Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Education of your children

In the Netherlands children attend school from the age of 4 and are legally required to do so from the age of 5. Elementary school, or primary education (basisschool), lasts 8 years.

Dutch schools

Under Dutch law, education is compulsory until the age of 16 or even partial to the age of 18 until the attainment of a starters' qualification (vmbo, havo or vwo degree).

Secondary education (starting from the age of 12) is offered at several levels (vmbo, havo, vwo). Senior secondary vocational education and training (mbo) may vary in duration from one to four years. If you would like to read more about the Dutch educational system, please consult the EP-Nuffic document on the Dutch education system. More information on choosing a school in Leiden or The Hague:

Learning Dutch in the Dutch education system (ITK or ISK)

Children aged 6 and older are usually required to follow a Dutch immersion program first before they can attend the normal Dutch school system. These International Language Classes (Internationale Taalklas, ITK) or International Transitional Classes (Internationale Schakelklas, ISK) are located in various schools in Leiden, The Hague and surrounding areas. The classes are for children who have lived in the Netherlands for less than a year and who have little or no command of the Dutch language.

Classes in Leiden, Leiderdorp and Oegstgeest

The Leiden International Centre provides general information on choosing the right school.

For primary level schools, admission and signup is centrally arranged by Nieuwkomersonderwijs regio Leiden. For secondary level, you can register your child at the Da Vincy City College.

Classes in The Hague

The Municipality of The Hague provides general information on education for children new in the Netherlands.

For primary level schools, admission and signup is centrally arranged via the Scholenwijzer. For secondary level schools, The Hague has 4 secondary schools with ISK classes:


There are several options for childcare in the Netherlands:

  • Public daycare (kinderdagverblijf)

    Public daycare is available for children between the age of six weeks to four years old, and run by fully qualified childcare staff. Opening hours are usually between 8 AM and 6 PM. You can make custom arrangements on the required amount of childcare days (or half days).
  • After-school care (buitenschoolse opvang / BSO)

    After-school care is available for children between the ages of 4 and 12 after school hours.  Elementary schools may arrange this care for their pupils.
  • Guest parents (gastouders)

    Guest-parents are basically self-employed childminders who can take care of a maximum of four children. Gastouders  either take care of the children in their own home, or may work in your home instead.

University daycare

Leiden University has reserved 50 daycare places exclusively for staff and students of Leiden University at Daycare Centre De Kattekop. Would you prefer another daycare centre? You can find an overview of all registered daycare centres on landelijkregisterkinderopvang.nl.

Childcare costs

Even though costs vary between childcare centers, on average costs per child are:

1 day a week

36 hours a month x 9,30= 334,80

2 days a week

72 hours a month x 9,30= 669,60

3 days a week

108 hours a month x 9,30 = 1004,40

The Dutch government can, if you are eligible and meet the criteria, reimburse a substantial portion of the costs. You will more information on belastingdienst.nl.

This website uses cookies.  More information.