Move to Netherlands


If you intend to relocate to the Netherlands and need to find a school for your children, the following information will help you out in understanding the Dutch educational system and getting an overview of the plenty of options to choose from.

The Dutch Education system consists of Primary, Secondary and higher education. Primary education starts with kindergarten at the age of four and as from the age of five, children are obliged to attend school on full time basis. In total, primary education lasts for eight years, after which pupils are advised the most appropriate education to pursue.

Parents can choose between three types of primary:

  • Public schools which fall under the authority of the municipality and do not include or teach particular religions and convictions;
  • Schools based on certain educational philosophies;
  • Schools based on a particular denomination.

In the last year of the Primary Education, pupils together with their parents have to choose a type of secondary education. Generally, they are guided on the right track mainly by a test called CITO-toets.

There are three types of studies to pursue:

  • MAVO (lower general) programme lasts four years and is job orientated;
  • HAVO (upper general) programme lasts five years and prepares students to a university of professional education;
  • VWO (pre-university) curriculum lasts six years, it is more intensive and prepares students for university

Dutch Universities offer three types of degree; Bachelor’s, Master’s and P.hD degrees. Universities of Professional Education are based on seven different sectors; agriculture, engineering and technology, economics and business administration, health care, fine and performing arts, education and social welfare.


Foreign students have the opportunity to follow one of the several international programmes offered by the Dutch higher education sector. The studies are conducted in English and most of them lead to a Master’s degree. Generally students applying for international courses are required to have completed a higher education programme such as a Bachelor degree or its equivalent in their own country.

At the moment there are around 1,000 international courses one can choose through nuffic (Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education):
International Study Programmes finder

International Schools in The Netherlands

AFNORTH International School Brunssum
American International School Rotterdam
American School of The Hague
Amsterdam International Community School
Arnhem International School
British Schools in the Netherlands 
Dr. Aletta Jacobsschool, Arnhem 
Elckerlyc Montessori Primary School 
European School Bergen
German International School, The Hague 
Groningse Schoolvereniging, Groningen 
Indonesian School in the Netherlands, Wassenaar (+31 705 140 113)
International Haagsche School The Hague
International School Eerde, Ommen 
International School Het Rijnlands Oegstgeest
International School Hilversum ‘Alberdingk Thijm’ 
International School Maastricht
International School Maartenscollege
International School of Amsterdam
International Secondary School Eindhoven
Iranian Community School, The Hague 
Joppenhof Primary School Maastricht 
Le Lycee Francais Vincent Van Gogh, Amsterdam 
Lorentz International School, Arnhem (+31 263 200 110)
Polish School in The Hague 
Rotterdam International Secondary School 
The International School of The Hague
The Japanese School of Amsterdam
The Japanese School of Rotterdam 
Violenschool International Department Hilversum

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