Dutch schools

If you choose a Dutch school, foreign children aged six and older are usually required to follow a Dutch immersion programme (schakelklas or nieuwkomersklas) before starting regular education in the Netherlands. Younger foreign children, however, can usually start at a regular Dutch primary school or preschool straight away.

Schools with a “schakelklas” in the area:dutch schools

– De Horizon
Address: Wezelstraat 71 │7559 AR Hengelo
tel. 074-8200347

– IOK De Globe
Wilmie Kosters
Dr. Benthemstraat 54
7514 CM Enschede.
Tel: 053 – 4342355

Dutch school fees and costs

Free primary and secondary state education in the Netherlands is available to everyone. Parents are only asked to pay a voluntarily contribution to certain special activities and events, which is usually below EUR 100,– per year although this varies between schools. Additional costs include lengthier school trips, lunchtime supervision (tussenschoolse opvang/overblijven) and after-school care (buitenschoolse opvang), which the school provides or sub-contracts to an external day care organisation.

While students up to age 16 attend school for free, besides occasional supply fees, students between the ages of 16 and 18 pay annual tuition fees. Students from low-income families, however, can apply for grants or loans between age 16 and 27 while in the Dutch education system.

There are also private primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands that are not government funded or subsidised. These schools typically have smaller classes compared to regular Dutch schools, and sometimes offer specialised programmes for children who have minor learning difficulties, for example dyslexia or language difficulties. Fees vary greatly although typically start around EUR 10.000,– per year.

How to enrol into Dutch education

Every city or town has its own school application policy. In some cities the schools work with a waiting list and you’ll need to sign up as early as possible. You should enquire well in advance, even when you are pregnant, with the municipality (Gemeente) or the school of your preference how it works in your area.

State-run schools are technically not allowed to refuse admission, unless they are full. On the schools’ websites you can find brochures and which days you can visit the school (open day/info session). Be prepared that most of the information sessions will be held in Dutch.

School inspection reports can be viewed online at under Zoek Scholen (enter the name of the school and/or town). The visual representation of green (good) and red (weak) will give some idea of performance. Note that this applies to state schools and Dutch international schools only. On you can also find information about schools in the Netherlands and their results.

Some 90 percent of children attend early education in the Netherlands from the age of three, and almost all children are enrolled by the age of four (when children are invited for orientation). Some schools in the Netherlands can arrange early childhood education programmes for children aged two to six whose first language is not Dutch, so ask if this is available if needed.