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Foundation and approval of private schools

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versie

In the Netherlands, freedom of education means anyone can start a school as long as it meets the statutory requirements. To set up a new school, a minimum number of pupils needs to be enrolled. Privately founded schools are eligible for government funding.

Applying for approval

A new school needs approval from its local municipality. To attain this, you must report the foundation of your school to the Education Executive Agency (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs, DUO) within four weeks. You must report it in writing to:


PO Box 30205

2500 GE The Hague

If your private education school is a legal entity, make sure to include the statutes and regulations when applying for recognition.

Inspection by the Dutch Inspectorate of Education

After reporting that you have founded a school, the Dutch Inspectorate of Education inspects it and informs the local muncipality's attendance officer whether it meets the statutory requirements of the Compulsory Education Act (Leerplichtwet). If so, approval will be granted by the municipality. The Dutch Inspectorate of Education regularly inspects whether your school meets all requirements. If you do not comply with the Compulsory Education Act, you will be forced to close your school with immediate effect.

Vocational and higher education

Approval is not compulsory for private schools for adult and vocational education (BVE) and higher education. The Dutch Inspectorate of Education will however inspect whether the statutory requirements are being met.

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