Dutch Language Blog

Eindexamen – Could you do it? Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary

The Dutch high school students are shivering and fearful these days. The next two to three weeks will be crucial for their future – heel belangrijk (very important).What they have done in the last three years and what they will do in these few weeks is going to decide what university they can go to, what job they can hope for, or how another year of middelbare school (high school) feels. So what time is it in these weeks? It is Examenperiode (Exam Period)! In the Examenperiode Dutch students make their centraal examen (“central exam”). This consists of 3 hour long standardized exams (2 hours for foreign languages). The number of exams each student does depends on the classes the student took. However, Dutch, English and Maths are compulsory. The substantive courses all have an eindexamen (final exam). They are like normal exams, with open questions. For the foreign languages, this is different. These always contain reading texts and then (multiple choice) questions about these texts. Before the centraal examen, there are the mondelinge examen (oral exams) for the language courses and the luistertoetsen (listening tests), which both also count for the final grade. The final grade is calculated like this: 50% schoolexamen (school exam) – this is the grade a student achieved through tests and exams during the last years of the middelbare school. 50% eindexamen. So the final exams count for half of the entire grade! The higher the grade, the better the chances to do the university course you want to do.

In June the results will follow. But first, the exams must be corrected. Teachers of the school correct the tests, and then the exams are sent to another teacher in the Netherlands who ‘double-checks’ the correction, so the result is as fair and unbiased as possible. And then it is waiting for the result… There normally is one hour in which your teacher can call you to tell you that you did not make it. Some also call to tell you that you did make it. But generally, a phone call is a bad sign. So in that one hour, the students try all kinds of things to distract themselves, but still in a way to be able to hear the phone ring. I remember that… It was an awful hour, but survived it without a call!

No call? GESLAAGD! Dan is het feest! Tijd de vlag uit te hangen! (GRADUATED! Then it is time to celebrate! Time to hang up the flag!)

And de vlag uithangen now is accompanied by the schooltas (school bag) of the student. That bag is not needed anymore! At least, that is the idea… I still use the one I had back then!

Vlag met Schooltas = geslaagd! (Image by Hans Splinter at Flickr.com)


How does high school end in your area or country? 


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. examenfeest:

    Superleuk om zulke Nederlandse uitspraken zo vertaald te zien in het Engels. Sta je nooit bij stil dat dat zo ‘Hollands’ is. Mijn favoriet: De vlag uithangen!

  2. Els:

    Brought back lots of memories !!!