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Education in the Netherlands

Dutch Education

Dutch law strictly enforces compulsory education for children of all nationalities from age 5 to 18 years residing in the Netherlands.
Dutch Primary Education (primair onderwijs or basisonderwijs): Age 4 -12
There are eight years of primary schooling. Children are placed in group one upon entry, and move up a group every year. In their last year all children in Group 8 take the CITO- or NIO-test in February, which advises their next level of education. 
As of spring 2015, all children in Group 8 will be required to sit a test to assess numeracy and language skills. The government sets attainment targets in six curriculum areas: Dutch, English, arithmetic and mathematics, social and environmental studies, creative expression and sports and movement.

Dutch Secondary Education (voortgezet onderwijs): From age 12 to 18

From 12 years, pupils choose from vocational or pre-university diplomas based on their ability. In the first years all pupils study the same subjects to different academic levels. This is called the basisvorming, followed by a second stage in which specialist profiles are selected.
VMBO (four years): Prep school for vocational secondary education; those who achieve the highest level (theoretische leerweg) can enter HAVO studies. VMBO graduates must continue studying until age 18 or until they obtain a basic qualification (minimum MBO level 2).
MBO (one-four years): Secondary vocational education. MBO programs vary from one to four years depending on the level (1–4). A number of English-language programs are offered.
HAVO (five years): Senior general secondary education. Provides entrance to higher professional education (hoger beroepsonderwijs HBO) at ‘vocational universities’.
VWO (six years): Pre-University Education. Prepares students for academic studies at a research university (Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs WO). VWO schools can be athenaeum, gymnasium or lyceum (a combination of the first two). The difference is that Greek and Latin are core subjects in gymnasium programs.
English is a compulsory subject. VMBO pupils study one modern language.
HAVO/VWO pupils at least two. 
Other core areas include mathematics, history, humanities, arts and sciences.

Bilingual Education (TTO, tweetalig onderwijs)

The Hague
Sint-Maartenscollege Voorburg's website
Rijnlands Lyceum Wassenaar's website
Grotius College's website

International Education

The Hague
The International School of The Hague's website
European School of the Hague website
The American School of The Hague's website
Deutsche International Schule Den Haag's website
Lycee Français Vincent van Gogh's website
The Polish School's website
Other locations
The British School in the Netherlands' website (Den Haag, Voorschoten, Leidschenveen)
The Embassy School of the Republic of Indonesia. Rijksstraatweg 679, 2245CB Wassenaar

School holidays in the Netherlands

For the school holidays 2015-2016 for state schools per region (Noord, Midden, Zuid) please look overhere Schools in the Hague fall under the region Midden.

For more information

  • The ''Scholenwijzer'' will give you all the information about schools, childcare and education in the Hague. The website is in Dutch.
  • General    school helpline   : telephone number 0800-5010 (free of charge). For all questions about schools and education for all parents with children.
  • For questions about special needs or special education: 0800-5010 option 2 (free of charge). 
  • Read more about TTO
  • If you have trouble finding the information you are looking for please don’t hesitate to contact us to help you. Dutch for Children and more… Wendy van Dalen