Need to know when your child is off school? Here’s our guide to school holidays in the Netherlands during 2020 and 2021 to help you out.
Are you already considering your next vacation? Or maybe you want to take your kids to one of these great places to visit in the Netherlands? Whatever you’re planning, it’s important to know when the Dutch school holidays are.
The first thing to remember about Dutch school holidays is that they vary depending on where you live. The Netherlands is split into three geographical regions for the sake of school vacations, with each area following their own holiday calendar.
For more information about these regions and when the next school holidays are, our guide to school holidays in the Netherlands includes the following sections:
- Introduction to school holidays in the Netherlands
- Dutch school holiday dates 2019–2020
- Dutch school holiday dates 2020–2021
- Additional holidays and days off
- Childcare during Dutch school holidays
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Introduction to school holidays in the Netherlands
School holidays in the Netherlands are set by the Ministry of Education Culture and Science. All Dutch schools have five holidays throughout the year. These are autumn (one week), Christmas (two weeks), spring (one week), May (one week, usually spread across April/May) and summer (six weeks).
The Christmas and May holidays are the same across the country, but the other holidays are staggered across three regions: north, central and south. This helps authorities better manage the holiday traffic. The regions are divided as follows:
- North region: Drenthe, Flevoland (all municipalities except Zeewolde), Friesland, Groningen, North Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht (only Eemnes and Abcoude)
- Central region: Flevoland (only Zeewolde), North Brabant (Werkendam except the Hank and Dussen cores, and Woudrichem), Utrecht (all municipalities except Eemnes and Abcoude), South Holland
- South region: Limburg, North Brabant (all municipalities except Woudrichem and the nuclei of Sleeuwijk, Nieuwendijk, and Werkendam in the municipality of Werkendam), Zeeland
The municipalities in the province of Gelderland are split across the three regions. You can see a breakdown of these on the Dutch government website.
Privately-run international schools in the Netherlands may have holiday dates that are slightly different from state schools in their region. Be sure to check with your child’s school for a full list of holiday dates.
The Dutch government does not allow parents to take their children on vacation during term time. This means school holidays are popular for families planning both vacations and other fun activities in the Netherlands. Holidays are also used as a time for families to get together for festive occasions such as Christmas in the Netherlands. There may also be other Dutch festivals that fall within school holiday periods.
Dutch school holiday dates 2019–2020
- Autumn break: 19–27 October 2019 (North and Central regions); 12–20 October 2019 (South region)
- Christmas break: 21 December 2019 – 5 January 2020 (all regions)
- Spring break: 15–23 February 2020 (North region); 22 February – 1 March 2020 (Central and South regions)
- May break: 25 April – 3 May 2020 (all regions
- Summer break: 4 July – 16 August 2020 (North region); 18 July – 30 August 2020 (Central region); 11 July – 23 August 2020 (South region)
Dutch school holiday dates 2020–2021
- Autumn break: 10–18 October 2020 (North region); 17–25 October 2020 (Central and South regions)
- Christmas break: 19 December 2020 – 3 January 2021 (all regions)
- Spring break: 13–21 February 2021 (South region); 20–28 February 2021 (North and Central regions)
- May break: 1–9 May 2021 (all regions)
- Summer break: 10 July – 22 August 2021 (North region); 17 July – 19 August 2021 (Central region); 24 July – 5 September 2021 (South region)
Additional holidays and days off
In addition to the school holidays in the Netherlands, schools close on a number of national public holidays. These are:
- Easter Monday
- King’s Day
- Liberation Day
- Ascension Day
- Whit Monday
See our guide on public holidays in the Netherlands for the dates of these holidays during the 2019–2020 school calendar. King’s Day and Liberation Day are not public holidays for everyone, so these are additional days that you may need to make childcare arrangements if you happen to be working. Schools are permitted to organize festive activities on these dates, but pupils are not obliged to take part.
Each Dutch school will have its own calendar that details other dates when the school is closed. These dates will include teacher training days (studiedagen), pupil book days, regional occasions or religious holidays that the school decides to observe. Many schools also allow pupils time off for religious purposes (e.g., Jewish or Muslim pupils to observe important dates).
Check with your child’s school for a full list of dates. Schools should also publish a calendar of dates in their official guide or on the website. Many schools, such as the British School of Amsterdam, publish this information on their website.
Childcare during Dutch school holidays
If you are a working parent, you may need to make childcare arrangements during the school holidays. Fortunately, there are a few options to choose from as the Netherlands offers more comprehensive levels of childcare, including holiday daycare, than many other European countries. There is outside school care (buitenschoolse opvang [BSO]) available during holiday periods. This is provided at childcare centers and involves a range of fun activities and days out. Schools usually link up with BSO providers, so you can find out information through the school or your local municipality. You can also access BSO provision directly through childcare providers such as Partou or Zein Childcare.
During the longer summer break, there are also summer camps. These are more expensive than BSO services but they include fun activities suitable for children of all ages and can be a good place to meet children from different cultures and nationalities. Providers include Summer Camps Holland and Vinea.
Alongside these, there are also childminders (gastouders), au pairs, nannies and babysitters that can look after children either in your home or at theirs. Another useful resource for parents in the Amsterdam area is Amsterdam Mamas where you can search for activities for children across the city.
The costs of childcare during holiday time will vary according to the type of provision, who is providing it, and other factors. You may be entitled to a childcare allowance to cover some of the costs depending on your financial situation. For more information about this and all sorts of daycare options, read our guide to Dutch childcare.