International school shortage in the Netherlands starts to bite


The Netherlands risks losing out in the battle to attract international companies and highly-skilled workers if it fails to tackle the shortage of international school places, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

Next week, a committee set up by the education and economic affairs ministries is due to report back on plans to reduce the waiting lists. The FD says it has drawn up a list of 16 initiatives to boost the number of places.

Earlier this year, the government also announced plans to invest nearly €11m on increasing the supply of international school places in The Hague and Rotterdam.

The number of children attending international schools has risen 47% over the past five years and half the country’s schools are said to have a waiting list.

The waiting lists are making The Hague an unattractive place for expats and therefore businesses, Wim Rutgers of the WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency told the paper.

Robert Westlake, chairman of the Dutch International Primary Schools Association, told the paper: ‘Expats only want to work somewhere if their children can go to school. And if they can’t, they won’t come to the Netherlands.’

Amsterdam, where the situation is particularly acute, is planning to ‘expand existing schools, open new schools and connect international and national education’ in an effort to cut waiting lists, alderman Kajsa Ollongren said.

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