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The Dutch education system may be different from what you are used to. These resources can get you started in Dutch education for children and adults, free courses, and how to continue your studies in the Netherlands.

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Last updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2023

On this page you can find more information about the Dutch education system.

Information about education in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, education is very important: for many professions, you can only qualify if you have obtained certain diplomas. That is why the Dutch government wants everyone to have a diploma.

In the Netherlands, all children between the ages of 5 and 18 years old have to go to school until they have obtained a diploma.

If you are between 16 and 18 and have a secondary school diploma, you are no longer obligated to go to school. But even if you are over 18, you may still have to get a diploma if you do not have a job and apply for an allowance. There are various educational options for asylum seekers. Below you will find more information about education in the Netherlands

The Dutch schoolsystem explained

This link leads to a video that explains Dutch secondary education, secondary vocational education and higher education. The video is in English.

More information in Ukrainian about the education system can be found in these helpful documents. For an explanation of primary education, click here. For explanation about secondary education, click here.

Mandatory education in the Netherlands

Children aged 5 to 16 are subject to mandatory education in the Netherlands. It does not matter what nationality the child has. This means they are required to attend school. Not following mandatory education can lead to high fines for the child's parents.

Youth between the ages of 16 and 18 who have not yet obtained a starting qualification are required to have a qualification. A starting qualification is (at least) a diploma havo, vwo (high School) or mbo (level 2 or higher). The qualification obligation does not apply to young people who have followed practical education. Or have followed education in the form of daily special education. You can read how Dutch education works on the page Education.