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When Do You Go To School in the Netherlands? Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 in Culture, Dutch Language

It is the beginning of september: The summer is nearing its end, temperatures fall, days get shorter… And it is time to go back to school! But for everyone? No. Or, not yet… How does it work in the Netherlands, when do kids start going to school? Let’s find out.

We have written about the Dutch school system before on different topics:

For Dutch Kids…It’s Back to School!

Elementary School 2.0!

The Dutch school system

Wie moet er naar school?

Image from Unsplash.com

Who has to go to school in the Netherlands and at what age?

Everyone. From the age of 5, it is verplicht (mandatory), from the age of 4, it is toegestaan (allowed). This includes kinderen (children) of niet-Nederlandse nationaliteit (non-Dutch nationality), asielzoekers (asylum seekers) in the leerplichtige leeftijd (mandatory education age) and even kinderen that live in the country illegaal (illegally) have to go to school. So in all those cases, it is required that you are ingeschreven (registered) at a school.

And you are verplicht (required) to go to school until you are 18, or until you gained a startkwalificatie (starting qualification) at the age of 16.

Er is er een jarig, hoera!

Image from Unsplash.com

There is something interesting at the start of the schoolcarrière (school career) of the kind, though.

A child can already wennen (get used to) the basisschool (elementary school) from 3 years and 10 months old for up to 5 days. So that is quite early! These 5 days are also called a kennismakingsperiode (introduction period). Not all scholen (schools) have it, though. Some scholen offer such a kennismakingsperiode just a few days before the birthday of the kind (child).

Only when the child turns 4, so on their verjaardag (birthday), they can  start! And the interesting thing: they can enter the school on their birthday!

So, if the kind is geregistreerd (registered), they can go to school the next day. Of course, they can also wait another year, because it is required when the child turns 5. So when the kind then enters groep 1 (group 1), it could be that there are kinderen in there that have an age difference of more than a year!

Quite interesting.

How does it work in your country? What do you think about this system? Let me know in the comments below!


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, and I am half Dutch and half German. I was on exchange in the United States, and I really enjoyed that year! So in that sense, I kind of have three nationalities... I love all of them!