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Studying an LLM (Master of Laws) program in the Netherlands

Find LLM programs in the Netherlands

LLM in the NetherlandsIf you are looking to gain an international LLM in the heart of Europe, why not consider studying your LLM in the Netherlands? The Netherlands, also known as Holland, is a country situated in the west of Europe and borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and the North Sea to the north and west.

If you are fond of travelling, the Netherlands provides you with a very handy base for exploring the rest of Europe, with European capitals including Brussels, London, Paris, Madrid and Berlin all within easy reach. Because of this Netherlands is often known as the gateway to Europe.

While the Netherlands is a small country, it has a lot to offer whether you are looking for cruises, boat trips on the canals, beaches, cultural festivals or great food. Amsterdam – the capital city – has grown into a global commercial center and has very developed infrastructure.

Rotterdam is considered to be one of the largest sea ports in Europe, and global companies such as Shell, Akzo Nobel and Unilever all have a presence in Netherlands.

Reasons to study your LLM in the Netherlands

There are many reasons to study your Master of Laws in the Netheralnds – let's take a look at some of the main ones.

1.English language skills

If you wish to practice law in the Netherlands after you graduate, then you must undertake your undergraduate and postgraduate law degrees in Dutch. However, if you are planning on practising internationally or are already qualified, there are a large number of LLM courses available in English. Most law schools in the Netherlands offer LLM courses in English, including the University of Groningen. A large proportion of the population of the Netherlands speaks English, but if you decide to study your LLM in English, you should attempt to learn a little Dutch to improve your time in the Netherlands.

2. Historical study of the law

Many of the universities in the Netherlands have a long tradition of teaching the law which makes them highly ranked and extremely well respected places to gain your legal education. For example, Leiden Law School was established in 1575, the University of Amsterdam was established in 1632, and the University of Groningen has been teaching law since being founded in 1614.

3. International connections

The international hub of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam makes travelling around the world easy to do. It is also easy to travel from the Netherlands by train or car to large parts of Europe and to the tuitions of the EU in Brussels or to the international organisations, like the World Trade Organisation, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

4. Wide range of LLM subjects

Law schools in the Netherlands offer a great range of LLM specialisms. Topics that have an international emphasis are particularly popular, such as International Commercial Law, International Human Rights Law, Technology Law, Energy Law or the Law of the European Union.

5. Reasonable tuition fees

For Dutch and EU students, tuition fees for a first masters level course studied in the Netherlands are comparatively low compared to many other European countries. The standard tuition fee for a first masters level course is just over €2,000 per year. However, if you are an international student or this is your second masters level course in the Netherlands then the tuition fee for an LLM tends to be around €15,000, which is similar to LLM courses around most of Europe.

6. Well respected law schools

Most of the law schools in the Netherlands feature in the top 300 law schools worldwide as ranked by the QS worldwide rankings, and the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University are both ranked in the top 50 law schools in the world. This table illustrates the number of different LLM programs that are currently available to study at law schools in the Netherlands.

Dutch Law School

Number of LLMs

University of Amsterdam Law School


Erasmus University Rotterdam School of Law


Leiden University Faculty of Law


Maastricht University Faculty of Law


Radboud University Nijmegen Faculty of Law


Tilburg University Faculty of Law


University of Groningen Faculty of Law


Utrecht University Faculty of Law


Vrije University Amsterdam Faculty of Law



Dutch education

Dutch institutions offer internationally recognised degrees and their quality of education is ensured by means of being accredited from the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders. Famous names of scientists and academic scholars are associated with the Netherlands, and the Erasmus Mundus scholarship takes its name from the best known Dutch philosopher and humanist, Desiderius Erasmus.

Although Dutch is the national language, a large percentage of the people speak and understand English and this makes communication for international students easy. Foreign languages such as German or French are also spoken hence, there are plenty of opportunities for language immersion. As the number of international students coming to study in the Netherlands is increasing the universities offer a unique, diverse and multicultural experience.

Law schools in the Netherlands

There are various universities and law schools which can be chosen from that offer LLM courses taught in English including:

LLM programs at most of these institutions can be taken on a full-time or a part-time basis, spread over two years for those looking for more flexibility or who wish to stay connected to their career while studying at the same time.

In terms of the Master of Laws structure, the academic year is divided into two terms comprising of lectures, followed by examinations at the end of the term. There is a great diversity of specialisations offered at law schools in the Netherlands, including: Law and Economics, International Tax Law, European Law, Corporate Law, Globalisation and Law, Criminal Law, Human Rights and Criminal Justice, Labour Law and Competition Law.

Studying an LLM in the Netherlands

Application procedures and requirements

Application deadlines: most of Dutch universities have enrolment twice a year in September (autumn) and February (winter). The deadlines vary from March toMay for programs starting in September, and November to December if the LLM course starts in February.

Required documents: a bachelors degree in law is required to apply for an LLM program at any of the universities in the Netherlands. As the LLM is taught in English, proof of competency in English is very important. Most universities require the following documents at the time of application:

  1. Proof of your bachelors degree.
  2. Proficiency in English demonstrated by results of TOEFL, IELTS tests or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English test for non-native speakers. Some universities accept results of other English language proficiency tests. Please check with the respective university for details. The required scores are at least 550 (paper based) or 213 (computer based) for TOEFL. For IELTS, a score of at least 6 is required.
  3. A Curriculum Vitae (Resume), reference letter(s) and a letter of introduction.
  4. Results of Dutch language test  may also be required but only for programs in Dutch language, although it would of course be useful to understand Dutch if you are going to be living in the country for a year.

Fees, finances and funding 

Studying an LLM in the NetherlandsPostgraduate education is relatively inexpensive in the Netherlands, and generally tends to be the same across all of the law schools. For students travelling from the EU and who have not studied at the postgraduate level before, tuition fees for an LLM are around €2,200 per year.

At the University of Groningen, international students pay €15,000 per year for full-time study and at Leiden University the international student rate for their LLM program is €18,300 per year. For students who are from the Netherlands or the EU and have studied a masters level course before, the fees tend to be somewhere close to the international student tuition fee rate.

There may also be a registration fees for some institutions – generally, students will be required to pay this sum upfront before joining or they can sometimes make payments in installments.

The tuition fees does not include accommodation, food, travel or books which must be paid for separately by the students. It is advised that students set aside €1,000 per month for living expenses. Many institutions may require the entire amount of the tuition fees and living expenses to be transferred into a bank account in the Netherlands before the visa is granted.

There are some scholarships and grants available offered by individual institutions. Also, the Dutch Ministry of Education offers scholarships to nationals of various countries. Check on the website of your preferred institution to see what financial help is available.

Visa requirements for the Netherlands

For citizens of the European Union member countries no visa is required, all that is required is a valid passport.

International students from outside the EU require a student visa to gain entry into Netherlands (Authorisation for Temporary Residence (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf (MVV)). The procedure usually takes up to six weeks. The conditions, requirements and terms of the visa are subject to change so students are required to consult the embassy/consulate in their home country to obtain information prior to applying. By way of guidance the following documents are required for the entrance visa:

  1. Valid passport.
  2. Letter of acceptance from university of admission.
  3. Proof of finances by way of bank statements etc. or through scholarship letters.
  4. Health insurance.
  5. Vaccinations/health tests (this is applicable for citizens of certain countries).

PLEASE NOTE: As a result of Brexit, from Autumn 2021 postgraduate students from the European Union studying at a UK university will be charged the same tuition fees as international students. UK students studying their postgraduate course at a European university are also likely to incur higher tuition fees than their EU counterparts. It is advisable to check with the individual universities in the UK and Europe for up-to-date information on tuition fees for all postgraduate programs.


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