childcare in the Netherlands
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Updated 3 weeks ago

As of 2019, 21.9% of the Dutch population is under 20 years old. Considering a good chunk of the population is minors, you can expect the Netherlands to have a good childcare system. If you're moving to the Netherlands with your family, then you're probably considering childcare for your kids during the hours you work. In this article, we will tell you all about your options so you can make the best decision for your family.

Childcare tax credits in the Netherlands

First of all, if you live and work in the Netherlands, then you’re eligible for childcare tax credit (kinderopvangtoeslag) if you use registered childcare. Generally, the lower income you have, the more financial assistance you will get. Other factors include how many hours of childcare you will need, how many children you’re putting in childcare, and the type you use.

Do note that you can only claim up to 230 hours of childcare per child, per month. Should you need any help with it, you can always get in touch with the Belastingdienst (tax administration) by calling 0800 0543. While most helpdesk officers will speak to you in Dutch, they may have some employees who can help you in English.

Childcare services in the Netherlands

When it comes to Dutch childcare, you have several options: kinderdagverblijf (daycare), private daycare, peuterspeelzalen (pre-school), at-work childcare, and after-school childcare. We’ll explore each one in detail below.

Kinderdagverblijf

This is a public daycare that’s open to children who are anywhere from six weeks old up to four years old. Their business hours are generally during the regular workday, with some extra hours at the end of the day. This is to accommodate their clientele, which consists of full-time workers.

At the kinderdagverblijf, your children will go through developmental programs and lessons that are put together by the municipality. They will also learn some socialisation skills.

These are extremely popular, especially in urban areas, so if you’re considering kinderdagverblijf, make sure to apply early or risk being on a long waiting list.

If you’re looking for ones that are expat-friendly and speak lots of English, consider Hestia, Partou, and Zein International Childcare.

Private daycare

In the larger Dutch cities, you will be able to find private daycares. While these will be more expensive, they tend to have shorter waiting lists or none at all. These have the advantage of longer business hours, with some open up to 24 hours a day.

Peuterspeelzalen

This is similar to other Western pre-schools that children aged two to four years old attend. These may have long waiting lists as well, so make sure you apply early on.

Here, your children will get to socialise with others that are close in their age. There’s usually no real lesson plans or developmental programs; peuterspeelzalen is more for teaching children how to get along with one another.

At-work childcare

If you’re lucky enough, your employer might provide its employees with daycare arrangements, either on-site or nearby. Not only can this be more convenient for you, but it can also cost less.

After-school childcare

Perhaps you have some children who are older than four years old? Then you will want to look into after-school childcare if you aren’t able to pick them up after they’re done with their school day.

Your options for after-school childcare include daycare centres, naschoolse opvang, and buitenschoolse opvang (BSO) places.

 Good to know:

Homeschooling is not allowed in the Netherlands.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.