UP TO DATE NEWS YOU NEED
09 Aug 2017
If you're thinking of moving to The Netherlands with children, you need to know about how they're going to be schooled.
Choice is the key to Dutch education. There is a wide variety of schools in the Netherlands education system offering many options to parents.
With so many options in mind, it's even more important you have a clear idea of what they are, and which will suit your family best.
Education in the Netherlands is compulsory for children of all nationalities between the age of 5 and 18, but most children start primary school the day after their fourth birthday, having previously attended childcare centres or preschool.
For overseas parents choosing a Dutch education for their children, the main choice is between a local Dutch school and an international school.
Some children may be better suited to one of the many international schools set up in the Netherlands, but if you plan to stay in the Netherlands for a significant length of time, it may be a good idea to choose a Dutch school.
Foreign children aged six or older are required to follow a Dutch immersion programme before joining regular education.
School application procedures will vary depending on which city or town the school is located in. Some operate lotteries for school placement and others have strict application deadlines and criteria, so it is important to check with the local school authority as early as possible, though Dutch public schools are obliged to take in students unless they are full.
Primary education in the Netherlands lasts for eight years, and in the final year, children take what is known as the CITO test, which determines their aptitude in a range of areas.
At the age of 12, pupils begin secondary school education, either working towards a vocational or an academic diploma, depending on their ability. For the first four years, all pupils study the same subjects and in the final two years, they choose more specialised subjects.
At the age of 18, students can move into third-level education, at either a vocational or an academic university.
There is also a parallel international higher education program. Higher education is not free in the Netherlands, although fees depend on your nationality, age and subject of study.
EU or EEA nationals pay fees at a level set by the government, which are up to 10 times smaller than standard Dutch tuition fees.