Education Information

The education system in the Netherlands consists of the following levels:
Government Site Education

  • Nursery School (not compulsory)
  • Primary Education / Elementary Education (basis school)
  • Secondary Education (VMBO, HAVO, VWO)
  • Tertiary Education:
    Senior Secondary Vocational Education (Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs – MBO and company schools)
    Higher Vocational Education (Hoger Beroepsonderwijs – HBO)
    University (Universiteit, Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs – WO)

Primary Education
Primary education begins at the age of 4 (and is mandatory from 5).  Schools are divided In public and special education. (religious: Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Reformed etc.)

Note: there are primary schools in the area Zeeuws Vlaanderen/Zeeland where English classes are integrated (or a trial to be integrated). More information for the region Zeeuws-Vlaanderen can be found here: kindinzeeuwsvlaanderen

Secondary Education
Secondary education (voortgezet onderwijs) starts after completion of primary education, usually at age 12 and generally continues to the age of 18. Children are obliged to go to school until the school year in which they become 16. In the final year of primary school (group 8), the most appropriate type of secondary school is selected. Parents, children, and teachers decide this together, with the help of standardized national tests (CITO-toets). 

There are 3 levels determined by the outcome: 

  • VMBO is a preparation to a practical internship followed by work or a preparation to a vocational education. This generally takes 4 years, depending on the subjects chosen.
  • HAVO takes 5 years and prepares for Universities of Applied Sciences or colleges.
  • VWO takes 6 years and is the admission level for Research Universities.

Note: there are several secondary schools in the area Zeeuws Vlaanderen/Zeeland where teaching takes place in English (TTO classes)

Tertiary Education
In the area Zeeuws Vlaanderen & Zuid Beveland, the following schools exist:

MBO:           Secondary vocational education (various schools)
HBO :           HZ University of Applied Sciences Vlissingen
University:  University College Roosevelt, Middelburg

International Schools
International School Breda - International School Breda
(International school in Breda, covering Zeeland and West Brabant)

Antwerp International School – Antwerp International School
(International School in Belgium)

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