How to enrol your child

Answers on the questions our school principals have been asked most often.

Local procedures

At what age do children go to primary school in the Netherlands? ›
Children in the Netherlands generally attend primary school from age 4 to 12. The first school day is normally the day your child turns 4. Leading up to that moment most schools give your child the opportunity to get used to coming to school by inviting him/her for just a few hours. From the age of 5, compulsory education applies.
Which form do I need when I want to enrol my 4 year old in group 1? ›
The city of Amsterdam introduced a centralised application form and procedure for the admission of first-year pupils aged 4. If you live in Amsterdam when your child turns 3, you will automatically receive this form directly from the municipality of Amsterdam by post. 

If you recently moved to Amsterdam or your child was already 3 years old when you did, you can use a blank version of the form (available as download here).

You need a citizen service number (BSN) to complete the form. This is a unique personal number given to everyone registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP). Everyone who registers with the BRP is automatically given a BSN.

Please also add proof of your (future) address in Amsterdam. For example a copy of your BRP registration or a rental contract. Your adress will give you priority in nearby schools during a so called 'lottery'. The 'lottery' only takes place when a school has more applications than capacity (find more information and an informative video on this procedure here).

Finally please also consider the enrolment deadline linked to the date of birth of your child. The first upcoming deadlines are: 
- March 7th 2024, for children born between 1 October and 31 December 2020 (find all deadlines here
What are the enrolment deadlines for children turning 4 this school year? ›
The first upcoming enrolment deadline for children turning 4 this schoolyear: 

7 March 2024, for children born between 1 september and 31 december 2020

Other enrolment deadlines for children turning 4 this schoolyear:
- 6 June 2024, for children born between 1 january and 30 april 2021
- 7 November 2024, for children born between 1 may and 31 august 2021


How to enrol my child if it is 6 years or older? ›
If you want to register a child that is 6 years or older, most schools will refer you to a newcomer class first. These are special language classes available at 21 primary schools spread across the city where your child will receive several months (usually 10 to 12) of additional language training to learn Dutch. Within our schoolboard we have two newcomers classes at Olympiaschool and Kindercampus Zuidas

You can't sign up for these newcomer classes yourself. The procedure requires that you first choose the school where you want your child to go to after the newcomer class. This will be the so called 'stamschool' (parent school) to your child. The 'stamschool' will register your child in a newcomer class through a city-wide database.

As newcomer classes regularly run out of places. This may unfortunately result in a temporary class far from the school of your choice. That is one of the reasons some schools now offer special Dutch language classes themselves. Within our schoolboard you'll find such solutions at Merkelbachschool. Located near the Zuidas business district. 
A newcomer class pupil will attend its future final school for one day a week. So your child will quickly be able to meet his or her definitive classmates and make friends among them.

From the age of 12 it will be not be possible to have your child enroled in a newcomer class. Children of this age are routed directly to secondary education that starts on average at the age of 12 in the Dutch education system.

What is the 'lottery system' and to which pupils does it apply? ›
In 2015 almost all* primary schools in Amsterdam switched to an identical and transparent admission policy for first-year pupils. This new procedure has brought an end to the different rules per district or schoolboard and applies to the enrolment of 4 year olds only. The enrolment is now done simultaneously, automated and according to identical rules for both schools and parents. 

The so called 'lottery' is only triggered when a school has more applications than capacity on 1 of the 3 enrolment deadlines in March, June and November (find specific dates here).
We subtitled this one minute explanatory video of the City of Amsterdam for you, but you can also download a brochure by the City of Amsterdam.

*10 primary schools in Amsterdam chose not to participate in the centralized enrolment procedure.


What fees do Dutch schools charge? ›
Primary schools in the Netherlands do not charge tuition fees. However, most schools will ask parents for a voluntary financial contribution ('ouderbijdrage') to help fund extra curricular activities or holiday celebrations e.g. The national average for this contribution is €57,- (source: Schoolcosts Monitor 2019, Ministry of Education).

Most schools also ask additional contributions for yearly field trips or for lunch supervision when you decide to let your child stay in school during the lunch break ('tussenschoolse opvang'). Also these are voluntary. 

You'll find all fees in each of our school profiles here on Schoolsearch Amsterdam.

Educational concepts

What is a Dalton school? ›
Dalton schools use an educational concept originally created by Helen Parkhurst. It is inspired by the intellectual ferment at the turn of the 20th century. Educational thinkers such as Maria Montessori and John Dewey influenced Parkhurst while she created the Dalton Plan. Their aim was to achieve a balance between a child's talent and the needs of the community. 
The Dalton concept is a method of education by which pupils work at their own pace, and receive individual help from the teacher when necessary. There is no formal class instruction. Students draw up time-tables and are responsible for finishing the work on their syllabuses or assignments. Students are also encouraged to help each other with their work. The underlying aim of the Dalton concept is to achieve the highest mental, moral, physical and spiritual development of the pupil.
What is Developmental Education? ›
Developmental education is a set of guiding principles not a set of practices, curriculum, or style. It is a commitment to the understanding that growth and development happens in children and adults along a continuum, in an orderly fashion, and, although somewhat predictable, is individual in nature. This simple statement has huge implications as to how we address learning, or view children. Overlaid as guiding principles are principles that relate to each developmental stage, and each style of instruction. They are:

- Integration: when learning fits together it is much more likely to be retained.
- Active learning: When learning is active (more so physically in the early years and active cognitively in older years) it is much more effective. Development must be stimulated externally as well as internally driven. It is the art of developmental education to understand our roles in each. 

Facts and Figures

What data can I find on the 'Scholen op de kaart' website? ›
'Scholen op de kaart' is a website developed by the National Primary and Secondary Education Council.  
It contains information on the quality of all primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands. All statistical information originates directly from the database of the National Education Inspectorate. This makes 'Scholen op de kaart' an objective source of information on school results.

The interpretation of the graphs might require some understanding of the Dutch language as the website is unfortunately not available in English. We have translated the explanatory notes of the most important graphs for each of our schools here on Schoolsearch Amsterdam. If you need help, please contact our helpdesk.

About Schoolsearch

What are the opening hours of the helpdesk? ›
Monday - Friday 9.00 - 12.00 hrs. Closed during schoolholidays (Autumn, Christmas, Spring, May, Summer). Outside opening hours, if none of our agents is available or if chat is offline, you can always use the chat button to send us an offline message. You'll receive an answer within 5 workingdays.
What is OOadA? ›
OOADA is a school board consisting of 22 primary schools in the centre and south district of Amsterdam. We are not just a collection of schools. We are one large, close-knit organisation in which schools work together in all sorts of ways on the basis of a shared vision. Of course there is also room for the individuality of schools within this framework. This is reflected in the diversity of the profiles of our 22 schools. Among them are Montessori and Dalton schools, but also schools with a fine arts profile, newcomerclasses or focused on developmental education.
We offer good quality contemporary education. This was also established in a recent survey by the National Education Inspectorate.