Universiteit Leiden

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Education of your children

In the Netherlands children attend school from the age of 4 and are legally required to do so from the age of 5. Elementary school, or primary education (basisschool), lasts 8 years.

Dutch schools

Under Dutch law, education is compulsory until the age of 16 or even partial to the age of 18 until the attainment of a starters' qualification (vmbo, havo or vwo degree).

Secondary education (starting from the age of 12) is offered at several levels (vmbo, havo, vwo). Senior secondary vocational education and training (mbo) may vary in duration from one to four years. If you would like to read more about the Dutch educational system, please consult the EP-Nuffic document on the Dutch education system. More information on choosing a school in Leiden or The Hague:


There are several options for childcare in the Netherlands:

  • Public daycare (kinderdagverblijf)

    Public daycare is available for children between the age of six weeks to four years old, and run by fully qualified childcare staff. Opening hours are usually between 8 AM and 6 PM. You can make custom arrangements on the required amount of childcare days (or half days).
  • After-school care (buitenschoolse opvang / BSO)

    After-school care is available for children between the ages of 4 and 12 after school hours.  Elementary schools may arrange this care for their pupils.
  • Guest parents (gastouders)

    Guest-parents are basically self-employed childminders who can take care of a maximum of four children. Gastouders  either take care of the children in their own home, or may work in your home instead.

University daycare

Leiden University has reserved 50 daycare places exclusively for staff and students of Leiden University at Daycare Centre De Kattekop. Would you prefer another daycare centre? You can find an overview of all registered daycare centres on landelijkregisterkinderopvang.nl or on kinderopvangkaart.nl (private website).

Childcare costs

Even though costs vary between childcare centers, on average costs per child are:

1 day a week

36 hours a month x €6,50 = €234

2 days a week

72 hours a month x €6,50 = €468

3 days a week

108 hours a month x €6,50= €702

The Dutch government reimburses a substantial portion of the costs. You can apply for this child care allowance (kinderopvangtoeslag) online. You will more information on belastingdienst.nl.

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