Netherlands, Academic Career Structure

Netherlands 

 

Introduction

Competitiveness: the Dutch university system presents a relatively high degree of competition in line with the main features of the Anglo-Saxon model, while offering a relatively high degree of job security and stability.

Openness to non-nationals: the Dutch system is relatively open to non-nationals. Some faculties use the American ranking and some top faculties require international experience for obtaining a tenured position. Click here for more information.

Postdoc: the Rubicon programme offers postdoctoral grants to national and non-national researchers. Click here for more information on this and other opportunities.

Entry positions: sometimes even with a Ph.D. you have to start out as a docent to get into the system or to obtain the necessary teaching experience. The position of universitair docent should lead to tenure, but always starts out on a probationary period of at least two years. Check here for more information.

Career requirements/progress: promotion to professorship can take place in many ways but usually involves some evaluation of a candidate's academic performance. Check here for more information.

Temporary/permanent positions: despite decentralisation, university staff remain civil servants. The positions of lecturer, senior lecturer and full professor are generally permanent positions.

Salaries: see the section on salaries for more information.

Gender: the Netherlands has a very low proportion of female staff, which has been explained by reference to the university system's emphasis on full-time appointments and overall gender bias. Click here for more information.

Universities and research institutions: click here for a list of Dutch universities.

Job postings: check the Dutch Academic Career Network and Alle vacatures van Nederland (in Dutch) for job openings in the Netherlands

 

Higher Education in the Netherlands 

 

The Netherlands has two main types of higher education: universities and universities of professional education. Universities focus on the independent practice of research-oriented work in an academic or professional setting. Universities of professional education are more practically-oriented, preparing students directly for specific careers.

There are thirteen normal universities in the Netherlands, including three technical universities and the Agricultural University in Wageningen, and an independent government-funded institute for distance learning at university level.

The distribution of government grants to the universities partly depends on such performance indicators as the numbers of diplomas, first-year students and doctoral degrees. Universities may divide their state aid between 'education' and 'research' as they see fit. Each university bears the cost of its housing and infrastructure.

The Dutch research system is a complex system with many actors, funding mechanisms and inter-relations. Research in the Netherlands varies from basic research to applied research, and is carried out on a wide array of topics. Each Minister is responsible for research policy related to the topics of his/her Ministry. The Minister of Education, Culture and Science has a co-ordinating role, and co-ordinates Dutch research policy. The Minister for Economic Affairs is responsible for co-ordinating the Dutch technology policy.

 

Career Curriculum

1. Ph.D. Candidate
2. Postdoctoral Researcher
3. Lecturer (universitair docent)
4. Senior Lecturer (universitair hoofddocent)
5. Full Professor (hoogleraar)

In order to facilitate the international recruitment of their staff, some faculties have started to equate the Dutch ranking system with the American one of full professors, associate and assistant professors.

 

 

Job Requirements

For the position of postdoc, a Ph.D. is necessary. One usually has a postdoc position for two years, with the chance of renewal.

 

Research Career

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Barriers to Career Advancement

Critics say that in order to attract and keep highly-qualified staff it is important to offer clear career perspectives and if possible to shorten career paths, as they are generally long.

As regards the presence of women in academica, the Netherlands has one of the lowest proportions of female staff in Europe (in 2006, 11% of full professors, 16% of senior lecturers, 29% of lecturers).

Explanations for gender disparity include the emphasis on full-time appointments (which disadvantages women who want to work part-time and therefore have a lower research output), a gender bias as expressed in subtle mechanisms in the science system as well as in staffing review procedures.

 

Job Security

Despite the decentralisation of the higher education system in the last decade, university staff remain civil servants. The positions of lecturer, senior lecturer and full professor are generally permanent positions.

 

Contracts and Duties

Lecturers, senior lecturers and full professors all have both teaching and research duties. It is left to the individual universities and faculties how the different job tasks are assigned.

 

Sabbatical Opportunities

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Gross salaries, 2007  

 

Start

Average

Max

Ph.D. Candidate

--

--

--

Postdoc

--

--

--

Lecturer

2,279 €/month

--

5,670 €/month

Senior Lecturer

4,242 €/month

--

6,841 €/month

Full Professor

4,830 €/month

--

8,259 €/month

Source: Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch Universities, 2006/07 and Egbert de Weert (2004), 'The Academic Workplace. Country Report The Netherlands' (see below)

N.B. In the Netherlands taxes are approximately 40%

 

Number of Existing Positions, 2002

 

--

--

All Disciplines

Ph.D. Candidates

--

--

--

Postdocs

--

--

--

Lecturers

--

--

4,749

Senior Lecturers

--

--

2,232

Full Professors

--

--

2,327

Source: VSNU/WOPI, 2002

 

Internal Recruitment

Please contact us or comment below if you can provide relevant information.

 

Accessibility for Non-Nationals

The Dutch academic system is relatively open to non-nationals. In recent years, many Eastern European and Asian scholars have obtained positions in the Netherlands.

In order to facilitate international recruitment, some faculties have started to equate the Dutch ranking system with the American ranking. Some top faculties explicitly require international experience at a leading research institute for obtaining a tenured position.

 

National Universities

There are fourteen universities in the Netherlands:

 

Research Institutions

A number of institutes carry out academically-oriented research under the flag of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW):

  • NWO: The NWO's mission is to enhance the quality and innovation of fundamental scientific research and to promote the dissemination of research results. It has nine institutes of its own in the fields of astronomy, mathematics and computer science, physics, history, marine sciences, law and criminality, and space research.
  • KNAW: The KNAW is responsible for the quality of science in the Netherlands and  has 18 institutes in the humanities and the provision of scientific information.

 

Academic Unions

 

Useful Websites

 

Info for History

 

Info for Economics

 

Info for Law

 

Info for Social and Political Science

 

Postdoctoral Information

  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences - KNAW
  • Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research - NWO: Among other things, the NWO launched the Rubicon programme to encourage talented researchers at Dutch universities and research institutes to dedicate themselves to a career in postdoctoral research. Rubicon offers researchers who have completed their doctorates in the past year the chance to gain experience at a top research institution outside the Netherlands (maximum of two years). The Rubicon programme also offers talented researchers from abroad the opportunity to obtain grants to spend one year conducting research in the Netherlands.
  • See also the websites of the universities

 

Websites for Job Postings

 

Sources

Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch Universities, 2006/07

Egbert de Weert (2004), 'The Academic Workplace. Country Report The Netherlands' in J. Enders and E. de Weert, (eds.), The International Attractiveness of the Academic Workplace in Europe. Frankfurt, Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft 107, 290-309.

 

Special thanks to:

Karin Tilmans, Programme Coordinator Max Weber Programme, EUI, and Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam 

Page last updated on 12 November 2014