Comparing national policies on institutional profiling in Germany and the Netherlands

Matthias Klumpp*, Harry de Boer, Hans Vossensteyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The concepts of differentiation and profiling are cornerstones in discussions about the organisation of contemporary higher education systems, following the trends of massification and global competition. This contribution provides a system-level description and comparison of the German and Dutch higher education systems regarding these topics, and points to possible interactions and development concepts connecting differentiation, strategic profiling of universities and excellence. Though both higher education systems started from very different positions and with differing policies towards differentiation, the global trends and national aspirations for the systems, as well as individual universities in Germany and the Netherlands, are comparable. A look into the resulting ranking positions of German and Dutch universities generally shows a more successful development for the Dutch higher education institutions in the last few years – which could possibly indicate a crucial time lag in the effects of differentiation policies in higher education as the German excellence and differentiation efforts fundamentally took hold more than 10 years after the Dutch initiatives in this field
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-176
Number of pages21
JournalComparative education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2014


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