In the Netherlands, it is common for working parents to leave their children during the day in a crèche or childcare centre. Childcare is subject to certain laws. Employers, for example, are encouraged to contribute to the cost of childcare.
Children up to four years old can be looked after in a daycare centre or crèche. Some daycare centres have special groups for babies and toddlers; others combine the two age groups. There is typically a strict timetable for play, eating and sleeping. Young babies are normally kept to their home feeding and sleeping patterns.
Most daycare facilities are open from 08:00 to 18:00 and offer all-day care. Some have longer opening hours and offer the possibility of half-day or even 24-hour care. All childcare centres must comply with a strict standard of quality according to Dutch law.
From the age of around 2.5, children are also able to attend preschool, which is often operated by daycare centres. Preschool is not compulsory.
Daycare for Amsterdam toddlers
From 2018, toddlers between the ages of two-and-a-half and four years in Amsterdam are entitled to a minimum of 15 hours of daycare per week (with income-dependent contributions or free). Fees for additional hours also depend on the parents’ income.
Childcare allowance calculator
This online calculation tool provided by the Belastingdienst (Dutch tax office) estimates the amount that you may be eligible to receive under the childcare allowance scheme. Download a step-by-step guide to using the tool in English (pdf).
Fees can also be reduced if the child has been indicated to be at risk of lagging behind in language or other development, in which case he or she receives a recommendation for attending pre-school facilities (a so-called voorschoolindicatie).
Parents may also choose to have their baby, toddler or young child looked after by a babysitter. In this case, a babysitter who is registered with an agency, would care for your child(ren) in their home or yours. Babysitters may only care for a maximum of four children at any one time. Babysitter may also agree to care for your children during the evening, night or weekend. Parents and babysitters can get in touch with each other through an agency. The agency selects personnel and inspects places of care for safety and hygiene on a regular basis.
Childcare through an employer
Employers are not legally obliged to contribute to the cost of childcare. Some employers rent spaces at daycare centres, and others have their own daycare centres. In both cases the waiting lists are often shorter and the costs lower.
IN Amsterdam Partners
For a full list of IN Amsterdam’s partners, including childcare providers, or for more information on the partnership programme, please click here.
The Dutch National Childcare Register (Landelijk Register Kinderopvang en Peuterspeelzalen)
A list of daycare centres, where you can check if they satisfy quality demands. It is useful to know that a red dot means the centre has had a negative report.