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Family Life and Childcare for Expats in the Netherlands

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: October 2014

Family Life

Family plays an important role in Netherlands, with a typical family consisting of a couple and two children. In the weekdays, parents go to work, although it is not very common for women to work full-time. Children go to school in the daytime during the week. At the weekend or during holidays, families do sport, meet friends and relatives, exercise, have fun at the leisure centre or go on short trips. In Holland, the woman is often the boss of the family, while her husband is expected to do his share of the housework as his wife tells him. Most of the Dutch live in houses, although many also live in apartments in large cities.

For expatriates moving to Holland with a family, the first thing to do is to find accommodation. You can start your search online, as there will be some advertisements written in English and in other languages, such as www.funda.nl and www.perfecthousing.com. You also can get help from the estate agency or local newspapers. Estate agents typically charge one month’s rent as commission.  If you are thinking of buying a property, you can check here: https://www.expatica.com/nl/housing/buying/buying-a-home-in-the-netherlands-614_9155.html



In the Netherlands, most mothers look after their children at home and do not work full-time. It is also common to see grandparents taking on some of the responsibility to look after their grandchildren.

If you are moving to Holland with your children and it is financially feasible for you or your spouse to look after your children, it is best to do this. This means that you will save time spent looking for carers and the money they cost. Otherwise, it is recommended to arrange for childcare as soon as possible.

One option is to look for a child minder or nanny to look after your children. It is important to ensure they have a certificate to prove they are fully trained, including in first-aid training. The average cost for childminding is from €5 to €12 per child per hour. If the child minder works in your home, the hourly rate may be slightly higher.

Public childcare services in the Netherlands include nurseries and pre-schools. Most nurseries accept children aged over three months. The cost of nurseries varies a lot, depending on the location, the time of childcare required and the services provided. Roughly, you should expect an hourly rate of at least €6.50 per child. Typical hours for a nursery are from 8:30 to 12:30pm, but extended hours are allowed if needed.

While you can get by speaking English in the Netherlands, if you are considering taking up residence in the country, it is better to learn Dutch and ensure your children learn it too. Attending a nursery school or kindergarten will enable your children to develop their language skills, learn to express themselves and communicate with others in Dutch. Furthermore, children at a nursery school are not simply being looked after, but are encouraged and supervised during sessions of educational play. This will enable your children to prepare better for school in the Netherlands.

If you are a working parent, you may be entitled to claim a childcare allowance. To qualify, your children should be in a professional day care centre or with a childminder registered with an accredited childcare bureau. For more information about the allowance, you can check on the Belastingdienst website.

You may find it difficult to find a proper nursery. Normally, the first thing people do to find one is ask neighbours or friends for recommendations. If this does not bear fruit, you can search online on such sites as https://amsterdam.angloinfo.com/af/502/amsterdam-nursery-schools-creche-and-kindergarten.html.




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