Day care

Dutch day care centres accept children between the ages of 6 weeks and 4 years (the age at which they begin primary school).

Qualified teachers supervise children in play, provide basic instruction and care for the children, feeding them and giving them an opportunity to take a nap. Parents are generally responsible for providing diapers for their children, but food is usually provided by the day care centre.

Children can stay for up to 10 hours a day in a day care centre (kinderdagverblijf). Operating hours vary per centre, but most are open work days from 8.00 to 17.30 hrs. Some offer extended opening hours with higher rates.

Parents should realise that there are often long waiting lists for spots in a kinderdagverblijf so the earlier you register your child the better. (Some parents put their names on a list the moment they know they are expecting a baby!) It is also a good idea to register your (unborn) child with multiple childcare centres in the district of your choice until you are able to get a spot.

All official day care facilities in The Hague and surroundings can be found in the Landelijk Register Kinderopvang en Peuterspeelzalen.

After School Care or Naschoolse Opvang

Many primary school children need after school care: after school hours, on Wednesday afternoons and during school holidays.

After-school care centres usually work with one or several primary schools in the neighbourhood. Often a teacher will walk over to the primary school, pick up the children and bring them back to the centre.

Dutch Childcare Act (Wet Kinderopvang)

This act provides for the quality and financing of child care and applies to:

  • Day nurseries (kinderdagverblijf)
  • After school care (naschoolse opvang)
  • Host parents (gastouderopvang)

The level of the employer's contribution depends on the level of your income. Parents can apply to the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) for an extra allowance. This extra allowance will make child care affordable for parents with lower incomes as well.

If you do not have an employer, you may still receive an employer's contribution, for example if you are participating in a reintegration program, if you are a student or if your are taking a compulsory integration course. Self-employed persons may also receive a contribution.

You can download a factsheet entitled 'Childcare and childcare allowance' from the Government.nl website.

More information

For information on childcare facilities for younger children, you can download a PDF written by ACCESS on 'Childcare and Playgroups'.

Expat parents can also consult the website Nomad Parents Netherlands to locate a daycare or playgroup in the Netherlands.

Published: 22 November 2016Modified: 4 June 2018