Organizing childcare in the Netherlands
When starting a family in the Netherlands, keep in mind that maternity leave in this country is relatively short – only 10 weeks. However, you don’t have to worry in advance. The childcare system in the Netherlands is very extensive and already infants are guaranteed care.
You can put your infant under the care of qualified staff in kinderopvang or kinderdagverblijf are Dutch nurseries.
Nurseries in the Netherlands are private, but are subject to full state control. The staff must have the appropriate standard-compliant qualifications, and the caregiver can have between 3 and 8 children in their care, depending on their age.
The nursery guarantees care for children up to the age of 4. They are usually open until 6:30 p.m., but the days and hours are usually arranged individually with parents. Parents can expect an age-appropriate educational program for their child at the nursery.
Instead of a nursery, we can choose home care (gastouder). Our child is then taken care of by a certified sitter who cares for our children in her home. The sitter must also be qualified and have completed a first aid course. This type of care must also be on the LRK (Landelijk Register Kinderopvang) list. A nanny can be expected to take care of up to two children under a year old. This care option is often chosen by parents who work irregular hours, as some nannies take children overnight or on weekends.
Children as young as 2.5 years old can start attending the kindergarten. In this facility, children integrate with others, learn and get used to separation from their parents. In the kindergarten, children have the opportunity to participate in the VVE program, which allows them to catch up on their knowledge of the Dutch language – this is especially helpful for the children of foreigners.
In the Netherlands, as in Poland, there are day care centers. They are run by private individuals. The day-care centers create educational programs on their own, which is why you can often come across profiled establishments. They also have the possibility to care for children on days off from school or vacations.
A nursery, kindergarten, home care or day care center in the Netherlands is always paid. This is a significant burden on the family budget, which is why working parents can apply for an allowance paid by the tax office.