About the Netherlands
With Belgium to its south, Germany to the east and the North Sea to the north, the Netherlands is a northwestern Europe country made up of twelve provinces and three Caribbean islands. Known for its windmills, tulips and happy residents, the country is famous for its dikes -- about one-fifth of the land in the Netherlands is below sea level and the extensive dike system keeps flooding at bay. Leading industries include shipping, fishing, trade and banking. Notable Dutch artists include Vincent van Gogh and M.C. Escher. The Netherlands is also known as the World's Legal Capital, as The Hague is host to the International Criminal Court and several other international courts and tribunals including Europol and Eurojust.
The Legal System in the Netherlands
The Netherlands follow a civil law format based on the French Civil Code with some influences from traditional Dutch law and Roman Law. In 1992, the country put civil law books in place that outline its legal code, and that has helped the country grow into a leader in the legal world. The Dutch Parliament is the main law-making body in the system.
Study Law in the Netherlands
The Dutch Law Degree
Studying law in the Netherlands requires a commitment of time, but the benefit of being able to earn a law degree in a country that follows a civil law approach and is known as the legal center of Europe makes the course of study worthwhile. Earning a law degree in the Netherlands begins with an undergraduate law degree (bachelor of law or LLB), which requires three years of study, followed by a master of law degree (LLM), which requires one year of study.
Learning a Law Degree in the Netherlands
Legal study takes place at law schools, most of which are connected to major universities in the Netherlands. International students can apply to an International Law program, which focuses its education both on the legal field and also on the unique educational needs of international students who may not be fully informed about the Dutch civil law perspective.
The Dutch academic year begins on the first of September and runs through the 31 of August the following year, with 42 weeks of study. The model is based on the European Credit Transfer System and is easily comparable to the other European legal programs.
To be accepted into an international law school program in the Netherlands, you must be able to speak and write English well. Apply to the school of your choice, and use your acceptance letter to apply for your student visa. This grants you a preparatory year to use to prepare for your studies, so you can find work, if needed, locate a place to live and complete any necessary training for entrance into the program.
Studying law in the Netherlands provides an excellent foundation for practicing around the globe. Law professors in the Netherlands are recognized internationally for their understanding of civil law, and this means greater job prospects for international students. Students who wish to stay in the Netherlands will find ample job opportunities. Many major corporations come to the Netherlands to have their disputes settled. A degree from the Netherlands makes practicing law in other civil law countries easier because of the excellent reputation of these law programs.