close

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)

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.

2018 - 2019 school holidays in the Netherlands

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

Spring break 2018 (voorjaarsvakantie, carnavalsvakantie or krokusvakantie)

  • North: February 24 - March 4, 2018
  • Central: February 24 - March 4, 2018
  • South: February 17 - February 25, 2018

May vacation 2018 (meivakantie)

  • North: April 28 - May 6, 2018
  • Central: April 28 - May 6, 2018
  • South: April 28 - May 6, 2018

Summer vacation 2018 (zomervakantie)

  • North: July 21 - September 2, 2018
  • Central: July 14 - August 26, 2018
  • South: July 7 - August 19, 2018

Autumn vacation 2018 (herfstvakantie)

  • North: October 20 - October 28, 2018
  • Central: October 20 - October 28, 2018
  • South: October 13 - October 21, 2018

Christmas vacation 2018 - 2019 (kerstvakantie)

  • North: December 22, 2018 - January 6, 2019
  • Central: December 22, 2018 - January 6, 2019
  • South: December 22, 2018 - January 6, 2019

Other school holidays in 2018

Free days for students outside of the school holidays in 2018 are:

  • Easter Monday (2e paasdag): April 2, 2018
  • King’s Day (Koningsdag): April 27, 2018
  • Ascension Day (Hemelvaart): May 10, 2018
  • Whit Monday (2e pinksterdag): May 21, 2018

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

  • Good Friday (Goede vrijdag): March 30, 2018
  • Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag): May 5, 2018

2019 school holidays in the Netherlands

These are the advised school holidays for primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands in 2019:

Spring break 2019 (voorjaarsvakantie, carnavalsvakantie or krokusvakantie)

  • North: February 16 - February 24, 2019
  • Central: February 23 - March 3, 2019
  • South: February 23 - March 3, 2019

May vacation 2019 (meivakantie)

  • North: April 27 - May 5, 2019
  • Central: April 27 - May 5, 2019
  • South: April 27 - May 5, 2019

Summer vacation 2019 (zomervakantie)

  • North: July 13 - August 25, 2019
  • Central: July 20 - September 1, 2019
  • South: July 6 - August 18, 2019

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