Education and Schools in The Hague

School is compulsory in the Netherlands for children aged between five and 16. All schools in the country, including private institutions, are bound by the rules of the Ministry of Education, so the standard of education is the same across the board. 

Public schools in The Hague

Expat children can attend public schools, providing there are spaces available. Teaching standards are high and schools are efficiently run, albeit with a slightly more casual feel than some expats may be used to. As lessons are mostly taught in Dutch, public school is really only a feasible option for younger expat children who are in a better position to overcome the language barrier.

Government-funded primary schools (basisschool) are free to all children aged between four and 12. For the first year, attendance is optional and only becomes compulsory on a child’s fifth birthday. Expats should note that primary school children have Wednesday afternoons off and those younger than eight get Friday afternoons off too. This means they may need to make arrangements for after-school childcare. 

There are three types of public secondary education and recommendations made by primary school teachers aim to ensure each child is matched with the option that best suits their character. All three types begin with a generic curriculum for the first two years, after which they specialise in different areas. VMBO (Voorbereidend Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs) schools offer a practical and vocational programme, while HAVO (Hoger Algemeen Voortgezet Onderwijs) and VWO (Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs) are more academically focused. 

Private and International schools in The Hague

Private and international schools are partly funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, which means that while they have greater flexibility when it comes to the curricula and teaching methods, they’re still required to meet the standards set by the ministry. 

Most of these schools offer the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) or the International Baccalaureate (IB), but there are some international schools that follow the curriculum of a specific country. 

Admissions in The Hague

Admissions criteria vary from one school to the next, but it’s a good idea for parents to have the following documents:

  • The child’s birth certificate

  • Child’s recent report card

  • Visa for both parents and the child

  • Passport photos

  • Proof of identity