The general term for daycare in the Netherlands is kinderopvang, which covers options such as host parents, daycare facilities and nursery school. Please keep in mind that the demand for daycare facilities in Holland is high and that it is therefore not unusual to encounter waiting lists of 6 months for certain facilities. Build in some time to look around and to organize your arrangements, especially when you need to rely on daycare facilities!
Ask your employer if he can help you with finding suitable facilities. Sometimes Dutch employers have their own childcare facilities. Most universities in the Netherlands for example have their own arrangements. Furthermore your local municipality might give you an overview of the different options available to you. And another great source for information are parents with young children in your surrounding. They can generally tell you all sorts of useful information.
Types of childcare facilities
In the Netherlands there are three main types of organised childcare facilities:
- Kinderdagverblijf: This Dutch version is a cross between day care and nursery school. Children up to age 4 are eligible. Cost: Prices differ but a regular price is €750 a month for three days a week for the first child. Most daycare centres give a discount for the second child (and third...).
- Gastouder (Host Parent): Here, a host parent who has children of her own cares for a small group of children in her house. Be aware: Sending your child to a gastouder may also qualify for government contributions, if it meets certain requirements. Cost: Prices differ but €6,- per hour per child is quite common.
- Buitenschoolse / Naschoolse Opvang - BSO (After School Hours Care): These organizations take care of children in the age from 4-12 after school hours and during holidays. Your child's school can help you locate local ones. Cost: Prices differ but €650,- per month per child is normal.
For the childcare facilities above generally you can apply for a childcare allowance - a contribution of the government towards the cost of childcare facilities.
Be aware that you are not eligible for childcare allowance if you do not have an employment contract.
Other childcare facilities options are:
- Peuterspeelzalen : There are toddler groups ages 2 – 4 and are open in the mornings. Usually, they are connected to a primary school and allow an easy transition from the speelzaal to the school. They are especially useful for children who stay home with their parents during the first 4 years. Cost: Prices differ but for two half days €25,- is normal
- Oppas (Baby-Sitter): On evenings and weekends high school or university students from your neighborhood are common candidates to baby-sit your child.
- Au Pair: Almost all au pairs are found with the help of an au pair organization, of which there are quite a few in the Netherlands. Cost: You must provide the au pair with food and shelter AND a monthly pay of approximately €325,- for which they will work 30 hours a week taking care of the children and doing simple household chores.
A few other types of child care are: Flexibel Kindercentrum, which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, available in large cities; Project: an arrangement where a certified kindergarten / nursery school teacher comes to your (or someone else’s) house; and arrangements with International Women’s Clubs (such as Moms and Tots groups, and others). Ask your employer's HR staff if you need help finding information about the possibility of these options in your town.
Read more on Expatica: A guide to the Dutch childcare system