Welcome to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a small, flat, water-rich country in the heart of Western Europe, close to Great Britain, Germany and France. It is friendly, open and internationally oriented. The Netherlands offers high living standards, with a highly educated general public and excellent health care and education systems. Importantly, most people in the Netherlands speak English. It is not only well known for the Royal Family, tulips, Amsterdam and beer, but also for arts, culture, technology and excellent science. Important cell biological discoveries started with the development of the first microscope by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and have continued over the centuries. The country scores very high on international scientific rankings and even much higher when the small size of its population is taken into account.

Cell biology in the Netherlands

Top-level cell biological research is done at Departments of Biology or Medical Faculties of the various Universities in the Netherlands. These include the University of Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Wageningen and the Technical Universities of Delft, Eindhoven and Twente. In addition, cell biological research is an important pillar in various research institutes, such as the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology in Utrecht and the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) and the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam. All of these University departments and research Institutes have PhD programs and continuously recruit PhD students and post-docs.

Studying cell biology

Cell Biology can be studied at the BSc level at biology or related faculties in Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden, Nijmegen, Utrecht and Wageningen. In addition, recently developed BSc studies nanobiology or clinical or biomedical technology at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam and the Technical Universities of Delft, Eindhoven or Twente provide excellent training in Cell Biology.

At the MSc level cell biology can be studied at the same universities, but also at Medical Faculties, such as the MSc programs Molecular Medicine at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam or Molecular Mechanisms of Disease at the Radboud UMC in Nijmegen, both programs providing a number of fellowships for MSc students.

In addition, there are always positions available for MSc students who want to be trained in cell biology during an internship in the various laboratories of Universities and research Institutes.

Funding in the Netherlands

National funding

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has divisions that fund research in Earth and Life Sciences (ALW), Health (ZonMW), Chemistry (CW), Physics (FOM) and Technology (STW).

Various more patient oriented funding agencies, such as the Cancer Foundation (KWF), Kidney Foundation, etc.

European funding

European Commission science funding program Horizon 2020 European Research Council (ERC)


Dutch NWO-fellowships, VENI, VIDI, VICI

European Commission: Marie Curie Actions

European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

Human Frontiers Research Program (HFSP)

More information

For more information and study possibilities in the Netherlands contact group leaders of the various universities and/or Research Institutes.

You can also contact, Dr. Gert Jansen, Dept. of Cell Biology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, vice-director of the MSc program Molecular Medicine (g.jansen@erasmusmc.nl) or the Board members of the Dutch Society of Cell Biology.