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Neil James


Hi Annebet,

My company is currently in the process of relocating me from my office in London to Amsterdam. I am moving with my 9 year old daughter and 5 year old son.

We would ideally like to live in the Haarlem area, and looking at an International school in the area, but having read the admission conditions which states:

The student has a non-Dutch nationality (or: also a non-Dutch nationality) and has a parent who is working in The Netherlands (or in a Dutch border region) for a limited time (maximum 3 years)

Does this preclude me from enrolling my children given I have a permanent contract? I notice the same statement on many of the international schools websites.

Also, if we have to go for the public route, I notice you mention in a few answers that the elder children must go through intensive dutch before joining the main class stream and may result in them being kept back a year? Is this definitely the case and why?


by Neil James on 13 Jan 2018
Annebet van Mameren

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Dear Neil,
Thank you for your question.
There are two kinds of international schools: the ones subsidized by the Dutch government (the Haarlem school is one of them), and private international schools. The subsidized schools are much cheaper, but they are intended for children who will only live temporarily in the Netherlands. For the private schools it doesn't matter how long you are staying. When you apply for a subsidized school, you will need to submit a statement which says that you have the intention of staying in the Netherlands for max. three years, and that your children will have to follow their education in English as a consequence. You could still apply when you have a permanent work contract, for example when your company could outsource you to another country. Not all schools ask for a copy of your employment contract; the written statement of intent by the parent is usually enough. They won't kick you out if you end up staying longer than three years either.

When children are six years or older and would go to a Dutch school, they will have to go to a Dutch immersion/newcomer class first until they are able to follow all classes at a regular Dutch school. Usually they don't lose a year, but this also depends on their age and how fast they pick up the language. This would apply to your daughter. Your son could start at a regular school straight away. Depending on his date of birth, the time of your arrival in the Netherlands, and how fast he picks up the language, he would be going to either group 2 or 3 next school year.

Good luck and best wishes,
Annebet van Mameren, New2nl

by Annebet van Mameren on 16 Jan 2018

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