Studying Abroad

Studying abroad can affect the recognition of professional qualifications in the Netherlands

If you are considering studying abroad, it's important to know that this can have an impact on the recognition of your professional qualifications in the Netherlands. Completing a Dutch master's program plus Dutch professional experience is the starting point for registration. This applies to all four titles. If you study (part of) your program abroad, you may encounter a recognition process before registration in the Netherlands is possible.

Studying Architecture within Europe

If you study architecture and remain within Europe, familiarize yourself with the architecture diplomas that the Architects' Register automatically recognizes. These diplomas are listed by country in Annex V of Directive 2005/36/EC. This annex also specifies any additional certificates required for automatic recognition. Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland have separate agreements with the European Union for the recognition of professional qualifications. Diplomas from these countries that lead to automatic recognition are not listed in Annex V but in the relevant agreements. If the foreign diploma qualifies for automatic recognition, you can directly register in the Dutch Architects' Register.

Don't have the required additional certificate mentioned? Then, in the Netherlands, you must first complete the professional experience period before registration is possible unless the Architects' Register deems that you have already gained professional experience equivalent to the professional experience period in the field of architecture. We generally assume that this is the case if you have gained at least 10 years of professional experience after graduation.

Additionally, there may be 'mixed qualifications.' This occurs if, for example, you obtained the master's degree from country 1 and gained professional experience in country 2. This can have implications for the recognition of your professional qualifications. To be eligible for automatic recognition, the diploma and the additional certificate must be obtained in the same country. In practice, this is often resolved by requesting a declaration from the competent authority of the country where you obtained the diploma, stating that they recognize your professional experience.

It's important to note that not every country requires a professional experience period. Some countries, for example, require a (state) exam or a specific declaration. All of this complicates the (automatic) recognition of mixed qualifications. Within the EU, the architects' registers are working hard to make additional agreements for the architecture discipline, which would lead to automatic recognition of mixed qualifications in the future. However, this has not yet been achieved.

Studying Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, or Urban Planning within Europe

If you study interior architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning abroad, it's important to know that the profession and title are not protected in all European countries. Also, not all countries offer academic-level programs. Research this thoroughly beforehand because not all programs are automatically recognized in the Netherlands. In principle, we must recognize an educational title from another EU member state (or from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland) that grants access to the profession unless there are significant differences compared to Dutch educational requirements.

If indeed there are such differences, we may impose compensatory measures (adaptation internship or aptitude test) for recognition to bridge those differences. If the differences cannot be bridged, the Architects' Register may reject recognition.

This also applies to European architecture programs that do not qualify for automatic recognition.

Studying Outside Europe

If you want to study outside Europe, it's important for all four disciplines to get well informed beforehand if you eventually plan to register in the Netherlands. The difference in programs can sometimes be significant. Make sure to choose an accredited program at the very least.

If you want to learn more about this or have other questions about studying abroad and recognizing foreign professional qualifications, please contact the Architects' Register.