Parents in the Netherlands use childcare more than rest of EU

More than three-quarters of children in the Netherlands under the age of three went to some form of childcare in 2014 such as child day care centres, playgroups and other forms of childcare.

According to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, half of all children under three in Europe are looked after in childcare facilities.

The numbers differ significantly per country, with the Netherlands at the top with 77 percent and Bulgaria at the bottom with 27 percent.

Denmark front-runner with formal childcare

In Denmark 70 percent of children went to so-called formal childcare, while in Sweden and Norway this number was 50 percent.

In the Netherlands, 45 percent of children younger than three were cared for at a day care centre or playgroup, while 64 percent were (also) looked after by relatives, au-pairs or nannies. In eastern Europe parents make more use of informal options. In most other countries it tends to be a mix of both forms.

Hours spent in childcare facilities

In most countries where a large portion of children are taken to day care, parents have a higher tendency to work part-time.

Use of childcare for children under 3, 2014 (CBS)

This is true for the Netherlands and countries such as the UK, Switzerland and Austria. Children in these countries typically spend fewer number of hours per week in formal day care.

In eastern European countries the balance is different, and children in formal childcare tend to spend the entire week there as more parents work full-time.

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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