close

Dutch school vacations and holiday dates

main image

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)

North Holland (including Amsterdam and Loosdrecht), Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Flevoland (except Zeewolde), Gelderland (Hattem) and Eemnes in Utrecht.

The Central region (regio midden)

South Holland (including The Hague and Rotterdam), part of Gelderland, Utrecht (except Eemnes) and Werkendam and Woudrichem in North Brabant.

The Southern region (regio zuid)

Gelderland (including Arnhem and Nijmegen), Limburg, Zeeland and North Brabant (except Werkendam en Woudrichem).

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.

2017 - 2018 school holidays in the Netherlands

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

Spring break 2017 (voorjaarsvakantie, carnavalsvakantie or krokusvakantie)

  • North: February 18 - February 26, 2017
  • Central: February 25 - March 5, 2017
  • South: February 25 - March 5, 2017

May vacation 2017 (meivakantie)

  • North: April 22 - April 30, 2017
  • Central: April 22 - April 30, 2017
  • South: April 22 - April 30, 2017

Summer vacation 2017 (zomervakantie)

  • North: July 22 - September 3, 2017
  • Central: July 8 - August 20, 2017
  • South: July 15 - August 27, 2017

Autumn vacation 2017 (herfstvakantie)

  • North: October 21 - October 29, 2017
  • Central: October 14 - October 22, 2017
  • South: October 14 - October 22, 2017

Christmas vacation 2017 - 2018 (kerstvakantie)

  • North: December 23, 2017 - January 7, 2018
  • Central: December 23, 2017 - January 7, 2018
  • South: December 23, 2017 - January 7, 2018

Other school holidays in 2017

Free days for students outside of the school holidays in 2017 are:

  • Easter Monday (2e paasdag): April 17, 2017
  • King’s Day (Koningsdag): April 27, 2017
  • Ascension Day (Hemelvaart): May 25, 2017
  • Whit Monday (2e pinksterdag): June 5, 2017

Check with the school if your child is free on the following holidays:

  • Good Friday (Goede vrijdag): April 14, 2017
  • Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag): May 5, 2017

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.

Read also

  • Dutch holidays

    Dutch holidays

    Dates of the upcoming public holidays in the Netherlands.
    read more
  • Sick leave, holiday leave & time off work

    Sick leave, holiday leave & time off work

    Learn about holiday leave and sick leave in the Netherlands. Maternity, paternity, parental and care leave are also covered in this handy guide.
    read more
  • International schools

    International schools

    Are you looking for an international school for your expat children? Here's a list of international schools per city all over the Netherlands.
    read more
  • The structure of the Dutch school system

    The structure of the Dutch school system

    Confused about the Dutch school system? In reality, it is similar to the school system in other countries but there are differences expats should know about.
    read more
  • Dutch school types

    Dutch school types

    Primary schools and schools in the Netherlands are divided into two categories. Learn about Montessori, Dalton, International and other Dutch school types.
    read more
  • Child benefits in the Netherlands

    Child benefits in the Netherlands

    Information on the most common child benefits and allowances families and single parents can receive in the Netherlands.
    read more
  • Family & Kids

    Family & Kids

    Information about family and kids for expats in the Netherlands.
    read more
  • Attractions & Sightseeing

    Attractions & Sightseeing

    How many Dutch attractions and sights (museums, canals, world heritage monuments, national parks, zoos and animal parks, amusement parks) have you visited?
    read more
  • Groups & Clubs: Family & Children

    Groups & Clubs: Family & Children

    Be part of the international community in the Netherlands. Here's a list of family and children groups and clubs for locals and expats in the Netherlands.
    read more