Education and Schools in Rotterdam
While options for education and schools in Rotterdam aren't as extensive as those in Amsterdam, parents still have a few options to choose from. As is the case throughout the Netherlands, both public and private schooling in Rotterdam are of a high quality. In public schools, teaching is in Dutch, while private international schools teach in the language of their country of origin.
Younger children are able to pick up a new language relatively easily and are best suited to public schools in the Netherlands, while older kids and teenagers are less likely to adapt to full-time schooling in an unknown language. In this case, an international school is recommended.
Public schools in Rotterdam
Compulsory education in the Netherlands begins at the age of five, but most parents opt to begin their child's schooling at age four, especially as this non-compulsory year is funded by the government. Tuition at Dutch public schools is free for children between the ages of four and 16. However, some schools may ask for an additional parental contribution (ouderbijdrage). Teaching is in Dutch, though, which means that public schools aren't always a viable option for non-Dutch-speaking families or those that aren't staying in the country for the long term.
Some public schools have international sections offering bilingual education (tweetalig onderwijs) designed for native English speakers. For some families, this is an ideal solution. Though not free, these programmes are subsidised by the government and are considerably cheaper than private international school fees. At present, the tweetalig onderwijs programme is in the testing phase throughout the Netherlands, and is currently offered by only one primary school and one secondary school in Rotterdam.
International schools in Rotterdam
Private international schools are accredited to offer foreign curricula in the Netherlands. Generally, these schools provide a good standard of education with excellent facilities. However, fees can be high, so if opting to go this route, parents should ensure they can afford it, especially as education subsidies in relocation grants are becoming increasingly rare.
Choices for private international schools are limited, with just two or three schools in Rotterdam offering international curricula. Because there are so few options for expat parents, demand often outnumbers available seats, so it's best to start the application process as early as possible.