Looking for childcare options in The Netherlands? Ever considered a Gastouder? Don’t even know what that is? Don’t worry, below is a comprehensive guide to this type of childcare.

Many parents prefer a Gastouder to a Daycare, and this article was written so that you can make an informed decision about what works best for your own family.

What is a Gastouder?

A Gastouder is a licensed child minder or host parent that can take care of up to 6 children (age ranges from 6 weeks to 12 years) in his or her own home, in a care centre, or even at the parent’s house in some cases.

How can I find one?

All Gastouders must be registered at the National Childcare Register, and can generally be found through a Gastouders agency. These agencies have the task of ensuring that the Gastouder’s work place is in good condition, primarily in terms of safety and hygiene. They also provide basic supplies like playpens and cribs, take care of the payments, and generally mediate between the parent’s and the childminder. Other places that list Gastouder adds are the local newspapers (under “oppas”), the notice board of the Consultatiebureau, and the online yellow pages (look for “gastouderbureau”).

What kind of schedules do Gastouders practice?

The schedules are somewhat flexible, according to the parent’s needs. A fixed number of hours a week is agreed upon, and some host parents are also available for evenings and weekends.

What are the rates?

The rates are variable, but slightly cheaper than daycare. Check with your local Gastouder’s agency!

Can we get childcare allowance for using a Gastouder’s services?

Yes, Gastouder services qualify for the childcare allowance, as long as your Gastouder is licensed. Keep in mind that grandparents who babysit on a regular basis can also be considered recognized child minders and are eligible for this allowance as well. This sums up the basics of the Gastouder option. People who chose this form of childcare list as the big advantages the flexibility of the schedule and location, and the one-to-one attention that the child minder is able to give to the few children that are under his or her care.

photo credit: kona99 via photopin cc

Catarina Queiroz

Catarina Queiroz is writer living in the beautiful city of The Hague with her husband and daughter. She was born in Portugal, but spent her childhood in Africa, an experience that has shaped her life and interests. She has a B.A. in Philosophy and is also a trained teacher. Traveling, for leisure and cultural enrichment, and reading, especially crime and historical novels, are her passions. You can read what she has to say on parenting and expat life, plus get your hands on one of her delicious recipes, on her blog craftiemum.com.