If you have a family that will join you to the Netherlands you have a lot more to care about. That is why we will here provide you some information about day-care, school and benefits. The Netherlands has no formal educational provision for children under the age of 4. Outside the formal education system there are, however, childcare facilities for younger children. Most of the regions offer plenty of choice, including agencies for in-home childcare, day care centres, and SPIL centres (integrated primary education, play school, and childcare).
You could choose to hire a nanny or au-pair. There are agencies where you can register for your own au-pair or nanny. This ensures you, when your babysitter gets ill or goes on holiday, you will have a substitute. Nannies who nurse several children in their own home, are allowed to have a maximum of four kids at a time. They might be more flexible than a daycare center, when for example you have to work late.
In the Netherlands many parents who work during daytime, leave their children with a children daycare center. These centers either have groups with children in all ages from 0 to 4 years (vertical groups) or groups per age (horizontal groups). Most daycare centers are open from 7:30h/8:00h till 18:00h/18:30h. With some you can leave your child a half day and some cities even have 24-hour childcare centers. Please make sure to register on time as most daycare centers have a waiting list.
When you have children from the age of 4, they have to leave children daycare and go to primary school. From the age of 5, primary school is mandatory. Most schools start at 8:30h and finish around 15:00h. This means you cannot bring your child too early and you have to pick up your child at 15:00h. For parents who have to start working before 8:30h or work after 15:00h, it is possible to arrange Pre School Care or After School Care (Buitenschoolse Opvang, BSO). Some schools have their own BSO next door, others have transport for the children from and to selected BSO's. Most BSO's have the same opening hours as childcare centers.
Childcare is not for free in The Netherlands. A Dutch law deals with the quality, management, and finances of childcare in The Netherlands. It is based on the principle that childcare is a matter for parents, employers and authorities. As parents you pay for childcare services. Some employers reimburse a part of the costs (tax-free). You might also qualify for benefit from the national authorities. In that case, your childcare center must be accredited and registered in the place where you live. The level of childcare benefit depends on the composition of the household, type of childcare, childcare expenses and your income.