The availability of competitively priced international education plays an important role in the decisions for foreign companies to establish themselves in the Netherlands. That is why in 1983 the Dutch government decided to partly fund the cost of international education for children whose international parents moved to the Netherlands for work.
By Ingrid Schmoutziguer, communications advisor, International School Utrecht
Whereas school fees at state-funded International Schools vary from 4500 – 9000 euros per child per year, fees at private international schools within the Netherlands are between 18.000 and 27.000 euros and outside of the Netherlands parents might pay more than 30.000 euros per child per year. To attract foreign business to the Netherlands as well as skilful workers (kennismigranten), the Dutch government has been funding international schools for 40 years now.
Government funding (bekostiging)
The way the funding is structured has evolved over the years into the current IGBO and IGVO rules. IGBO (Internationaal Georienteerd Basisonderijs) and IGVO (International Georienteerd Voortgezet Onderwijs) schools always need to be part of a local primary and/or secondary school, and they have to offer Dutch Language Acquisition to all students. There are currently over 30 state funded international primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands, organised in the so called Dutch International Schools. These schools are always governed by a local school board.
Strict eligibility criteria for students
To ensure there are spaces available for children from internationals at Dutch International Schools, there are strict eligibility criteria for students. The largest groups of students belong to one of three categories:
- They are foreign passport holders and one of their parents/legal guardians is temporarily employed in the Netherlands.
- They are Dutch students who have lived and attended school abroad for at least two years, because one of their parents/legal guardians was stationed abroad.
- They are Dutch students who will be moving abroad with their parents within two years for at least two years. This is to be proven by a written statement of the parent’s employer.
Increasing demand for international education
The number of internationals in the Netherlands has grown rapidly over the last decade and as a result the demand for international education has also increased. The enrolment at the various Dutch International Schools grew from a total of 5400 students in 2012 to almost 16.0000 students in 2022. That is why in the past ten years we saw the opening of more international schools across the Netherlands:
- 2012: the International School Utrecht, European School of the Hague, secondary division International School Twente
- 2013: International School Eindhoven
- 2014: International School Delft
- 2017: International School Haarlem
- 2018: Optimist International School Hoofddorp, International School Laren, Waldorf International School the Hague
- 2019: International School Wassenaar, Amstelland International School Amstelveen, Salto International School Eindhoven
Last August, International School Leiden opened its doors and this coming August the International School Amersfoort will welcome its first students.
How is DIS structured?
The Dutch International Schools organisation is split into 2 separate organisations, the Dutch International Primary Schools (DIPS) and Dutch International Secondary Schools (DISS). DIS and DIPS work closely together in their contacts with the Ministry of Education and organisations such as Invest in Holland to attract foreign businesses to the Netherlands. Their work is overseen by the executive directors of school boards, who meet on a regular basis (Executive Directors Platform).