With water all around, swimming skills are an absolute essential for kids in Amsterdam.

You’ve recently moved to Amsterdam and your child doesn’t know how to swim. Or your child is at the age that an A diploma is mandatory in order to go in the deep end of a public pool. But what does it entail, and how can you find the right swim school that will provide it? Here’s what you need to know: 

  • The standardized Dutch swim diplomas are levels A, B, and C.
  • The actual time it takes to acquire an A diploma averages anywhere from 1 – 2 years. So if your child starts at the recommended age of 4 (or at some schools, age 5), then on average they should be able to achieve their swim diploma by the ages of 6 to 7 1/2.
  • The infamous waiting lists for swimming lessons are real. Most swim schools do not allow children to start swimming for an A diploma until they are 5 years old and accept registrations when your child is 4. Make sure and get your child signed up as soon as they are 4.
  • Children under the age of 5 can take part in parent and child swimming classes or survival swimming. These classes help children get used to the water and to achieve their diploma quicker than the average 1-2 years. More importantly, they make children safer around water.

These are some of the most popular swim schools recommended by Amsterdam Mama’s offering these types of lessons:


Zwemschool Druppel

Offers diploma lessons from 4 years old. There is a possibility of a waiting list, so enquire early. Lesson are for 45 minutes. Turbo swimming is also offered, where kids are guaranteed a diploma within a specified time frame: A diploma 14 weeks, B diploma 6 weeks, C diploma 6 weeks. (There are constant discussions about this method as some experts say that it’s not safe to teach children so quickly, while others disagree.)

Sportfondsen Oost

Offers baby swimming (from 6 weeks old) and diploma swimming (from 4 years old).


Het Marnix

Offers parent and baby/toddler swimming with 6 levels starting from 5 months old until 4 years old, and then a special 4-year-old class where they learn to float and a few types of strokes, which introduces them to their future diploma swimming classes. Diploma lessons from 5 years old (sign up at age 4, as the waiting list is around a year).

Swim4Survival (Sportplaza Mercator therapy pool)

Offers private one-on-one survival swimming lessons from the ages 8 months (crawling) until 6 years old. Classes are taught in English or Dutch with the goal of water safety, survival, and basic swimming skills allowing for a quicker diploma achievement. Diploma swimming lessons are also available as a follow up to the standard survival course.

Zwemschool Robbedoes (Sloterparkbad)

Offers diploma swimming in groups of maximum 8 kids. Turbo courses are also offered.

Aquakidzz (Sloterparkbad)

Advertised as an international swim school teaching in English and Dutch, offers toddler (from 2 1/2) and diploma swimming (from 4 years) in small groups of 4-6 children.


R&A Sports & Swimming ♦AMR 2016 Honourable Mention: Best Swim School♦

Offers baby swimming (from 6 weeks old) diploma swimming and survival swimming (from 2 1/2 years old) in groups of 8-9 children.


Offers baby swimming (from 12 weeks) and diploma lessons starting from 4 years with a maximum group size of 4 kids. There is a waiting list.

Other Locations

Oerbron (multiple locations)

Offers parent and baby/toddler swimming from birth until 5 years. A special introductory lesson is offered for the very small babies (birth until 5 months old).  Diploma lessons from 5 years old (sign up at age 4, there is no waiting list). Lessons are given in blocks of 13 lessons for both baby/toddler swimming as well as diploma swimming. Lessons are offered in small groups.

Waterbabies (multiple locations): ♦AMR 2016 Winner: Best Swim School and Best Class for Babies♦

Offers parent/child swimming classes in small groups (which is great for making new friends) from birth until 4 years old focusing on water confidence and water safety skills. Lessons are given in English (or Dutch).

Zwemschool Vogel (Amstelveen)

Offers baby (from 12 weeks), toddler, and diploma swimming. Diploma swimming starts at 4 or 5 years old with a maximum of 4 kids per group. There is a waiting list.

Rob’s Swimming School (Dorint Airport Hotel-Badhoevedorp/De Otter-Uithoorn)

Offers private or group lessons of 2-3 children (both survival and diploma swimming) from 3 years old. Lessons are conducted in both Dutch and English.

This article has been compiled from the recommendations of our members on the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook group.

Kara Bos

Kara Bos is originally from the US and is a mother of 2 young children. She's married to a Dutchie and started Swim4Survival as a result of this lovely group Amsterdam Mama’s, where the idea blossomed into an amazing business and has allowed her to enjoy more time with her little rascals.