How much does a PhD, Postdoc and Professor earn in the Netherlands?

How much does a PhD, Postdoc and Professor earn in the Netherlands?
Salaries at Dutch universities are set at the national level and are listed in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO-NU). An academic’s place on the salary scale (found on page 80 of the CAO-NU) is determined by his/her position, qualifications and experience. The salaries in this article are exclusive of taxes. Dutch salaries are supplemented by an 8% vacation allowance (paid in May or June) and an 8.3% year-end allowance (paid in December). Income tax is high at 36.5% or 52%, but foreign academics are often eligible for the 30% scheme which allows them to receive the first 30% of their salary tax-free.


A doctoral student in the Netherlands is called a promovendus . A Dutch PhD usually takes four to complete. As doctoral students, they are considered employees rather than students and usually hold the position of Assistant-in-Opleiding (AiO) or Onderzoeker-in-Opleiding (OiO).

A doctoral student earns €2,266 to €2,897 per month (P scale).


After obtaining their PhD, many researchers pursue a post-doctorate, often at another university or in another country. A post-doc is a continuation of the researcher’s training that allows him/her to further specialize in a particular field and to acquire new skills and techniques. A Dutch postdoc lasts two years.

The salary range for a postdoc is €3,545 to €4,852 per month ( scale 11 ).

University Professor

This position is equivalent to the rank of assistant professor and is the first permanent academic position. The initial contract is often for four years, at which time the academic is evaluated and the position may become permanent. If the position becomes tenured, it is not uncommon to remain in that position until retirement.

Recently, tenure-track academic docent positions have been introduced, as many Dutch academic jobs are temporary and job security is perceived as very low. A more experienced candidate with the potential to become an academic hoofdocent can become a tenure track academic docent. After four to six years, their performance is evaluated and those who have published and received significant grants are promoted to the rank of academic hoofdocent.

Salary scales for a university docent range from €3,545 to €5,513 per month (scale 11 and 12) depending on qualifications and level of experience.

University Hoofdocent

A University Hoofdocent is equivalent in rank to an Associate Professor. Traditionally, to become a University Hoofdocen t, a University Docent had to apply for a vacant position. However, it is now possible to be promoted to this position based on performance. This is a permanent position and it is not uncommon to remain an academic hoofdocent until retirement.

Salary scales for a university hoofdocent range from €4,911 to €6,567 per month (scale 13 and 14) depending on degrees and level of experience.


A hoogleraar is equivalent to a full professor and is at the top of the Dutch professorial hierarchy. They have substantial research achievements that have established them as an international or national leader in their field. The position is similar to that of a department head in that a hoogleraar supervises all other faculty in their department or group. They are also the only ones who can supervise doctoral theses. Unlike the American tenure system, there is no automatic promotion to hoogleraar. To become one, a hoofdocent universitair must apply for a vacant position.

The salary range for a hoogleraar is from €5,441 to €9,563 per month (scale H2 and H1) depending on qualifications and level of experience.

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