Unfortunately, you cannot be in two places at once. So if you work, and have kids, you will probably have to make use of a Dutch day care service. Luckily, there are many different day care resources to choose from in the Netherlands! We will cover all your options on this page. Keep reading to find out which type of day care is right for you and your children, how you can arrange it and how much it might cost.
Dutch day care: the basics
- ‘Kinderopvang’ is the Dutch term used to refer to all forms of day care in the Netherlands
- There are, however, many different types of Dutch day care
- Every municipality in the Netherlands has a legal obligation to ensure that each form of day care is safe for your children
- Your municipality will consequently have rules to ensure that the following matters are of a good standard: hygiene, safety, group sizes, sleeping space, toys, insurance, and sick children
- Approximately 767,000 children currently make use of the various types of day care available in the Netherlands!
High Demand for Day Care
- The number of children going to traditional day care in the Netherlands has actually been decreasing
- This is partly due to there being fewer births. It is also because the price of day care in the Netherlands is rising
- This is leading many parents to search of cheaper alternatives. We will go into less conventional day care options further down this page
- While the demand might be dwindling, waiting lists remain long
- There is a shortage of day care in the Western part of the Netherlands in particular
Better your Chances
How can you get your child into day care?
- We advise you to register for day care very early. By this, we mean preferably as soon as you become pregnant!
- You should still be prepared to wait anywhere between six to eighteen months before your child can get a place
‘Kinderdagverblijf’, or ‘Crèche’, is a cross between day care and nursery school. Here are the facts:
- It is available for children aged between 0 and 4 years of age
- Infants as young as six weeks old can attend
- Drop-off time is typically between 8 and 8:30 A.M
- Pick-up time is generally between 5:30 and 6 P.M
- Some centers offer more flexible hours. A few even have a 24 hour service
- You also have the option of taking your child to the center for what the Dutch refer to as ‘day portions’, or ‘dagdelen‘. This means that your infant can stay at the center for only the morning, or only the afternoon. You can do this on just a few days a week, or everyday if you prefer
- Some of the kinderdagverblijven allow older children, aged 12 and under, to attend for pre and after-school hours and school holidays
The Cost of Dutch Day Care
How much does it cost to send your kids to a day care center in the Netherlands?
- Fees vary from municipality to municipality, and from one day care center to another
- Some parents will receive a subsidized spot
- Usually, if your child attends Dutch day care two days a week, you should expect to pay around €210 per month
- If he or she attends the center for 5 days a week, you will be charged around €1,300 per month
- The good news is that you can get subsidized by the Dutch government for some of your day care expenses. We will explain how this works in more detail below
- The maximum government subsidy you can receive is €7.18 per hour. You can receive this for a maximum of 230 hours per month
- You can calculate how much subsidy you will qualify for online
Regulations and subsidies
Childcare Allowance in NL
The Dutch word for ‘Child care allowance‘ is: ‘kinderopvangtoeslag‘. This is how it works:
- If you place your children in day care, you will receive an income-independent and an income-dependent contribution
- Your employer is obligated to contribute towards the income-independent portion of your allowance
- You will, however, receive this part of the allowance from the Dutch tax authorities
- The income-dependent contribution will come from the Dutch government
- The sum of both payments is referred to as your ‘kinderopvangtoeslag’
The Size of your Allowance
How much allowance will you receive?
- The size of a contribution will depend on the number of children a couple have
- The actual costs of the day care, or after-school care, are taken in to account as well
- Parents may have an elementary school-aged child, who spends fewer hours at day care, or attends a cheaper center, than their other child(ren). In this case, the size of the contribution his or her parents receive will be based on the smaller expenses, incurred by the older child
Receiving Child Care Allowance
How do do you arrange child care allowance in the Netherlands?
- In order to receive child care allowance in the Netherlands, you need to make arrangements with the Dutch Tax authorities
- If you have already arranged to receive other allowances from the Dutch tax authorities, these will automatically be extended
- If there are any changes to your circumstances, you must notify the tax authorities online
- You must inform them of the following kinds of change: moving in with a partner, marriage, divorce, having fewer children in day care, a change in income, a different bank account number
- Under certain conditions, you can receive child care allowance if you live abroad
Allowance for Expats
Can you receive child care allowance as an expat living in the Netherlands? Certainly! However, in order to qualify for the allowance, you and your partner must meet the following requirements:
- You must have Dutch nationality, or legally reside in the Netherlands
- One or more of the children for whom you receive ‘kinderbijslag‘ should be registered at your address. ‘Kinderbijslag’ is ‘child benefit’. You can read about it in our article on legal matters for parents in the Netherlands
- Alternatively, you could be receiving a foster parent contribution, or be receiving benefits for someone else you support financially
- When deciding which day care organization to send your child to, you must check whether or not it is registered. Read more about this in the ‘Side note’ box below
- You must have entered into a written agreement with the facility providing day care for your infants
- Your child must not yet attend Dutch middle or high school
Your Employment Status
- The day care needs to be paid for by you, or your partner
- You must be employed, self-employed or working for your partner’s company
- If you are not employed, you must be a student following an ‘inburgeringscursus’. This is a ‘cultural familiarization course‘
- If you are neither employed nor following this course, you have to be receiving a benefit. The benefit must give you the right to receive a contribution towards your day care payments, from your municipality
Select a Registered Center
You must ensure that you send your children to a day care center that is registered with the municipality in which it is located:
- This rule always applies, no matter whether the center is for day care, after school care, or even if your child is being cared for by a host family
- The municipality will only allow a center to register once they have checked that it meets a certain set of criteria
- Ask to see a statement clarifying that your centre of choice is registered with the municipality
- Or, you can visit the website of the National Register for kinderopvang
How Much Child Allowance?
- The amount of child allowance a couple receives is be based on the number of hours worked by the partner who works the least
- So, if you work five days a week and your partner three, you will receive an amount based on those three days
- The theory behind this is that your partner is expected to be able to take care of your child(ren) on the days that they are not working
- If you lose your job, you will retain your right to child allowance for a period of six months. Within this six months, you are expected to find another job
- Depending on how much you earn, you will receive anywhere between 33.3% and 94% of the maximum hourly amount of € 7.18
A Care Contribution
Under certain conditions, your municipality might contribute to the costs of day care for your child(ren). You will be eligible for this contribution if, for instance:
- You are an artist and are looking for work based on the ‘Work and Income for Artists Act’ (WWIK)
- If you are younger than 18
- If you are still a student
Contact your municipality to see whether you qualify to receive financial help from them.
Toddler Groups in NL
‘Peuterspeelzalen’ is the Dutch word for ‘Toddler Groups’. Here are the basic facts:
- Toddler groups are designed for children aged 2 – 4
- The groups are usually open in the mornings. Some municipalities, however, now offer afternoon programs
- Technically speaking, a toddler group is not a day care facility. It should therefore be seen as a type of ‘preschool’, especially since its opening hours are limited
- Often, toddler groups are connected to a primary school. Some even share the same campus.
- This is intended to allow children to transition more easily, from their toddler group, into primary education
- There are approximately 15 children in a toddler group. This sized group will typically have two teachers
- Usually, children can attend toddler group on two or three fixed mornings per week
- Your municipality will have a guide called a ‘gemeentegids’. In this guide you will find the addresses of toddler groups in your area
Toddler Group Prices
- The cost of sending your child to a toddler group might be income-indexed
- Generally, you should expect to pay anywhere from €45 to €150 per month for two mornings a week
- Recognized and registered toddler groups also qualify for employer or government contributions
After School day care in NL
Elementary schools are obligated to arrange BSO for their pupils, either on or off their premises
In the Netherlands, after-school day care is called either ‘buitenschoolse opvang’: ‘BSO’, or ‘naschoolse opvang’.
- Either type of after-school Dutch day care provides care for children aged between 4 and 12, during after-school hours and holidays
- BSO also offers an additional service, providing child care during pre-school hours
- These after school day care services are are a form of Dutch day care that is in high demand in the Netherlands
- Either after-school care service may also offer day care, night care or ‘teen’-care. Night care is an excellent resource for single parents who have to work night-time shifts
- Your municipal guide, or municipal website, will provide you with more information on these options
- Dutch elementary schools are actually obligated to arrange BSO for their pupils, either on or off-their premises
After-School Day Care Costs
- The calculation used to determine the cost of Dutch after-school day care is similar to that for Dutch nursery schools. You can find a paragraph about Dutch Nursery schools above
- For information on employer and government contributions towards after-school day care, take a look at our earlier paragraph on ‘Regulations and Subsidy’
- The rule stating that any Dutch cay care organization must be registered in its local municipality applies to after-school day care centers as well
- The maximum amount of government contribution you can receive for this day care is: € 6.69 per hour
Host parents and teachers in NL
There is a recognized system in the Netherlands, through which someone called a ‘host parent’ can care for your children. A host parent is called a ‘gastouder’ in Dutch, and is a type of child minder.
- A host parent usually has children of their own
- Host parents are usually female, but not always
- A host parent might care for up to six children at her own home
- In some cases, the host parent will come to your house to care for your children
Alternatively, you you can employ a preschool teacher or a babysitter, to come to your house to care for your kids:
- A preschool teacher might be called a ‘leidster’ in Dutch. A babysitter is called an ‘oppas’
- These professionals must meet certain requirements
- There appears to be a growing demand for this type of day care in the Netherlands
- You can find out which babysitters and teachers are available in your area my consulting your municipal guide, which we referred to earlier
- You may be able to arrange a government contribution to help you cover the costs
- Word-of-mouth is also a good way to find a suitable and reliable sitter. So ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations
- There are also plenty of excellent sitters who are not officially registered, but rely on the ‘mommy network’ in their area
Sitters’ Prices in NL
How much does it cost to employ a sitter or a teacher in the Netherlands?
- The Dutch child minder agency is called the ‘gastouderbureau’
- It is sometimes referred to as the: ‘The kinderopvang aan huis’, meaning childcare at home
- These institutions maintain strict guidelines regarding babysitter’s fees and responsibilities
- The cost of making use of these options is usually income-indexed
- Currently, it ranges from around € 4.50 to € 9.50 per hour
- This is dependent on the number of children that need to be cared for, whether the sitter of teacher in question has experience and whether you expect him or her to do any kind of housework as well
- Parents can only request a maximum government subsidy of €5.75 per hour for this type of Dutch day care
- They will only be able to receive a subsidy if their employee has been entered in a national registry
- The payments must be made through a childminder agency
- This form of Dutch day care is also covered by the legislation regarding employer and government contributions, which are outlined above
- In order for you to qualify for a government contribution, your sitter, host parent or teacher must be officially registered
Parent participation day care in NL
Parent Participation Day Care is a relatively new phenomenon in the Netherlands. The Dutch phrase used to describe it is the ‘ouderparticipatiecrèche’. Here is how it works:
- There are a certain number of parents who belong to any one Parent Participation Day Care group
- The parents take it in turns to care for all of the children within the group
- This is an accepted form of day care according to the new day care laws described earlier
- Therefore, the parents involved can qualify for financial governmental support. That is, providing that the group is registered, recognized and meets the legal requirements
- In order to ensure that all the children within a group receive quality child care, parents must secure a qualification from the National Register for Day Care in the Netherlands
Parent Participation Day Care Prices
- It is difficult to predict how much this type of Dutch day care will cost
- It is likely to depend on the agreement the parents within a group reach, amongst themselves
- The fact that this day care qualifies to receive a subsidy will influence the amount that the parents agree upon
- If parents are not sufficiently qualified and do not meet the governmental requirements, the group will not be eligible for a subsidy
Au Pairs in the Netherlands
Au pairs who come to work in the Netherlands receive room and board in exchange for providing child care.
- An au pair may be required to help with light housekeeping duties too
- Under Dutch law, you are obligated to select an au pair with the help of a recognized intermediary or an au pair organization
- These organizations will take care of the following duties: interviewing and selecting qualified host families and au pair candidates, drawing up contracts, helping with the visa process and assisting with an au pair’s cultural adjustment difficulties
Au Pair Prices in NL
- It will probably cost you around € 450 to € 850 per month to provide your au pair with room and board
- As a host family, you will also be responsible for covering your au pair’s visa, permit and insurance expenses
You will also have to pay the au pair organization some money. They will charge you for:
- A placement fee
- A one-time interview
- A registration fee
- Possibly, a monthly management fee
Be sure to check out several organizations, and make sure they are within your budget, before signing along the dotted line.
Babysitters in the Netherlands
Are you looking for a babysitter who can care for your child(ren) on a one-off evening, when you go out with your partner? A neighborhood high school or university student is probably your best bet.
- You can find a local babysitter through the Dutch central listing of local baby-sitters. This is called the ‘Oppascentrale’
- However, some people maintain that the best way to locate a reliable sitter is through your local network or by word-of-mouth
- Depending on your sitter’s age, experience and geographic location, fees can range from €3.50 to €6 per hour
- How many children you have might also have a bearing on what your sitter charges
- If you decide to employ a babysitter on a regular basis other rates and rules will apply
- An hourly fee of around €5 to €7.50 would be paid to a more permanent babysitter
- If you would like you sitter to take care of some housekeeping duties as well, you will be expected to pay them €7 to €10 per hour
Amternative Dutch day care options
1. Flexible Child Centre
- The Flexible Child Centre is called the ‘Flexibel Kindercentrum’ or the ‘Kinderdagverblijf’ in Dutch
- This is a type of child care center that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but receives no government support
- You will find them in the larger cities in the Netherlands
- To find one, check your ‘gemeentegids’
- The cost of sending your kids to the Flexible Child Centre depends entirely on the center, and the number of days/hours that you place your child(ren) there
- One full day (7A.M. – 6:30P.M.) will cost approximately €76, based on a charge of approximately €7.25 an hour
2. A Nanny
- The process of hiring a nanny in the Netherlands is no different to that of any other country
- The easiest way to do it is online, or through word-of-mouth
3. An International Women’s Club
- Many international women’s clubs have their own Moms and Tots Groups
- If you ask to join, you are sure to be welcomed into the group
- These are not, per se, day care organizations
- They are, however, a great way to meet other parents and to network
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