12 Dutch Universities in the World’s Top-500 Universities

An assessment carried out by AllAboutUni.com found that Dutch universities do very well in the World’s Top-500 universities. AllAboutUni.com is an independent, global and interactive website where visitors can obtain information about universities (global rankings, student reviews, university news and campus pictures).

The analysis is based on a ranking of the World’s Top-500 Universities produced by the Institute of Higher Education at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Several indicators of academic or research performance are used to establish the ranking, these include staff winning Nobel Prizes, highly cited researchers and articles indexed in major citation indices.

There are 12 Dutch universities in the World’s Top-500 universities (2008): University of Utrecht (ranked 47th), University of Leiden (76th), Free University of Amsterdam (101-151), Amsterdam University (101-151), University of Groningen (101-151), Delft University of Technology (152-200), Erasmus University (152-200), Radboud University Nijmegen (152-200), University of Wageningen (152-200), University of Maastricht (303-401), Twente University (303-401) and Eindhoven University of Technology (402-503).

Comparison with the World’s Top-500 Overall,
the World’s Top-500 universities are mainly located in Europe (n=210; 40%), the Americas (n=190; 40%) and the Asian/Pacific region (n=100; 20%). The Netherlands, with 12 universities, represents 2% of the total universities in the World’s Top-500 universities. If one adjusts for population size (i.e. one calculates the number of universities in the Top-500 per 1 million inhabitants in the country), the Netherlands performs very well compared to other industrialised countries. The countries with the highest number of universities per million inhabitants are the smaller countries in Western Europe (Sweden (1.2 universities in the World’s Top-500 Universities per 1 million inhabitants), Finland (1.2), Switzerland (1.0), Austria (0.9), Norway (0.8)) and (Israel) (0.8). The Netherlands comes into the next group of countries with 0.7 universities per million inhabitants (this group includes Denmark, Australia, Hong Kong and the UK). The number of US universities per million inhabitants is 0.5.

Comparison with the World’s Top-100universities
Universities in the US clearly dominate the World’s Top-100 universities, with 58 universities. There are 23 European universities, of which two are Dutch (the Universities of Utrecht and Leiden).

The median age of the 12 Dutch universities is 112 years, ranging from 32 years (University of Maastricht) to 433 (University of Leiden). Many of the Dutch universities are young, with six of the 12 universities aged less than 100 years.

Endowments can play an important role in the operating budget of universities, as demonstrated by the AllAboutUni.com assessment of the world’s Top-25 universities. Only one of the 12 Dutch universities reported an endowment on Wikipedia [accessed 22 November 2008] and this was the Delft University of Technology (€460 million in 2007). This is a relatively small amount in comparison to the World’s Top-25 universities whose median endowment is $5.9 billion.

The overall performance of Dutch universities compared to the rest of the world is very good. Despite not being represented in the World’s Top-25 universities, they have a very good overall performance with a high number of universities per million inhabitants in the World´s Top-500. Another positive point is that many of the Dutch universities are young and have progressed to the World’s Top-500 universities over a relatively short time period. The strong overall performance of Dutch universities is probably associated with factors like the good management practices, the high level of public (and private) funding available to Dutch universities and the long academic tradition that exists in the Netherlands.

AllAboutUni.com was founded by John Paget and launched in November 2007. He has been visiting university campuses around the world since the 1980s and wanted to share this information with others. John Paget was brought up in Switzerland where he attended the International School of Geneva and was exposed to the growing demand for international higher education studies. John Paget studied Economics at the London School of Economics and then completed graduate studies in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.


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