Childcare in the Netherlands is considered a shared responsibility between parents, schools, employers and the government. The parents raise their children, schools and care centers are responsible for the children entrusted to them when the parents are working, and employers pay a childcare contribution imposed by the government to pay for the whole system. Expats working for a Dutch company in the Netherlands enjoy the same rights to childcare as any other Dutch person, and must abide by the same rules. Everybody who has children and legally works and lives in Holland is eligible for three kinds of child benefits.
- Kinderbijslag: if you have children under 18, including adopted and foster children or stepchildren you raise as your own, you will receive kinderbijslag. How much kinderbijslag you receive depends on how many children you have, as well as their ages. Once you register your kids with your municipal office – which is compulsory within three working days after the birth –, you will be contacted by the Sociale Verzekeringbank (SVB) within two weeks. You can then apply for kinderbijslag by email or online. The amount is €221 per quarter per child up to 5 years. For children aged 6-11, the benefit rises to €269 and for ages 12-17 to €316. For children with disabilities, the benefit can double.
- Kindgebonden budget (child-related budget, kgb): low- to middle-income families can apply for additional benefits, also granted by the SVB and paid for by the government. The Tax Office (Belastingdienst) decides if you are eligible to receive these benefits, depending among other things on your total household income. Those making less than €21.431 a year for a single parent or €38.181 as a couple can apply. The maximum amount for a two-parent family is €98 per month for one child, €182 for two children, €207 for three and €24,75 for every extra child. Single parents can receive up to €265 extra per month.
- Kinderopvangtoeslag (childcare allowance): if your child goes to a registered daycare, childminder (gastouder) or after-school club (BSO), you may be entitled to an allowance to pay for the costs. Depending on your income, the number of children and the type of childcare you choose, you can be reimbursed for a minimum of one third up to a maximum of 96% of the total cost. The maximum allowance is 230 hours of childcare per month and the maximum reimbursement is €8,46 per hour.
Here you can find out more about childcare and child allowances.
There are many kinds of childcare options on offer in the Netherlands, including daycare, after-school club, babysitting, playgroups, nurseries, child-minding services and pre-schools. High standards and government regulations apply to all caretakers, who must be officially registered. The quality of individual childcare centres can be checked at Kinderopvangkaart (in Dutch). In all large cities, you can find daycares and playgroups for English speakers or speakers of other languages. As some daycare centers have long waiting lists, parents may have to wait for a long time before they can drop off their little one. It is recommended to check waiting lists while you are pregnant, in order to ensure a place is available once you need it.
If you wish to hire a babysitter, you can find a vetted and registered babysitter at agencies called ‘oppascentrales’, for example Nanny Nina. The usual rate for registered babysitters aged 23 or over is €8-€12 an hour. There are no regulations for informal babysitters, so parents can look elsewhere for cheaper options, such as a neighbour looking to make some money. Around €5-7 an hour is expected for a babysitter in his/her teens. Always make sure you choose a babysitter that you trust, check their references and meet the babysitter at least once before you leave your child in their care.