International or Dutch: Education in Holland

Moving to Germany your options are pretty simple, however moving to Holland will have you tearing your hair out at the complexity of the Dutch education system! The simple fact (one of the only simple things about education in the Netherlands!) is that education of Holland is all about providing students of all ages with a broad choice of learning, commitment and qualification options.

So, when moving to Holland, what are you legal obligations in terms of children’s education? Under Dutch law, children from ALL nationalities residing in Holland are required to attend school between the ages of five and eighteen years.

International schooling is available at both private and public schools throughout Holland. Both are mostly free, “Private” usually more accurately means “Specialist”. Since 1917, equal state funding has been available to all types of school (e.g. those with particular religious conviction, subject focus, education ideologies etc), increasing the number of privately run establishments significantly.

Choosing the right school for your brood depends on a number of factors; amongst them are length of stay, children’s ages, financial situation, location and study aims. For example, if relocating to Holland with very young children, assimilation into a Dutch-speaking public or private school could help them settle. Older children could reconcile with the move more effectively through education at an International School.

Specific International Special Schools are rare, and entry is usually via referral. However, some international, and many public and private schools, provide Special Needs teachers. Dutch education places great emphasis on educating students with special needs in mainstream schools.

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