Home Education Children's Education School holidays in the Netherlands
Last update on March 12, 2019
Written by Gary Buswell

Here is a list of school holidays in the Netherlands for 2019 and 2020 to help you with holiday time plans if you have a child in a Dutch school.

If you need to plan for school holidays in the Netherlands, bear in mind that some of the holiday dates vary depending on what region you child’s school is in. Parents living in the Netherlands can use this short guide to find out the dates for holidays and other school days off as well as discovering what childcare options there are for working families.

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: autumn (one week), Christmas (two weeks), spring (one week), May (one week, usually spread across April/May) and summer (six weeks). Christmas and May holidays are the same across the country, but the other three holidays are staggered across three regions (north, central and south) to 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 Gelderdand are split across the three regions. You can see a breakdown of these from the Dutch government.

Privately-run international schools in the Netherlands may have holiday dates that are slightly different from state schools in their region. 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, so school holidays in the Netherlands are a time when families plan vacations as well as other day trips or fun activities. Holidays are also used as a time for families to get together for festive occasions such as Christmas. There may also be other local festivals that fall within school holiday periods.

Dutch school holiday dates 2018–19

  • Autumn break: 20–28 October 2018 (North and Central regions); 13–21 October 2018 (South region)
  • Christmas break: 22 December 2018 – 6 January 2019
  • Spring break: 16–24 February 2019 (North region); 23 February – 3 March 2019 (Central and South regions)
  • May break: 27 April – 5 May 2019
  • Summer break: 13 July – 25 August 2019 (North region); 20 July – 1 September 2019 (Central region); 6 July – 18 August 2019 (South region)

Dutch school holiday dates 2019–20

  • Autumn break: 19–27 October 2019 (North and Central regions); 12–20 October 2019 (South region)
  • Christmas break: 21 December 2019 – 5 January 2020
  • Spring break: 15–23 February 2020 (North region); 22 February – 1 March 2020 (Central and South regions)
  • May break: 25 April – 3 May 2020
  • Summer break: 4 July – 16 August 2020 (North region); 18 July – 30 August 2020 (Central region); 11 July – 23 August 2020 (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 details on dates for these holidays in the 2018–19 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 organise festive activities on these dates, but pupils are not obliged to take part.

Each Dutch school will have its own calendar which will also include other dates when the school is closed. These are for things such as teacher training (studiedagen in Dutch), 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 school holidays in the Netherlands

If you are a working parent, you may need to make childcare arrangements during school holidays in the Netherlands. Fortunately, there are a few options to choose from as the Netherlands has quite an advanced level of childcare, including holiday day care, compared to many other European countries. There is outside school care (buitenschoolse opvang [BSO] in Dutch) 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 (who work with several international schools in the based in Amsterdam and The Hague regions).

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. Other than this, there are childminders (gastouders in Dutch), au pairs, nannies and babysitters that can look after children either in your home or at theirs. See our guide to childcare in the Netherlands for details on options. 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, and other factors. You may be entitled to a childcare allowance to cover some of the costs depending on your financial situation. See our guide to Dutch childcare for further information.