Schooling & education

Select the right school for your child with information on international primary and secondary schools for English-speaking and bilingual students.

Schools and education in Amsterdam

The Netherlands has a strong, well-balanced education system. Day care is available for very young children, typically from 0 to 4 years old. Some may begin preschool from the age of 2, although this is optional. Children then attend primary school from the age of four, before transferring to secondary school after eight years. The choice of secondary school and type of education will affect the path children take into further and higher education, for example, to attend a university of applied science or research university.

There are international schools throughout the Netherlands, typically promoting an international curriculum taught completely in English. However, an increasing number of newcomers’ classes and international classes (bridge classes) help international arrivals to learn Dutch and settle into the local education system, while some schools are even moving towards bilingual education.

To learn more, download IN Amsterdam's guide to the Dutch education system, read more about the national education system on Eurodyce, and explore the topics below.

Guide to international schools

Find the right school

Amsterdam child reading Edwin van Eis
The School Finder is a website with information about every school in Amsterdam, at preschool, primary and secondary levels.

Newcomers' classes

Discover the Dutch schools that host special classes for international newcomers.

Education in the Amsterdam Area

teenagers graduating high school
Download a handy brochure that summarises the education system for international newcomers.

International schools

Unseen Photo fair Amsterdam David Costa
Discover the international schools in and around Amsterdam, covering a wide spectrum of learning, languages and cultures.

Primary schools in the Amsterdam Area

In the Netherlands, children go to primary school (basisschool) from the age of three or four.

Types of schools


Before going to primary school, children can attend a preschool.

Primary school

Kids playing with sweets
Children in the Netherlands generally attend primary school from age four to 12.

Secondary school

Amsterdam student at computer
After group 8, the final year of primary school, pupils leave primary school for secondary education.