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Dutch school vacations and holiday dates

Dutch school vacations and holiday dates

Dutch school vacations and holiday dates

Wondering when the next school holiday is or how the Dutch school holiday system works?

The Dutch school holiday schedule

When it comes to determining holidays, Dutch schools and international schools in the Netherlands are divided into three regions: North, Central and South. To avoid a holiday rush, each region has its own vacation schedule.

The three Dutch holiday regions

The Dutch provinces are divided into three regions that determine when school holiday is:

The Northern region (regio noord)

Province Municipality
Drenthe All municipalities
Flevoland All municipalities, except Zeewolde
Friesland All municipalities
Gelderland Hattem
Groningen All municipalities
Noord-Holland All municipalities
Overijssel All municipalities
Utrecht Eemnes and Abcoude

The Central region (regio midden)

Province Municipality
Flevoland Zeewolde
Gelderland Aalten, Apeldoorn, Barneveld, Berkelland, Bronckhorst, Brummen, Buren, Culemborg, Doetinchem, Ede, Elburg, Epe, Ermelo, Geldermalsen, Harderwijk, Heerde, Lingewaal, Lochem,  Montferland (except  Didam), Neder-Betuwe  (except  Dodewaard), Neerijnen, Nijkerk, Nunspeet, Oldebroek, Oost-Gelre, Oude IJsselstreek, Putten, Scherpenzeel, Tiel, Voorst, Wageningen, Winterswijk, Zutphen
Noord-Brabant Werkendam (except Hank and Dussen) and Woudrichem
Utrecht All municipalities except Eemnes and Abcoude
Zuid-Holland All municipalities

The Southern region (regio zuid)

Province Municipality
Gelderland Arnhem, Beuningen, Doesburg, Druten, Duiven, Groesbeek, Heumen, Neder-Betuwe (only Dodewaard), Lingewaard, Maasdriel, Millingen a/d Rijn, Montferland (only Didam), Nijmegen, Overbetuwe, Renkum, Rheden, Rozendaal, Rijnwaarden, Ubbergen, Westervoort, West Maas en Waal, Wijchen,Zaltbommel, Zevenaar.
Limburg All municipalities
Noord-Brabant All municipalities except Woudrichem and Sleeuwijk, Nieuwendijk and Werkendam in the municipality of Werkendam
Zeeland All municipalities

Fixed school holidays in the Netherlands

Some school holidays (schoolvakanties) such as the summer, Christmas and May vacations, are fixed. The May holiday cannot be moved, but schools can extend it by one week. It is therefore important to always check the precise dates with your school.

Flexible school holidays in the Netherlands

Schools are allowed to deviate from the advised holiday period for spring break and the autumn holiday. For example, schools in the south of the Netherlands often shift their spring break forward to correspond with Carnival, instead of having it later like the rest of the country. Autumn vacation dates can also be flexible for school districts, but usually these remain the same as the advised dates.

Can I take my child on vacation outside of the school holiday periods?

The Dutch government does not permit parents to take their children on vacation outside of the school holiday periods. Parents who do this violate the Compulsory Education law (Leerplichtwet).

In exceptional circumstances, parents can submit a request (known as a beroep op vrijstelling) to the school board for leave outside holiday periods. This is only allowed once per school year and must be requested at least eight weeks in advance.

Other conditions are that the leave is intended for a family holiday, is for a maximum period of 10 days and must not occur in the first two weeks after the summer holidays.

2020 school holidays in the Netherlands

These are this year's advised school holidays for primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands:

Spring break 2020 (voorjaarsvakantie, carnavalsvakantie or krokusvakantie)

  • North: February 15 - February 23, 2020
  • Central: February 22 - March 1, 2020
  • South: February 22 - March 1, 2020

May vacation 2020 (meivakantie)

  • North: April 25 - May 3, 2020
  • Central: April 25 - May 3, 2020
  • South: April 25 - May 3, 2020

Summer vacation 2020 (zomervakantie)

  • North: July 4 - August 16, 2020
  • Central: July 18 - August 30, 2020
  • South: July 11 - August 23, 2020

Autumn vacation 2020 (herfstvakantie)

  • North: October 10 - October 18, 2020
  • Central: October 17 - October 25, 2020
  • South: October 17 - October 25, 2019

Christmas vacation 2020- 2021 (kerstvakantie)

  • North: December 19, 2020 - January 3, 2021
  • Central: December 19, 2020 - January 3, 2021
  • South: December 19, 2020 - January 3, 2021

Other school holidays in 2020

Free days for students outside of the school holidays in 2020 are:

  • Easter Monday (2e paasdag): April 13, 2020
  • King’s Day (Koningsdag): April 27, 2020
  • Ascension Day (Hemelvaart): May 21, 2020
  • Whit Monday (2e pinksterdag): June 1, 2020

Check with the school if your child is free on the following holiday(s):

  • Good Friday (Goede vrijdag): April 10, 2020
  • Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag): May 5, 2020

2021 school holidays in the Netherlands

These are the advised school holidays for primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands in 2021:

Spring break 2021 (voorjaarsvakantie, carnavalsvakantie or krokusvakantie)

  • North: February 20 - February 28, 2021
  • Central: February 20 - February 28, 2021
  • South: February 13 - February 21, 2021

May vacation 2021 (meivakantie)

  • North: May 1 - May 9, 2021
  • Central: May 1 - May 9, 2021
  • South: May 1 - May 9, 2021

Summer vacation 2021 (zomervakantie)

  • North: July 10 - August 22, 2021
  • Central: July 17 - August 29, 2021
  • South: July 24 - September 5, 2021

Holiday childcare in the Netherlands

If you need to work during the school vacations then a holiday programme (vakantieopvang) might be a good option for your child. Some childcare centres (kinderopvang) with afterschool care for school-age children (buitenschoolse opvang) also offer holiday programmes which can include sports, excursions or camping trips.

Other education institutions and holidays

The school holiday schedule is not applicable to childcare centres or to Dutch higher education. Universities and vocational education institutions (MBO) can set their own holiday dates.

Other Dutch holidays

For national holidays, please check out our Dutch holidays and days off page.

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