Overseas Jobs | Working and living in the Netherlands

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Learning the Dutch language

If your child speaks Afrikaans it takes about three weeks to get used to the Dutch accent, thereafter your child should be able to deduce what is said to him/her if the speaker speaks slowly and with a few hand gestures.

0-2 years old;

For young children (under age two) there is no impact. They are only starting to learn communicating themselves and it is astounding how fast they pick up the “foreign language”, sometimes even better than their mother tongue.

2-5 years old

For children 2-5 years of age I dare say the same as above. The only difference is that their friends will sometimes notice (and rarely comment) that they speak “with a different voice”, but they leave it at just that and play on. It seems that play really has no language. The Dutch are very open to other  cultures/languages and mostly regard it important to teach their children from a young age to respect others and find a way to befriend them regardless of their differences.

5+ years old

For children 5 and up it may be a little more difficult as communication skills are usually a little stronger by then and they also start relying on language more during playtime and in school. That said, I quote the above: “The Dutch are very open to other cultures/languages and mostly regard it important to teach their children from a young age to respect others and find a way to befriend them regardless of their differences.” Teachers go out of their way to engage a child not only in class, but on the playground as well. It also helps if you enrol your child in extra-curricular activities such as football, swimming, dance classes, etc. so that they will have more exposure to the language and their peers.

Het alfabetlied

Try practicing the alfabetlied with your kids!

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Related subjects

Childcare facilities

In the Netherlands there are three main types of organised childcare facilities: Kinderdagverblijf, Gastouder and Buitenschoolse / Naschoolse Opvang - BSO (After School Hours Care). For the childcare facilities you can apply for a “kinderbijslag”.

Education system

From age 4 they attend elementary school (“Basisschool”) of which the first two years are similar to kindergarten, but as soon as your child turns 5 years old they are expected to show up daily.

Child allowance

When you life and work in the Netherlands, you may qualify for “kindgebondenbudget” or also called “kindertoeslag” which is a child support benefit.

Swimming diploma

It is compulsory for children to go for swimming lessons and to qualify by doing a diploma called “A, B, C” swemdiploma. It makes sense as there is so much water here in the Netherlands!

Medicines and Doctors

Immunizations are done by the Consultatiebureau. If your child has a chronical condition, ask your current physician to draw up a summary of his/her records for you to bring with.

Terminology

Once in the Netherlands, you'll notice some frequently used terminology, like: kinderdagverblijf, gastouder, naschoolsopvang.