This paper seeks to better understand the influence of international organizations within the national policy domain by examining the OECD’s use of peer reviews. Focusing on one such review in the Netherlands, it asks: why are these reviews commissioned, who is involved, how are ideas about educational governance promoted, and how do they impact national policy. Data comes from inter- views with OECD and ministry of education members who were central to the review process. Findings show that policy influence is exercised through subtle mechanisms including socialization, net- working and negotiation. Both parties sought to benefit from the review, particularly from the OECD’s perceived reputation as an ‘external expert,’ able to redirect politicized issues into more tech- nical channels. Further, the Netherlands’ status as a ‘good student’ and the partially restricted voice of the OECD in the Dutch context appear significant factors impacting the nature of the review pro- cess and national policy outcomes.