Boarding schools in the Netherlands

Boarding schools in the Netherlands

Last update on December 13, 2018

Boarding schools in the Netherlands are one of the options if you’re considering private schooling for your children. Here’s what you need to know about their curriculum, activities, application process and fees.

Around two-thirds of children attend private or independent schools in the Netherlands. One option for both local and expat children is a boarding school, where pupils live and study together for most of the year and learn both academically and socially.

Based just outside Ommen in the east of the Netherlands, Eerde International Boarding School is the only international boarding school in the country. It takes pupils aged 4-19. The school explains what to expect at a Dutch boarding school and how to apply for a place.

Located just two hours from Amsterdam in a historical 12th century castle, Eerde International Boarding School is the only school in the Netherlands that offers full and flexible boarding facilities. International and multicultural, the school encourages students to develop both their academic knowledge and social skills in a peaceful, safe environment.

What are the differences between standard schools and boarding schools in the Netherlands

Boarding schools in the Netherlands are privately owned and independent schools. The main difference between boarding schools and other private schools is that boarding schools offer full-time or part-time boarding for students so that they live on campus rather than return home at the end of the school day. Students generally spend term time living at the boarding school and will return home during holiday times, although boarding schools sometimes offer holiday camps too.

The curriculum in Dutch boarding schools

In terms of what students learn, the boarding school curriculum is usually similar to that taught in private or international schools, with primary age students learning English or Dutch plus maths and basic learning skills before advancing to sciences, languages, literature, arts and social sciences at secondary, or middle, school and beyond.

Eerde International Boarding School teaches in English to students through four stages: primary (ages 4-11), middle school (11-14), upper secondary (14-16) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme (16-19), with an additional one-year IB foundation programme for those who need additional support before the full IB programme.

“We are the only international school in the Netherlands to offer boarding and our team of teachers is international and intercultural” says Niki Holterman, head of admission and marketing at Eerde International School. “From the age of four, children follow the Cambridge International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for English and Maths, then the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) between ages 11-14. We offer the Cambridge IGCSE, which is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14-16-year-olds. Finally, in Year 11 and 12, we offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP), which is a pre-university qualification recognized by the world’s leading universities. DP students apply to more than 3,300 higher education institutions each year, in close to 90 countries.”

After-school activities in boarding schools in the Netherlands

As boarding schools are live-in arrangements, students get the opportunity to try out a range of activities and experiences beyond academic learning. Boarding schools in the Netherlands offer a  variety of sports and cultural activities and excursions designed to broaden the minds of students, equip them with additional skills and help them to build relationships with each other.


“Outside school hours and during the weekends, Eerde offers a broad range of activities from cultural enrichment to team-building sports, allowing our boarders to discover their unique talents and interests” says Niki. “For those unable to fit music, theatre or photography into the academic day, the afternoon activity program provides an opportunity to pursue artistic creativity and self-expression. Team sports include football, volleyball, basketball and cricket. We also offer access to tennis, golf, ballet, rowing, swimming and outdoor survival skills such as navigation and map-reading. We have a close cooperation with a horse stable nearby our campus, allowing students to participate in horse riding too.”

What are the benefits of boarding schools in the Netherlands?

Boarding schools in the Netherlands offer an excellent standard of education in an environment where students can develop social and non-academic skills, be part of a community and access support to help them reach their full potential.

“Eerde is consciously small-scale to ensure individual attention to all children. Our individual approach will allow your child to discover their true potential and will empower them to develop personal leadership and life skills” says Niki. “As well as offering international education at the highest standards, Eerde is also a safe home-base where children feel welcome and accepted for who they are. Boarding staff share meals with students, interact with them daily and ensure their well-being and academic progress. They help students become well-adjusted, independent and culturally aware young adults ready to go out into the world equipped with a strong sense of responsibility.”

How to apply for a place at a boarding school in the Netherlands

Application procedures will vary slightly between schools but will usually involve an assessment as well as an interview to discuss things such as requirements, expectations and ambitions. Parents looking to relocate to the Netherlands can apply for a place for their children at Eerde from abroad and the school may be able to assist with the immigration process to study in the Netherlands if required.

“We may ask for students to be tested in English or take part in a Skype interview before accepting their application” explains Niki. “We try to complete the admissions process within two weeks or less from the file completion date.We offer regular tours during school hours and weekends.”

Costs of boarding schools in the Netherlands

Fees for boarding schools in the Netherlands will be more expensive than for other private or international schools as they will include boarding as well as tuition costs. There are currently no scholarships available so all costs will need to be met by applicants themselves.

Current annual tuition fees at Eerde range from €6,750 for primary school to €21,900 for the IB programme. Boarding fees start at €13,500 a year for up to 3 days a week. Full boarding costs  €27,800 a year. Registration and exam fees are on top of this.