Childcare in the Netherlands
What kinds of childcare are available in the Netherlands?
There are many options for childcare available to you in the Netherlands. Below you will find some general information relating to the most popular examples:
- Family, child and informal care is homecare with members of the family, a childminder or other caregiver
- Playgroups are informal groups that usually meet weekly and provide parents of children from newborn to three years with the opportunity to meet other parents and chat over a cup of coffee, while their children play together in the same room
- Oppas (babysitter) can be useful for evenings and shorter periods of time. Most neighbourhood magazines and local expatriate websites post small ads with names offering babysitting services. Check with schools or neighbours for recommendations. You can also use the services of an oppascentrale (babysitting agency). Some agencies ask for a membership fee for 6-12 months. The advantages are that you can nearly always get a sitter and the costs are usually reasonable. The disadvantages are that it may be a different person every time and their experience in looking after young children may vary
- Nannies are in-home professional childcare providers who have either extensive experience in caring for children or have graduated from a nanny school. Most nanny training programmes include first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, as well as instruction in health, nutrition and recreation. Note that it is the responsibility of the employing family to pay the social security for the nannie, which may be expensive. In the Netherlands there is only one word for babysitters and nannies: oppas
- Gastouderopvang (childminder service) is available for children of all ages. The service is provided by a childminder who is connected to a host parent agency. The gastouder (childminder) can care for the children in their own home or in the homes of a care centre and can accommodate up to six children simultaneously. Please note that a private childminder must provide proof of formal training and/or experience and should also have completed a first aid training course
- Au pairs are people aged from 18 to 26 years (usually female) who are placed with a family to provide childcare and some light housework in exchange for a room, board and a small amount of spending money. Au pairs usually work on a one-year contract. Most families find their au pair through a professional agency, which normally takes responsibility for checking the references and language proficiency of their au pairs
- Kinderdagverblijven (nurseries) for children up to four years old . These are usually open between 07:30-18:00.
- The 24-uurs opvang (24 hour reception care) primarily for children of parents who work irregular shifts which can provide day, evening, night and weekend care
- Flexibele dagopvang (flexible day care) for children aged up to four years old in which day care is provided for a fixed number of sessions per week, but there is some flexibility as to when this is undertaken (depending on the needs of the parents)
- Peuterspeelzaal/peutergroep (preschools ) for children between two and four years old. A few times a week, the toddlers spend a few hours playing and doing activities with other children
- Naschoolse opvang or buitenschoolse opvang (after-school care centres ) is provided after normal school hours (from 7:30am to 6:30pm) and school holidays for children aged between four and 12 years old. The children get something to eat and drink, participate in various activities and get guidance on homework