Information for expats: Are you looking for a school for your children? A Dutch public school may be the answer

If you are planning to stay for a longer period of time in The Netherlands, then a Dutch public school may be a good choice for your younger kids.

School hunt

When moving to The Netherlands with children, your first plan might be to send your kids to an international school. The curricula are of high quality and are furthermore known all over the world. But if you are planning to stay for a longer period of time in The Netherlands, then a Dutch public school may be a good choice for your younger kids. The public schools are of excellent quality, you kids will learn a new language and, furthermore, it is easier for them to integrate in the Dutch society. But it must be difficult to find a school by yourself, you might think. Young Expat Services can help you find a suitable school for your children.

First of all, you have to know how the Dutch school system works. From 4 till the age of 12, children will go to a primary school. From the age of twelve, they will attend a secondary school, which may take 4 to 6 years, dependant on the level of education. There are 4 levels: VMBO, HAVO, VWO and Gymnasium.

You have to decide for yourself what kind of school is best for your kids. Are you moving around a lot? Then it might be best for them to attend an English speaking school, since learning a new language doesn’t make much sense (unless you will be moving to Belgium). But otherwise it can be a good idea to choose a Dutch public school.

There are many advantages of a such a school. First of all, your kids will learn Dutch. Secondly, this way you will learn Dutch sooner as well. Your children will get to know Dutch kids and make friends with them, which might be the best way to integrate in a new society. But there are more advantages. Most schools are being monitored by the government and are free. This way you can save the large fees that accompany many private schools. Public schools tend to ask a small fee a year to cover extra costs for, for example, extracurricular activities.

Most children in The Netherlands go to a public school that is very close to home (let’s say a couple of kilometres away at most). This way you can become a real Dutchman by dropping of your kids by bicycle!

If you decide to send your children to a public school, they will first have to learn the language. Children will follow a language class or Nieuwkomers class from the age of 6 for 1 to 1.5 year before they will attend a public school. Some Nieuwkomers classes start at the age of 4 or 5 years, so check the policy in your municipality. This way you’ll make sure your kids will understand the classes and they can make friends with Dutch kids sooner, since they speak the same language; and hopefully you as parent will integrate sooner as well.

Young Expat Services is happy to help you find a suitable school for your kid(s). They have all the knowledge and contacts necessary. They can furthermore help you integrate in the Dutch society. For more information, take a look on their website or send an email to:

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