Finding a School in the Netherlands

Find out how to find the right school for your children in the Netherlands...

Although central government is responsible for setting broad policy for education and standards, the day-to-day running of schools is increasingly decentralised with each municipality appointing a school board to oversee the publicly run schools in its area.

The equivalent authority of a private school is the board of the association or foundation which established it. The education minister (or representative) holds regular consultations with the municipalities and with the boards of the private schools.

Municipalities must provide an adequate number and range of publicly run educational institutions in their areas. In busier cities like Amsterdam there are often waiting lists. Parents will be invited (by letter) to list their five most preferred public schools and the local council will allocate places.

Private schools set their own admissions policy and have the right to refuse entry, although in practice this seldom happens.

Each municipality also coordinates the provision of minority language teaching and can receive and allocate funds directly to schools to combat educational disadvantages.

It is the responsibility of each municipal authority to check that children below school-leaving age who are registered as resident in the area are enrolled as pupils at a school - private or public.

Registration with the municipal authority on arrival in the Netherlands will involve providing information regarding any school age children and arranging enrolment in any school.


When enrolling a child in any school, it is necessary to supply evidence of their identity (passport, birth certificate). Most schools will also ask for passport photos for their own internal administration, as well as school reports for at least the previous academic year.

International and private schools will normally require the completion of an application form and an interview prior to the offer of a place. Their requirements with regard to evidence of educational history to date are also more stringent. They will normally ask for a deposit to be paid to secure a place if one is offered.