Required to ‘inburger’ abroad? Your two-year-old should start school too, say MPs

The children of parents who were required to pass integration exams before they came to the Netherlands should by law attend pre-school so their Dutch is up to scratch when they start ordinary classes, according to two of the four coalition parties.

The right-wing VVD and the Christian Democrats say this will ensure the children are not at a disadvantage when they start formal schooling at the age of four.

‘Too many newcomers end up claiming welfare benefits,’ CDA MP Pieter Heerma said in Tuesday’s Telegraaf, while adding that children from households where Dutch is not the main language start off with a disadvantage.

‘Pre-school should be a requirement, not an option, VVD MP Bente Bekker said. ‘After all, we expect newcomers to do everything they can to participate.’

The measure can be introduced in 2020, when local authorities again assume responsibility for the integration of new arrivals.

MPs are due to debate planned changes to the integration (inburgering) system on Wednesday.

Basic exams

Bente told via Twitter that compulsory pre-schooling would only apply to people required to pass basic integration tests before they come to the Netherlands and not, for example, to American nationals.

Expats who want their children to go into the Dutch school system and don’t speak Dutch are currently not required to attend classes but can opt to do so.

Note: This article was amended on February 25 to reflect the fact that pre-school is open to everyone but that expat children are currently not required to attend. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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