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In the Netherlands, education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16. More and more bilingual secondary schools are appearing.

State system of school education

In the Netherlands, education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16. Primary education is intended for children aged 4 to 12 and is compulsory for children aged 5 and over. Most primary schools are still taught in Dutch, but there are some bilingual primary schools.

In these schools, children learn in English from 30% to 50% of the day, starting from the age of 4. More and more bilingual secondary schools are appearing. In these schools, at least 50% of subjects are taught in English. Children speak English, for example, in geography or history lessons, or during physical education. About half of the academic subjects are taught in Dutch. Schools follow a Dutch curriculum and children must take Dutch exams after school. In the Netherlands, parents do not pay for primary and secondary education, but schools may ask parents to make a voluntary contribution to the costs of extracurricular activities. Parents also pay for after-school care and lunchtime supervision. Schools may ask parents to pay a voluntary contribution for items such as: after-school camps; excursions; cultural activity. Parents decide if they want to participate in these activities and if they are willing to pay a fee.

Information for Ukrainians 2022

Children from Ukraine have the right to education in the Netherlands. Parents register their child at a local school. When parents register their child, the school will work with the parents to discuss options. This may include special integration classes for newcomers to the school who have experience helping refugee children. Municipal authorities help parents who are in temporary reception centers to find a school for their children. Parents are free to register their child in the school of their choice.

How to choose a school?

Most Dutch children go to primary school and then to a secondary school located in the neighborhood, so they can walk or cycle to school. In most municipalities you can choose your own school, but in Amsterdam, for example, there are school districts. This means that your children are only allowed to attend school in the area where you live. If you can make the choice yourself, it is good to know that there are many different types of primary schools in the Netherlands, including Jenaplan and Montessori schools. At you can find all the schools in your new area. In some cities or districts, there are so many children that children have to be put on a waiting list.

List of documents

To enroll your child in school, you will need:

  • Your child's Burgerservicenummer – BSN (civil service number);

  • your child's birth certificate or identity document.

Features of private schools

There are both public and private institutions at all levels of the education system; private institutions are mostly based on religious or ideological principles. According to the constitution, the state provides equal funding for both public and private schools. In order to be eligible for government funding, schools must, among other things, meet statutory requirements regarding the minimum number of students and the number of classroom hours. Some international schools are partially funded by the government, while others are private. For a subsidized international school, annual fees range from €3,600 to €6,000, while private school fees range from €12,000 to €24,000.

Language of instruction, availability of integration classes

Education is conducted in Dutch, but more and more schools teach in English.

Visa, visa issues

In connection with Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, the governments of the EU, Georgia, Canada and the USA provide Ukrainians with war protection programs. Ukrainians seeking refuge from the war on the territory of these countries will receive residence and employment permits, and their children will be given the opportunity to continue their education in local schools.

If you intend to travel to the Netherlands outside of the war protection program and intend to stay in the Netherlands for a period longer than 90 days, you must obtain a temporary residence permit (MVV), also informally known as a "long-term visa". You can apply to the Immigration Office of the Netherlands (IND) for this permit. It is important to apply at least 3 (three) months before your planned stay in the Netherlands. More information on submitting documents for a long-term visa (MVV) for residents of Ukraine.

Important links

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