Schooling in the Netherlands

Under Dutch law, education is mandatory for all children of all nationalities residing in the Netherlands, from ages 5 to 18, and should be completed with a diploma. The author goes into the various forms of education in the Netherlands, of which we give you a short excerpt here:

Dutch schools are divided into: public (non-denominational) schools, where your child can enrol if you live in the same postal code; schools with a religious orientation; schools with a different curriculum such as e.g. Montessori or Dalton; and private schools. With the exception of a few, all schools are government-funded and are thus paid for via taxes.

Furthermore, in order to make international education more accessible, the Dutch government has started subsidizing international departments at regular Dutch primary and secondary schools throughout the country. Meaning you will find – next to the private international schools – subsidized international education at so-called ‘Dutch International Schools’, which feature an international curriculum, taught in English according to the international standard at a relatively low (but mandatory and non-negotiable) fee compared to private schools.

If you are looking for an after-school language program of your mother tongue at primary and/or secondary school level, it is best to contact your embassy for more information.

A complete updated list of international schools can be found at

Willemijn van Oppen
2017 Spring

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