The Netherlands formal educational provision for children starts at the age of four, compulsory education is from the age of five. There are various childcare facilities for infants and toddlers in the Maastricht Region. The region offers plenty of choice, including agencies for in home childcare, day care centres. Childcare is not free in the Netherlands, however it can be subsidised in the form of Kinderopvangtoeslag (childcare benefit). Go to our Tax Benefits section for more information on Childcare benefit.
Crèche / Day care
Parents who work during office hours may leave their children at an accredited kinderdagverblijf (crèche / day care centre). Most are open from 08:00 till 18:00. Registrations are required in advance and there is often a waiting list for particular days of the week.
Gastouders (host parents) offer small-scale childcare facilities in a home environment for children from six weeks to 12 years of age. This arrangement tends to be more flexible as parents and host parents can mutually agree on the hours of care. Childcare facilities can help find a suitable, registered host parent.
Peuterspeelzaal / peuteropvang
Traditionally children from 2-4 years old attended an accredited peuterspeelzaal (nursery / preschool) two or three half days a week. The nursery is usually affiliated with a primary school, and at the same location. This system has now been amalgamated with kinderdagverblijf (crèche/day care), but the option still exists. The idea is for children to adjust to playing with other children, to expand their social and language skills, and to prepare them for primary school.
Buitenschoolse opvang – BSO
Most basisscholen (primary schools) start at 08:30 and finish at approximately 15:00. For working parents Buitenschoolse Opvang – BSO (Before and After School Care) is the usual solution. Many primary schools have a BSO on site, others arrange transport to and from the BSO to the primary school. Most BSO's have the same opening hours as childcare centres.
Au-pairs can be hired for a period of one year. There are regulations in place for the hiring of au pairs and as such there are registered agencies to contact for more information. Au pair Agencies hiring international employees must adhere to the regulations set out by the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Authority).
From around the age of 14, children may start looking for oppassen (babysitting) jobs in the local area. High school and university students may look for babysitting jobs as they can combine this with their study. Babysitters normally get paid between €4-15 an hour, depending on their age, the number of children and the time the babysitter needs to be present. Sometime babysitters offer tutoring in another language or other school subjects. There are a few babysitting intermediaries catering for the expat community, but generally babysitters are found by recommendations from other families.