In 1973, the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) was founded in Amsterdam as a national umbrella organization for five university student councils from different cities in the Netherlands. These students felt the need to discuss affairs and exchange information with fellow student council members from other cities.

Quickly ISO expanded and started to represent university students from the entire country. Since 1995, ISO also represents students of universities of applied sciences. As of today, ISO represents 35 organizations (december 2013).



Higher education offers students the opportunity to develop themselves as individuals. Equally important is the transfer of knowledge and skills that contribute to the advancement of the society and the economy.

The Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) chooses to represent ambitious, critical and curious students as well as students who want to own these qualities. This requires high-quality education that is created by students and teachers in consultation with the labour market and society.

Full vision (in Dutch)



In the beginning, the mission of ISO is to represent all university and universities of applied sciences students. Secondly, it is to make sure that higher education is accessible for all people who are motivated and have the intellectual capacity to finish an education, regardless socio-economic and financial-economic background. Thirdly, pursuing of a high quality higher education system. And finally, pursuing compliance with all national and international norms on higher education that contribute to the above.

Facts & Figures


  • Founded: 1973
  • International name: Dutch National Students’ Association
  • Full members: 33
  • Candidate members: 2
  • Convenant partners: 6
  • Representing: ca. 700.000 students
  • Board members: 5
  • Employees: ca. 8



Thinking about completing a (part) of your studies in the Netherlands? In Pathfinder, you’ll find all the relevant information for international students about studying in the Netherlands. All the information is provided and guaranteed by the responsible (government) agencies and  is always up to date.

Go to Pathfinder




ISO is a full member of the European Students’ Union (ESU). ESU is an umbrella organization of 45 national student associations from 38 different European countries (June 2015), and represents all European students in Brussels.



ISO is an associated member of the Netherlands house for Education and Research (Neth-ER). Neth-ER has nine members (januari 2014) and is a representation of the Dutch knowledge field in Brussels.

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