New intake of Bachelor's students

In the 2022/'23 academic year, 60,049 people entered a university bachelor's degree programme.

This includes only students who have not previously been enrolled in a Dutch Bachelor's programme.


The bachelor's intake in academic year 2022/'23 on 1 October is approximately 2,900 students (4.6%) less than academic year 2021/'22. At that year there was a higher-than-expected intake in the bachelor's degree programmes, especially of pre-university pupil intake (vwo). The increase in pre-university education intake was caused by the larger number of scolars who had taken their final exams in the 2019/20 academic year and had passed there. In addition, due to the COVID situation, fewer graduates took a gap year, but more students started directly in higher education. This was aso the case  academic year 2020/'21.


The unexpectedly large increase from last year is partly the cause of the lower intake in the current academic year:


  • the group of pre-university students who had taken a gap year after pre-university education was less, so there will (logically) be fewer students from that category in 2022/'23.
  • the VWO pass rate in 2020/'21 was not nearly as high as the year before, which means that the number of VWO graduates is also lower;
  • pre-university graduates (vwo) in the 2020/21 academic year are more likely to take a gap year.

All this means that the intake in the current academic year is less than in the previous academic year and also less than a number of years before.



The number of bachelor's students formaerly educated at a universite of applies sciences who enroll in a bachelor's programme is less then the previous year.


The influx of international students has increased slightly in the 2022/'23 academic year




Premaster students

People who want to study a master's degree, but still have to make up for a number of deficiencies, are usually enrolled as a pre-master or bridging student. These persons are administratively placed with the bachelor's degree programme. The "premaster" phase has now been included for the first time in the national basic register with effect from the 2020/21 academic year. This means that from this academic year onwards, the pre-master's group can be distinguished from regular bachelor's intake.

  • In the 2020/21 academic year, 11% (7,487) of the first-year WO bachelor's intake will consist of students who are following a bridging programme.
  • In the 2021/'22 academic year, 11% (= 6,945) of the first-year university bachelor's degree is a bridging student
  • In the 2022/'23 academic year, 9% (= 5,443) of the first-year university bachelor's degree is a bridging student 


NB: Students of the Open University are not included in the national basic registration. It is also possible to follow a pre-master's program at the Open University. On December 31, 2022, the Open University had 1,596 new first-year pre-master students



Intake groups

Pre-university: Vwo intake

In the 2022/23 academic year, approximately half of the intake into bachelor's programmes consist of students with a pre-university degree of: "vwo-diploma" who enroll in a scientific Bachelor's degree programme immediately after obtaining the degree or: with one or more gap years.


In 2022/'23, 29,215 former pre-university students started a university bachelor's degree. That is 1,600 (-5.2%) less than in the previous academic year. This includes both newly graduated students and students who have previously obtained a degree at pre-university.

NB: former pre-university students who start with a higher professional education program and subsequently progress to university are counted in the statistics as “hbo intake”.


Less VWO graduates 

In 2019/'20, due to the adjusted final exams due to COVID-19, the number of pre-university students who obtained a diploma was considerably higher than expected: nine percent more than anticipated in the so called Referentieraming made bij OCW. In 2021/'22, the number of VWO diplomas with 35,604 was back at the level of the years before COVID (see table below).

However: the share of VWO graduates who immediately go on to university after obtaining their VWO diploma was at 66.7%, the lowest level since 2001.





Intake form universites of applied sciences (HBO)

The number of students with a higher professional education background transferring to universities is lower in academic year 2022/'23 than in the previous academic year.


The intake of students coming from universites of applied sciences in university bachelor's programs can be divided into two groups:

  • students with the intention of following a university bachelor's program and completing it with a university bachelor's degree;
  • students who want to follow a master's program but who are not (yet) fully admissible. By means of a so-called pre-master's program (also called: bridging programme), it is possible to eliminate deficiencies and subsequently gain access to the master's programme. A bridging program has a limited scope of maximum 60 EC. In the 2020/21 academic year, more than half of the HBO intake will be a pre-master student.


NB: There are programmes that choose not to offer a pre-master's programme, but to eliminate deficiencies through contract education. The extent of this is unknown: contract students are not recorded in the national register of educational participants (ROD).


Intake of international students

With a total of 18,902 students, the international intake in the bachelor's degree programmes consists largely of students from the European Economic Area (EEA) (76%) and within this group: mainly German students. 7% of the bachelor's intake comes from Europe, but from outside the EEA and 17% of the intake comes from outside Europe.


The range of English-taught Bachelor's degree programmes and the fact that Dutch universities are highly visible in international rankings contribute to the reputation of the Netherlands as a country with excellent higher education institutions.


NB: The United Kingdom will no longer be included in the EEA group in the 2021/'22 academic year.


A small number of international students follow a pre-master's programme in order to eliminate deficiencies that hinder access to the master's programme.




Last updated on 14-3-2023