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Five Dutch universities land among the world’s top 100

Lists confirm knowledge-based claims

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM – Dutch officials like to present The Netherlands abroad as a knowledge-based economy. There are two recent external studies which confirm that there is truth to this otherwise self-serving claim. According to the Times Higher Education, the World Reputation Rankings 2012, five Dutch universities won their position among the world’s top education establishments. An earlier list ranks The Netherlands third overall.

Delft University scored the highest from the list of Dutch institutions, ranking 51st. The University of Amsterdam rated 71st, while Utrecht University followed closely with a 78th. The country’s oldest, Leiden, positioned itself at a more modest 87th place, while Wageningen University and Research Center, which specializes in areas such as agriculture, environment and food, rounded off the list with last place: 100th.

For a small country, the Netherlands is well represented on the international education rankings. The results are all the more remarkable, because it does not score well at all on the international higher education funding ladder. Many of the universities ranked above those of the Netherlands receive far greater funding and finance.


The list also reveals a lack of serious challengers to the overall ranking of the higher learning institutions in the U.S and the U.K. Harvard took first position, with 7 out of the top 10 spots going to U.S establishments. The most significant changes came from Asia, where Chinese universities are pushing upwards in their rankings. In contrast, U.K universities declined on the world-scale.

The list is produced by 17,554 leading academics from 149 countries who have evaluated campuses across the world according to their level of research and education. This survey is the largest of its kind ever undertaken.


Last fall, the same organization ranked the countries on their performance. It then rated The Netherlands as the world’s third "knowledge country", with 4 and 12 Dutch universities in the top 100 and top 200 respectively.

The United States and the United Kingdom headed that list with 44 and 10 universities each. The Netherlands shared its third place with Japan, Germany, China, Australia and France.