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.

Choosing a school

Newcomers' classes

Kids playing with sweets
Discover the Dutch schools that host special classes for international newcomers.

Current availability at international schools

Fiep Westendorp School Amsterdam Edwin van Eis
Some international schools have long waiting lists while others have plenty of spots available.

Education in the Amsterdam Area

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

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.

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

Primary schools in the Amsterdam Area

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

Enrolling your child at a primary school

Detailed advice on how to find the right primary school for your child and how to apply.

Checklist for primary school information days

man riding bakfiets with child Amsterdam
Most schools organise information days to help you choose the right school for your child.

Secondary schools

Secondary school

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

Branches of secondary education

Amsterdam students
There are four branches of secondary education – practical education for pupils who have the ability to learn a trade.

Studying in Amsterdam

Amsterdam VU university entrance Peter Valckx
Get to know Amsterdam’s universities and vocational institutes and choose the one that’s right for you.