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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: Wednesday, February 1, 2023

All children in the Netherlands have to go to school, regardless of their residence status. In the Netherlands, children up to the age of 18 have compulsory education until they have obtained a secondary education diploma.

You can register your child at any school. The school will check whether your child can be admitted. It is possible that your child will first attend a transition class to learn the Dutch language. See "Newcomer facilities" for more information.

Basisschool (primary school)

Children in the Netherlands are obliged to attend school from the age of 5 to 16. Children who have fled from Ukraine have the right to education just like other children in the Netherlands. You can register your children at a primary school that has newcomer facilities. These schools have expertise in guiding refugee children. The school will decide whether your child will be admitted. Some children (especially those aged 4 or 5) can start immediately. Other children must first use newcomer facilities to reach the level of Dutch needed to enter regular education at a primary school. More information about schools with newcomer facilities can be found under the heading 'newcomer facilities' on the website.

Children aged 4 to 12 go to primary school. The primary school has eight groups. Groups 1 and 2 are the kindergarten classes. From group 3 onwards the children learn to read, write and count. In group 8, all students have to take a final test. The result gives an indication of the level at which a student can follow secondary education. The teacher also gives advice on this. This advice is often followed by the new high school during admission. More information can be found on the website of the government.

List of Ukrainian schools in the Netherlands

There are 6 Ukrainian weekend schools in the Netherlands:

Libraries, creative and literary groups are also active in the schools. These institutions work with the support of the Embassy and public organisations of the Ukrainian diaspora.

In addition, there is a Ukrainian after-school creative school in Rotterdam. At this school, the Ukrainian language and culture are taught to children between the ages of 5 and 13 through creative activities.

Middelbare school (high school / secondary school)

Children aged 13 to 16 or 18 go to secondary school. Which secondary school that is depends on the advice the child received in primary school. There are three levels:

Preparatory secondary vocational education (VMBO) Senior general secondary education (HAVO) Pre-university education (VWO). You can find more information on the website of the government.

Newcomer facilities

Children who have just arrived in the Netherlands and do not speak Dutch can attend certain schools to learn the Dutch language. This way, they can prepare for education at a primary or secondary school. The facilities differ depending on the age of the children.

  • For children up to 12 years, there are newcomer facilities. These facilities can be special schools or regular primary schools with special classes. On the website of the organisation LOWAN you can find an overview of schools that offer such facilities. Parents can register their children at these schools.

  • For children between 12 and 18 years old, there are International Intermediate Classes. These are classes at regular secondary schools. On the website of the organisation LOWAN an overview can be found of schools that offer such facilities. Parents can register their children at these schools.

Children with a language deficiency

Young children with a language deficiency may receive preschool or early childhood education (vve) at the elementary school or in childcare. First an assessment is made as to whether a child qualifies for vve. This is also called a vve indication. If a child has a vve indication, he or she is entitled to extra time at the preschool. You do not have to pay for this extra time. How much extra time your child receives differs per municipality. After the vve indication, parents are advised to register their toddler for preschool, but this is not compulsory. The municipality determines whether a child qualifies for this. This is usually done through the child health care office.

Pre-School Education Pre-school education is for toddlers aged 2.5 to 4 years. The child healthcare center gives children who have a language deficiency, or are at risk, a vve indication. This means that the level of language delay is determined. Each municipality has different conditions for the vve indication. Check the website of your municipality to see what the conditions are. Early childhood education Early childhood education is for children in group 1 and 2 of elementary school. The elementary school is responsible for early childhood education.

For more information about vve, contact the municipality in which you are living.

School for children from Ukraine

Children who have fled from Ukraine have a right to education just like other children in the Netherlands. Children without a residence permit are subject to compulsory education from the age of 5 until at least the age of 16, just like Dutch children.

Parents can register their children at a school that has newcomer facilities. The school will then consider whether the pupil can be admitted. Some children (especially 4 or 5 year olds) can start immediately. Other children first have to make use of newcomer facilities to reach the level of Dutch needed to enter mainstream education. If this is not possible at the school where parents report their children, the school can look for a school in the neighbourhood that does.

See "Newcomer facilities" for more information. For questions about education you can also contact the municipality. For more information and frequently asked questions, consult the website of the national government.

Special needs education

In the Netherlands there is also special needs education in addition to regular education, both for primary and secondary school. This is for children with a physical and/or mental disability, who need specialised attention. There they get the extra support that they need. Applying for special needs education is always done by a regular school. Contact a school nearby, they can help you with applying for regular education and possibly special needs education.


Children between the ages of 0 and 4 years can go to daycare. Children aged 4-12 can go to an after-school care center. This facility is provided after regular school hours. For children from 2 to 4 years there are preschool facilities. Children can also be taken care of by a guest parent. Daycare is not cheap. To cover your costs you can apply for childcare allowance in some cases. You will receive the allowance as an advance payment. If you apply for childcare allowance you must meet the following conditions.

If you are not entitled to childcare benefits, you may be able to get a childcare benefit through the municipality. Toddlers can receive toddler care for a number of hours a week if your toddler has a language deficiency (or a risk of one). The municipality can provide an indication for preschool education. This means that your child can attend preschool for an average of 16 hours a week. It offers a program that stimulates (language) development. In addition, the municipality can provide a social medical indication (SMI), to cover the costs of childcare where necessary. Would you like more information? Please contact the municipality.

Children can attend school from the age of 4. Under the section education for children on this website, you will find more information about this.

Textbook Library of Ukraine Ministry of Education

In this online library, you can find downloadable PDF versions of Ukrainian schoolbooks.

Ukraine Ministry of Education - Online classes

The Ukraine ministry of education provides online education for schoolchildren. The classes can be found below.

School to go

Children from Ukraine can enroll in online classes that are also taught by Ukrainian teachers.

Noordhoff free Ukrainian schoolbooks

Are you looking for Ukrainian schoolbooks? Noordhoff has published a website where you can download digital copies of more than 300 free Ukrainian schoolbooks for elementary and secondary school students. These books have been approved by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education. Click on the link below to go to the website.