For expat families coming to the Netherlands for a limited time, there are a number of international primary and secondary schools that teach in English…
Most private primary international schools in the Netherlands follow a standard American, British or European educational program or one that follows their country’s own national curriculum (in the case of international schools that teach in a language other than English).
Some international schools are considered public because they are subsidized by the government. These schools follow a Dutch ‘international stream’ curriculum.
At the secondary education level, international schools in the Netherlands follow a curriculum that leads to a the equivalent of an American high school diploma or British GCSE. Many schools offer more intensive programs that a baccalaureate degree, whether it be the ‘International Baccalaureate’, ‘European Baccalaureate’ or ‘English Baccalaureate’. All diplomas are accepted by universities around the world. Most baccalaureate schools also offer advanced placement courses.
Two schools offer the IBCP certificate, introduced in 2014 as an alternative to the IBDP program. It combines two IBDP subjects with a career training program.
More information about the different types of baccalaureates and their respective education curriculum can be found here:
International School Admissions in Netherlands
EUROPEAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS: The European School network provides free education for children of parents employed by a European institutions, such as Eurojust and Europol. If class spaces are available after having accommodated the aforementioned children of Euro employees, the children of non-Euro employees are accepted. These students must pay tuition. The cost is higher than that charged by Dutch public international schools but below private international schools.
The main difference between an international school and a European school is language. Whereas international schools teach in one language, usually English, European Schools teach in multiple languages, which allows students to be taught in their native language.
There are two types of European Schools – those that are part of the ‘European Schools’ organization, a special inter-governmental establishment owned by the member states where the schools are located (13 schools in 6 countries – Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and the Netherlands), and those that are ‘accredited European Schools’. The latter are not owned by the European Schools organization, but must follow the curriculum and maintain set standards. Both types are represented in the Netherlands… ‘European School Bergen’ (in North Holland) is one of the 13 original European Schools. The ‘European School of The Hague’ is a Dutch-owned school which teaches according to the European School curriculum. The school group ‘Het Rijnlands Lyceum’ was chosen to operate the European School of The Hague.
More information about European Schools
DUTCH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS: There are 23 Dutch ‘public’ international schools (or international streams within a Dutch school) in the Netherlands. Because they are government-subsidized, the tuition cost is low compared with private international schools. These schools are open to children of expat parents who are staying in the Netherlands for a short time (usually less than 2 years), as well as the children of Dutch parents who are either returning to the Netherlands after living abroad with a child who had been educated previously in English and has little knowledge of the Dutch language OR the children of Dutch parents who will be moving abroad and want to prepare their child for education in English. If those students have been accommodated and there is still space available, the schools will usually accept the children of expats who are living in the Netherlands for an undetermined length of time.
More information about Dutch International Schools
PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS: Larger private international schools in the Netherlands (those that teach in English) generally accept students from all backgrounds who have a basic knowledge of the English-language. International schools that teach in a language other than English, such as the Lycee Francaise Vincent Van Gogh (French), Deutsche Internationale Schule Den Haag (German) and Japanese Schools of Amsterdam and Rotterdam (Japanese), are open to children who have a basic knowledge of that language. Most of these schools incorporate some degree of Dutch language training into their education curriculum, usually as a mandatory second language class. With exception, private international schools in the Netherlands offer higher quality teaching staff, nicer facilities and more extensive extra-curricular activities. This has to be balanced against the cost of enrollment (high in comparison to the other schools which are government funded).
More information about individual Private International Schools
International Schools in Netherlands By The Numbers
Dutch International Schools: 23
Primary Education: 16
Secondary Education: 13
European Schools: 2
Primary Education: 2
Secondary Education: 2
Private International Schools: 15
Primary Education: 14
Secondary Education: 12