image/svg+xml Map of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Map of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) A blank map of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and countries fully surrounded by the EHEA. Every country has an id which is its ISO-3116-1-ALPHA2 code in lower case. Members of the EU have a class="eu", all EHEA countries have a class="europe", non-EHEA countries have a class="nonehea". Image based on by Júlio "Tintazul" Reis and Marian "maix" Sigler. Made by Colin Tück, EQAR, 2017 Released under CreativeCommons Attribution ShareAlike (
  • Governmental membership
    Netherlands has been a Governmental Member of EQAR since February 2008.

    Map: EHEA countries by governmental membership

  • General information on higher education

    The overall responsibility for the higher education system lies with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science and the State Secretary (junior minister) for Education, Culture and Science. Further responsibilities lie with the Inspectorate of Education overseeing the legal compliance of institutions and the supervision on the functioning of the accreditation system.

    Highed education in The Netherlands is offered by:

    • universities and institutions for higher professional education (HBO) funded by the government, 

    • private-sector institutions that do not receive government funding.

  • National external quality assurance requirements

    The Accreditation Organisation for the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) is tasked to assess and ensure the quality of new and existing programmes and institutions of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders.

    • Limited (initial) accreditation
      Same as for full (initial) accreditation except that the focus of the assessment is limited to four standards: intended learning outcomes, the curriculum, the assessment system and the achieved learning outcomes (when available for new programmes).

    • Full (initial) accreditation
      mandatory for all new and existing programmes in higher education. A conditionally positive decision in the initial accreditation procedure entitles the programme to award valid degrees and diplomas and has two years to meet the conditions set in the assessment. The duration of positive accreditation is for six years. Programmes are assessed in clusters within the same domain.

    • Institutional audits
      are optional. A positive result entitles institutions to use the limited frameworks for (initial) accreditation.

      In 2017, Netherlands started its second round of institutional audits that will focus more on the realisation of the educational vision and the development of a quality culture.

  • EHEA key commitment

    Fully aligned with the ESG

    A fully functioning quality assurance system is in operation nationwide, in which all higher education institutions are subject to regular external quality assurance by an agency that has successfully demonstrated compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA (ESG) through registration on EQAR

  • Cross-border quality assurance

    Recognising foreign agencies based on their own framework/requirements

    for programme accreditation only (with the exception of initial accreditation).

    • Eligibility requirements for foreign agencies: the QA agency must agree its Terms of Reference with the Accreditation Organisation for the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) and the panel secretary must be trained by NVAO.

    • Conditions for the agencies’ work (e.g. criteria to be used): own criteria

    • Recognition of reviews carried out by foreign agencies: NVAO will take the final decision of based on the result of the assessment / accreditation procedure.

    Map: recognition of cross-border quality assurance

  • European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes

    European Approach available to all higher education institutions

    The recognition procedure for joint degrees is further integrated with the process of assessment for (initial) accreditation

    Map: availability of the European Approach for QA of Joint Programmes

Registered agencies operating in Netherlands