands are positive: the number of students is expected to grow by 7.1% over the next 12 years. English language tuition and low fees will continue to attract foreign students and tens of thousands of new beds are needed to accommodate this expected growth in student numbers across the Netherlands by 2025.

The lack of student specific housing means the current provision rate runs at less than 20% and although there has been a number of Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) developments since 2011, before this the market was almost entirely dominated by the social housing sector and private landlords.

The Netherlands is therefore still an immature PBSA market, lagging behind the likes of more established countries such as the UK. Crosslane identified the supply and demand imbalance some time ago and started to identify development opportunities for a property portfolio of student accommodation across the region, starting with the first development in Amsterdam and with ambitious plans to reach a target of 7,500 beds in the next 5 years.