Primary schools

Children typically receive 8 years of primary education. Primary schools in the Netherlands are usually distinguished by their denomination and the teaching methods they follow. Based on these two distinctive factors different combinations are possible within primary schools.


  • Denominational schools: most are Protestant or Roman Catholic, but there are also Islamic, Jewish, Hindu and Humanistic schools. It depends on the school how much their denomination influences their teaching and daily school life.

  • Public schools: these schools are not based on any particular religious belief or conviction.

Teaching methods
Most schools use a mainstream teaching method (classical teaching, horizontal group structure), but there are a number of schools that follow specific teaching and learning philosophies. Examples of this are Montessori, Dalton, Jenaplan Steiner and Freinet education:  

Teaching Method

Core values




Individual development

Children can learn at their own pace

The teacher does not lead, but guides

Vertical groups






Children make their own schedule and are responsible for finishing in time

Children are actively stimulated to help each other

Horizontal groups



Room for difference


Children of different age groups and levels in one class

Four basic activities: speak, play, work and celebrate

Vertical groups


Individual development


There is a formal class structure, but the focus is on the development phase of the child

Much attention paid to creative courses

Horizontal groups



Curiosity driven



Children’s experiences and curiosity form the starting point for education

Work in themes

Often learning outside the classroom

Horizontal groups


More information

  • Click here for more information about Montessori & Dalton education (IamExpat).
  • Click here for more information about Jenaplan & Steiner education (IamExpat).

How does it work?

Contact schools that interest you. Most people choose a school in their neighbourhood, and ask for an intake appointment.