The Netherlands formal educational provision for children starts at 4 years of age. 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 / Kinderdagverblijf
Parents who work during regular office hours may leave their children (2 months-4 years old) at an accredited kinderdagverblijf (crèche / day care centre). Most are open on weekdays from 07:00-19:30. The crèche is sometimes affiliated with a primary school and located on the same premises. 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. Registrations are required in advance and there is often a waiting list for particular days of the week.
For those in Maastricht looking for other international parents to connect with, the Maastricht International Playgroup is a non-profit organisation run by parent volunteers.
Gastouders (host parents) offer small-scale (maximum of 6 children) childcare facilities in a home environment for children from 6 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.
Before and after school care
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 1 year. There are regulations in place for the hiring of au pairs and as such there are registered agencies to contact for further information. Au pair Agencies hiring international employees must adhere to the regulations for au pairs set out by the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service).
From around the age of 14, older children may start looking for oppassen (babysitting) jobs in the local area. Babysitters normally get paid between €3-€6 an hour, depending on their age, the number of children and the time of day the babysitter needs to be present. University students also look for babysitting jobs as they can combine this with their study. These older students sometimes offer their multilingual talents or tutoring alongside the babysitting duties, and therefore request higher hourly rates such as €10-€15. There are a few babysitting intermediaries catering for the expat community, but generally babysitters are found by recommendations from other families.