In this multi-part series, we’re exploring topics related to education in Amsterdam and the Dutch system, with international families in mind.

In this episode, we talk to Annebet van Mameren from New2NL about how international parents can best navigate the Dutch education system. We’re also joined by Tatia Gruenbaum to talk about two of her initiatives: The Little English Library (in Breda) and Swap 20, a free book lending program for teachers (facilitated by the American Book Center in Amsterdam). 

Questions covered in this episode include:

  • What makes the Dutch education system interesting (and often confusing)?
  • What are the various Dutch language and bilingual schools currently available in Amsterdam?
  • What is best, to search for a school or a place to live first?
  • What happens if you can’t find a place for your child in any school?
  • How likely are there to be spaces for more than one child in a school?
  • What are some tips for approaching a school?
  • What should you ask a school about giving support to a child who doesn’t speak Dutch?
  • What is The Little English Library and how did it come about?
  • How does it meet the needs of both the local Dutch and international community?
  • How can one set up a similar initiative?
  • What sort of time and effort does it take?
  • What is Swap 20 and how does it work?
  • How can a school participate (ie how can parents spread the word)?
  • What exciting possibility exists to expand this program?

Show Notes:

The Dutch Education Group

New2NL (also on Facebook and Twitter: @New2nl)

Annebet’s article on Understanding the Dutch Education System

Voorlees Express

Europa School 

Batavia School


School of Understanding

Little Universe School

Crisfield Educational Consulting (Eowyn Crisfield)

The Little English Library

Swap 20 

The American Book Center

Oliver Jeffers

Emily Gravett

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Donna Bardsley

Donna Bardsley is the travel-loving mother of three homebodies who hate to leave the house. After living in Amsterdam for six years, she has recently moved her family back to the US where she is experiencing all the joys of reverse culture shock.