Compulsory Education Age
5–16; part-time attendance may be allowed from 16 to 18.
Estimated Number of Homeschoolers
Around 100 families.
Homeschooling is not explicitly recognized by Dutch law. At the local level, the Municipal Executive Council checks whether pupils subject to compulsory education are attending schools in their municipalities and have primary responsibility for executing this Act, both for public and for nongovernmental education. The act requires each municipality to have at least one compulsory education officer. Compulsory attendance is from ages 5 to 16, with part-time attendance allowed from 16 to 18 years old in the event of an approved combination of study and employment.
Parents who withhold their children from official school education are liable to punishment. The Compulsory Education Act, Article 2, paragraph 1, states that school attendance is mandatory. However, many are able to obtain a religious exemption to compulsory education. In this respect, the Netherlands—along with the German Länder—deviates from most of the other European countries where homeschooling is recognized as a regular means to organize education.
The law does allow an exception from the mandatory schooling requirement in cases in which the conscience of the parents cannot be satisfied with the available schools in the neighborhood and there are not enough parents locally with the same concerns to justify starting a new school. On a yearly basis some 200 children enjoy homeschooling because of this legal exception.