Vocational education

Vocational education at the secondary level (MBO) in the Netherlands encourages the social participation of students through vocational training, general education and job-related courses.

ROC Mondriaan. Photo © bekijkjetoekomstnu.nl
ROC Mondriaan. Photo © bekijkjetoekomstnu.nl

Vocational education and training (VET) is the main supplier to the labour market and is often regarded as the 'foundation of the economy' and the 'backbone of society'. Approximately 40% of the Dutch working population has completed a vocational course to at least a secondary vocational training level.

When to choose vocational education

MBO is for students who have completed pre-vocational education (VMBO), available only in Dutch, and offers participants from the age of 16 a choice of 700 vocational courses, four training levels and two different routes in which courses can be followed. There is a full-time, college-based route that includes work placements, and there is the part-time, work-based route, which combines part-time education with an apprenticeship in a company.

International vocational education

In some cases a high school student from an international school has successfully completed the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) or the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP), but he is not admitted to the IB Diploma Programme. Vocational education at the secondary level (3 to 4 years) may then be a good option.

MBO schools in the Netherlands offer a number of English-language programmes, for example in Business and Hospitality. For other study programmes, Dutch language training is compulsory.

IB Career-related Certificate

The International Baccalaureate is currently developing a new qualification, the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC), which increases access to an IB education and is specifically designed to provide a flexible learning framework tailored by the school to meet the needs of students and the local community as well as the world beyond.

MBO education in The Hague

ROC Mondriaan International Stream

The Mondriaan International Stream is part of ROC Mondriaan, one of the largest providers of vocational education in the Netherlands. The International Stream offers diplomas in Hotel Management and Business.

Lees meer

More information:

Education in the Netherlands: Information from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Vereniging Openbaar Onderwijs: Information for parents, teachers and administrators

MBO Raad: The Netherlands Association of VET Colleges (vocational education and training).

MBO Start: A Dutch-language site to help VMBO students find the right MBO course.

Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB)

Published: 5 April 2016Modified: 19 June 2017