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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.5 Cross-border learning mobility

Last update: 1 December 2023
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  1. Policy framework
  2. Main cross-border mobility programmes for students in formal education
  3. Promoting mobility in the context of non-formal learning, and of youth work
  4. Quality assurance

Policy framework

In this section, Cross border-mobility is interpreted as internationalization.

Internationalization in education

Nuffic is the Dutch organization for internationalization in education, from primary and secondary education to vocational and higher education and research. Their ambition is international experience for every pupil and student. The Nuffic head office is in The Hague and they have 6 offices around the world. Together with national and international partners, they strive to further the development of pupils and students, as well as the development of teachers, professionals and organizations. Nuffic provides information about scholarships, internationalization, diploma recognition, study and work in the Netherlands and capacity building. 

Cross-border learning mobility in higher education

In the publication Dutch students crossing borders Outbound student mobility in higher education (2005-2021) (Feb 2023) Nuffic elaborates on cross-border learning mobility of students in higher education. The analysis focuses on two types of outbound mobility: students going abroad for a full degree programme (degree mobility) versus for part of their studies or an internship (credit mobility). For the analysis data are brought together from a range of sources, including UNESCO, Statistics Netherlands, Erasmus+ and the European Commission. The aim of the report is to inform the discussion around internationalisation in Dutch higher education and to provide a resource for policymakers in the field of international education. The conclusions are: 

  • Number of Dutch degree students abroad has doubled in 10 years
  • Most students gain their foreign experience within the European Economic Area EEA
  • Steep decline in degree mobility to the United Kingdom since Brexit
  • Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on outbound credit mobility
  • Dutch students prefer credit mobility to degree mobility
  • Most students in Dutch higher education do not gain experience abroad

Nuffic is working together with partners in the higher education sector to make an international experience accessible to everyone.

Main cross-border mobility programmes for students in formal education

Governmental interest

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) is the responsible ministry for cross-border mobility in education. The Ministry aims to stimulate international experience for students and devotes special attention to the subject of education and internationalization on the central government website.

The government encourages students to study or do an internship abroad as it will benefit Dutch economy. This includes students in higher education as well as in vocational education. On its website, the Government states that there is a need for well-educated employees with international experience to maintain the Dutch role in the world economy. By studying or doing an internship abroad, young people learn about and get to know other languages and cultures. At the same time, they learn what distinguishes their own country from others and what connects countries with each other. Also, foreign experience helps students to find a job more easily.

Many colleges and universities offer exchange programmes with foreign educational institutes. A student can study abroad partially or full time. 

NL Scholarship

The NL Scholarship (formerly known as Holland Scholarship) is meant for international students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to do their bachelor’s or master’s in the Netherlands. Together with universities and colleges the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science distributes scholarships every year. About 40 research universities and universities of applied sciences participate in this Scholarship.

Stimulating internationalization of higher education and scientific research

The cabinet created other possibilities for internationalization for Dutch higher education. With the Bill on Stimulating internationalization of higher education and scientific research (only in Dutch) the cabinet unfolded their plans on the subject. The Bill applied as of 1 September 2017, except for the possibility to allow Dutch institutions for higher education to ask permission to cater an educational path abroad. In 2018 the starting point of this part of the Bill was published.


The Erasmus+ program (in Dutch) offers a variety of opportunities for higher education students and education professionals to interact with organizations within and outside the EU, to exchange knowledge and ideas, and to collaborate with international organizations and policy makers.

Promoting mobility in the context of non-formal learning, and of youth work

Mobility of young people and youth workers

Key action 1 of the programme Erasmus+ stimulates the mobility of young people and youth workers in Europe. Young people boost their chances by participating in youth exchanges and volunteer projects. Subsidy is also possible for the professional development of youth workers by means of training and network activities.


Quality assurance


Nuffic is the Dutch organization  for internationalization in education. According to Nuffic Quality assurance and internalization (in Dutch) is important. Government and organizations have more attention for the subject. Training programs use various instruments to guarantee and monitor quality:

  • MINT (Mapping Internalisation) is an instrument that institutions can use to map their internationalization activities and goals. Nuffic developed it together with higher education institutions.
  • Nuffic participated in the European project 'Indicators for Mapping and Profiling Internationalization' (IMPI). The aim was to develop a Europe-wide toolkit with which institutions can measure their internationalisation.
  • The European quality assurance label, CeQuint, assesses whether internationalization contributes to achieving the goals of an institution or programme. An education institute can request this label from the Dutch-Flemish accreditation organization (NVAO). The quality assurance label is issued by the European Consortium of Accreditation agencies (ECA).

In international cooperation it is important to be able to rely on the quality of the partner institution. Knowledge about education systems is essential for this. Nuffic’s Educational Comparison team offers a great deal of expertise in this field.