Compulsory Education Age
From the 5th birthday until age 16. Part-time attendance allowed for 16 to 18 years old (an approved combination of study and employment).
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 five to sixteen. Part-time attendance allowed for sixteen to eighteen (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 is – alone with the German Länder – deviant from most of the other European countries, where home schooling is recognized as a regular means to organize education. However, the law allows 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 home schooling because of this legal exception. You can read more information on home education in the Netherlands through the Right to Home Educate Initiative.