Home in Leiden

Croatian, Za vise informacija na hrvatskom jeziku, molimo kontaktirajte Tamaru,

German, Wenn Du weitere Informationen auf Deutsch brauchst, wende Dich bitte an Dorothea,

Danish, For mere information paa Dansk kan De kontakte Heidi.



Czech, Pro více informací v ceském jazyce kontaktujte prosím


French, Pour plus d'informations en français, vous pouvez contacter Claire Caron sur

Polish, Po dodatkowe informacje w jezyku polskim kontakt or

Spanish, Si quieres más información en castellano, no dudes en ponerte en contacto conmigo, Laura

Indian, Please contact Rippy at if you'd like help in Hindi or Punjabi.

Diana Jekina,


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  1. Introduction
  2. Full childcare
  3. Preschools
  4. Out-of-school care
  5. Contact information



If you are seeking childcare, the first decision is whether to go for Dutch or English-speaking. The options for the former are naturally much more varied, and it is of course a great step towards getting really involved in life here. Leiden does not boast many non-Dutch childcare options; the Hague has much more to offer on that front. Many of the carers (leidsters ) at day nurseries here, though, can speak fair-to-middling English (or French, or more!) and can help you or your child if you are getting stuck.

Childcare in the Netherlands runs from tiny babies (many Dutch women return to work when statutory maternity leave ends, around ten-twelve weeks) up to four years, as children normally start school at the age of four - literally the day after their fourth birthday. International schools may have different programmes; for example, the Elcerlyc international school in Leiderdorp has a nursery group for three-year-olds. Although formal learning is not mandatory before the age of five, crèches will not normally accept four-year-olds in daycare for more than a month or so after their birthday, so you may find yourself semi-obliged to send your child to school at that point.

If you require full childcare, the options are crèche (day nursery, daycare centre), oppasmoeder or gastouder (childminder) looking after your child in her home, or a 'nanny' babysitter/au pair at your home. These are described in the relevant sections.

If you just want your child to spend some time with other children in a pre-school environment, there are peuterspeelzalen (pre-schools, playgroups), for children aged 2-4. These are usually a few hours a few mornings (or afternoons) a week; read more here. Informal toddler groups (at a play centre of some kind, where the parents stay around) such as tend to spring up in the UK seem to be thin on the ground in this country, perhaps because of the excellent peuterspeelzalen .

Once your child is in school, there is a wide range of after - school clubs, called BSO or NSO, (Buitenschoolseopvang' or ' naschoolseopvang' respectively), often linked to and at the same location as a crèche. These will fetch your child from school (within a certain area; you will need to ask which schools they serve) and look after them until the end of the day. In the holidays they offer full daycare to school-age children. In Leiden this care is usually until age 12; in Oegstgeest until 16 at some locations.

Childcare Subsidy

In the Netherlands, if both parents are working (and freelance work counts) then you are eligible for a contribution towards your childcare. Depending on how much you earn, this can be very substantial, although be aware that there have been cuts in this (as in all areas these days) and this subsidy is not what it once was. Nonetheless it is definitely not something you should miss out on, and details - in Dutch - can be found here. If you need help filling in the (Dutch) forms (and red tape being what it is here, you may well do!), then I suggest you first ask your crèche or childminder themselves for help (Compananny are particularly helpful), or your tax adviser if you have one through your work. There is also a specifically English-speaking company which can help you find childcare and sort the financials out (at a price, naturally):, and there may be others. Do make sure that if you do get a subsidy you know exactly how much subsidy you have been paid and when and that you notify the taxman immediately if your childcare changes. One of us had an unsatisfactory part-time ‘nanny' who quit and we didn't realize that we were still being paid the subsidy for several months, which we then had to pay back. Ouch.



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