Chinese is now an official option in Dutch school leaving exams

Children could be sent home to highlight the issue. Photo:

Some 170 pupils at fifteen Dutch secondary schools will be taking their final exams in Chinese in the coming weeks, the Dutch institute for international education Nuffic said on Wednesday.

Seventy schools are already teaching Chinese, some as an optional subject and some as a set part of the curriculum. Chinese is the latest in a series of modern foreign languages taught at schools which already includes Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Turkish.

‘I can tell from my pupils’ reactions that they think it is pretty special to be learning a language that almost no one else learns in school,’ Nuffic coordinator of the Chinese language & culture school network and part-time Chinese teacher Jessica Paardekooper told the Volkskrant.

The official inclusion of Chinese in the exams is the result of a pilot started in 2010 in an effort to promote Chinese to further relations between the Netherlands and China.

‘Schools are offering Chinese to stand out. But it is also a subject that makes parents think: this will give my child a good start,’ the paper quotes Paardekooper as saying.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation