Study with Besan

What is a transition year?


As a newcomer to the Netherlands you may want to continue your education. If so, then you may be required to do a transition year (schakeljaar) first. But what is a transition year, and what does it involve?

By doing a higher-education transition course, you can move on to start an HBO (higher professional education) course within one year. So, a ‘schakeljaar’ is a kind of preparatory year for your further education.

Admission requirements

Only students who don’t come from the Netherlands may qualify for a transition year. These are the requirements that have to be met:

·        Your knowledge of Dutch must be at least B1 level.

·        You must have completed education/school in your country of origin that is at least comparable with HAVO or MBO 4 in the Netherlands.

·        Your knowledge of English must be at least A2.

·        You should have good computer skills.

·        You should be planning to follow a higher education course in the Netherlands.

Subjects to be studied

The subjects you study during the transition year will depend on the higher education course you intend to do, and the relevant admission exams, but most people study the following subjects: Dutch, English, mathematics, biology, history, physics and chemistry.

At the end of the transition year, your knowledge of Dutch should be at Staatsexamen NT2-II level. You will also know what studying in the Netherlands involves, including things like attending lectures, making presentations, doing group assignments. This means you will be better equipped to make a success of your higher education course.

Where can you follow a transition-year course?

You can take a look at the educational institutions which offer transition-year courses by cliking here. Contact the contact person at the institution if you would like more information about the ‘schakeljaar’. .



With a certificate from your transition year and your NT2-B2 (Staatsexamen programma 2) diploma, you will be eligible to follow a bachelor course in the Dutch language.