When you come to the Netherlands to study you will probably expect that many things are different than in your home country: climate, lifestyle, traffic, food, clothes and religion for example. The grading system may also not be the same at what you are used to.

To help set your expectations of the Dutch system, we have provided a short explanation below.

Ten point grading system

There are many different grading systems in the world, such as (from highest to lowest grade) 5 to 1, 10 to 1, 20 to 1, 100 to 1, 1 to 5, A to F. In the Netherlands a ten point system is used in both secondary and higher education. A grade of 10 is the highest and 6 is the minimum pass grade.

Grade Meaning
10 Outstanding *
9 Very good *
8 Good
7 More than satisfactory
6 Satisfactory
5 Almost satisfactory
4 Unsatisfactory
3 Very unsatisfactory *
2 Poor *
1 Very Poor *

* The grades 1-3 are hardly ever awarded and 9 and 10 are very rare.

Grading systems compared

Several countries use grading systems that look similar to the one used in the Netherlands. One example is the 1-100 system. However, it would be inaccurate to compare a 90-100 grade in such a system with a 10 in the Dutch system, or a 80-90 with a 9, and so on.

An 80 in China, for example, is not considered a good grade since most grades in higher education in China are between 80 and 100. In the Netherlands, however, an 8 is a very good grade, since most grades are between 6 and 8; only excellent students achieve a grade higher than 8.