How many school holidays do pupils have?

In the Netherlands, the number and length of the school holidays depends on the type of school. The Compulsory Education Act says that pupils and their parents must keep to the school’s holiday dates.

Primary school holidays

The law does not set a fixed number of days off for children in primary education. But schools must provide at least 7,520 teaching hours during the eight years that children attend primary school. This works out at 940 hours a year.

Secondary school holidays

Pupils in secondary education have up to 55 days off per year. The school year also includes 12 other scheduled days off and 4 public holidays.

Holidays in secondary vocational education (MBO) and higher education

The government does not fix the number of days off for students in secondary vocational education (MBO) and higher education. There are no compulsory dates for the summer holidays or advisory dates for holidays at other times of the year. MBO schools and higher education institutions are free to set their own holiday dates, but they must meet the classroom hours requirement for MBO or the study load requirement for higher education courses.

Holiday dates in school prospectus

Schools must inform pupils and parents what the school holiday dates are before the school year begins. Most schools do this in their prospectus, which also contains the dates of the public holidays on which the school is closed.

Participation council advises on school holiday dates

Parents have a say in the holiday dates through the school’s participation council. The school board must inform the participation council of the advisory holiday dates and whether the school intends to set different dates. The participation council can give its opinion on these dates. The school board must have good grounds for disregarding this opinion.