Our story

The opportunity of a lifetime

Since 1949, the Stichting Fulbright Commission the Netherlands has welcomed thousands of outstanding American and Dutch students, scholars, and teachers through its doors for the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to study, research, and teach abroad in either the United States or the Netherlands. Our programs have been changing lives for 70 years, but we have remained unchanged in our commitment to fostering transformative experiences through education and the promotion of mutual understanding between citizens of the United States and the Netherlands.

The Fulbright name is globally associated with aspiration, ambition and achievement. Active in over 160 countries and with a network of accomplished alumni that includes 37 heads of state and 59 Nobel Prize winners, Fulbrighters young and old are change-makers everywhere. The Netherlands is no exception. Each year we welcome open-minded, American strivers to the Netherlands and send ambitious Dutch students and scholars to America to conduct research, study, and teach in each other’s countries. The most meaningful exchanges, however, often occur outside the classroom. Rarely has there been a more exciting, or important, time to experience and contribute to this special TransAtlantic relationship.

We live in a world with unprecedented opportunities for communication, but those platforms do not automatically lead to any sort of deep understanding across cultures. Studying, researching, or teaching in the Netherlands and the friendships that arise through those experiences, become invaluable and unique connections.

The Fulbright Commission also provides practical guidance to anyone interested in learning about the American higher education system. We are passionate about education and the value of learning in another culture. One of our programs that is unique to the Netherlands allows young Dutch students to spend a year as a visiting student at a U.S. university, experiencing the American liberal arts approach to undergraduate education and campus life while contributing an international perspective in the classroom.

If you are an American interested in exploring life and learning in the Netherlands, or an insitution hoping to partner with us, we may be able to offer you the chance of a lifetime. Get to know us and discover how.


A little more history

The Fulbright Program was the vision of US Senator J William Fulbright, who yearned for a peaceful and prosperous world. He believed that if people had the opportunity to immerse themselves in each other’s cultures, nations would never again find reason for war. His chosen vehicle was a global academic exchange program that would be implemented around the world, with each agreement drawn up on bilateral lines.

A 1949 bilateral treaty between the US and the Netherlands created one of the first Fulbright programs in the world. The first Dutch Fulbrighters crossed the Atlantic for the United States that year. In 1972, a new bilateral treaty restructured the existing entity as the Netherlands America Commission for Education Exchange, often known as “NACEE”. Starting in 2004, NACEE became known as the Fulbright Center. And in 2019, the NACEE was reorganized as the Stichting Fulbright Commission the Netherlands. Throughout, our purpose has endured.

Since then, thousands of American and Dutch students, scholars, and teachers have benefitted from the opportunity to study and work in each other’s countries, and the experience has influenced their lives and careers long after returning home.

In 2019, our awards span every discipline. There are awards for artists and scientists, filmmakers and mathematicians, actors and doctors, MBAs and MFAs, PhDs and MPAs. They come from communities across the US and the Netherlands. Our alumni have gone on to be politicians and authors, business professionals, musicians and creatives.

Now operating as the Stichting Fulbright Commission the Netherlands, the program has changed and evolved over the years, including the development of programs specific to the Netherlands and offering information and advice on all aspects of the US higher education system. However, we remain committed to the enduring belief that those who spend time immersed in another culture will have a profoundly different and deeper understanding of the world, make lasting friends and return home more rounded and empathetic global citizens.