Dutch universities want more balance in internationalisation

In the context of Universities of the Netherlands (UNL), Dutch universities have agreed to take measures to balance the internationalisation of Dutch university education.

This was announced on the UNL website today. Minister Dijkgraaf encourages the sector in this self-regulation, with a view to maintaining the quality and accessibility of study programmes at Dutch universities. In addition, the House of Representatives (Hertzberger motion) asked all universities to formulate a plan to reduce the proportion of English-language study programmes.

All universities underline the crucial importance of internationalisation. The measures now announced aim to balance internationalisation by, among other things, boosting Dutch language skills and expanding Dutch as a language of academic instruction. Furthermore, a provisional stop has been put to the introduction of new English-language Bachelor's programmes (with some exceptions). If this is legally possible, a capacity stop could be introduced for English-language study programmes that also have a Dutch-language track.

The impact of the measures will differ from university to university, as the baseline situation varies greatly, for example in the number of international Bachelor's programmes and students: some Dutch universities have many more English-language Bachelor's programmes and international students than Radboud University.

Radboud University is and remains a Dutch and a European university, with partnerships around the world, where students and staff from outside the Netherlands study and work. President of the Executive Board Daniël Wigboldus expressed this eloquently in his column, entitled Choosing each other (24-11-23). “Our University is proud of its diversity. And as far as we are concerned, we can embrace diversity even more at Radboud University. With our different backgrounds, disciplines and ways of thinking, and coming as we do from many countries, we join forces to contribute to the development of research, young people, and society. And in doing so, we contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all.” Radboud University values the contribution of its international staff and students as much as that of all other staff and students.

A lot is as yet unclear and requires further elaboration. Our guiding principle remains that we are a university where other languages play a role alongside Dutch, and where we work every day to achieve a good balance between our regional, national, European, and international roles. In the coming period, the Executive Board will talk with faculties and, where applicable, staff and student participational bodies, to see how concrete elaborations of the announced measures can be given shape at our university. Employees and students will be informed of any developments through the usual communication channels and/or by their supervisors and student advisors.