Want to send your child to a Dutch school?

The Dutch primary school system operates entirely on free choice. There are no ‘standard’ state-run schools. The schools all operate according to their own educational philosophies (some have religious affiliations as well) within state-established parameters. They are inspected regularly by the state. Quality is high and choice is ample.


The system is not exactly set up for foreigners, so some knowledge of Dutch (or a translator) is essential for making your choice. Transportation is the responsibility of the parents. The most popular and/or neighbourhood schools can fill up quickly.

  1. Choose your school(s). Knowledge of Dutch is recommended for this. Visit the Begin external link: Scholenwijzer(External link), end external link. for a listing of schools in The Hague, contact information and a description of each school. You can order a paper version by sending an email to: Begin link: onderwijsbeleid@denhaag.nl, end link. .
  2. Contact and/or visit the schools on your shortlist. Often you can arrange a tour, meet with the school director or teachers and ask specific questions. Bear in mind that at the primary level, English is not very important (so not for the teachers, either). The focus is on childhood development in a Dutch environment.
  3. More information about the registration procedure in The Hague can be found under Begin link: Registering your child at a primary school, end link. .
  4. The child can start school on his/her 4th birthday. If the birthday falls during December or a school holiday, the child will start the next available school day. School attendance at age 5 is compulsory.

And a few important things to note:

  • Children can attend Begin link: preschool, end link. between the ages of 2.5 and 4 years.
  • Most schools have a shorter day on Wednesdays. Many schools have arrangements with after-school care facilities. Ask about this if you are interested.
  • The Dutch schools take unauthorised absence (truancy) very seriously. Phone before school starts if your child is ill. You must request written permission if you need to take your child out of school for any length of time. Otherwise you could get a fine from the municipality.
  • Primary schools are for children aged 4 to 12. Hereafter students are ‘tracked’ and steered into an appropriate educational direction. This is based on their ability and performance.

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