In the Netherlands, school holidays differ per region. Dutch schools and subsidized international schools in the Netherlands are divided into three regions: North, Central and South. To avoid a holiday rush, each region has its own vacation schedule. Utrecht belongs to the central region. Some school holidays (schoolvakanties) such as the summer, Christmas and May vacations, are fixed. Since schools have the flexibility to extend the May holiday by one week and can deviate from the advised spring/autumn breaks, it always pays to check the precise dates with your school.
Can I take my child on vacation outside of the school holiday periods? The Dutch government does not permit parents to take their children on vacation outside of the school holiday periods (exceptions apply). Parents who do this violate the Compulsory Education law (Leerplichtwet).
It’s common for internationals to feel overwhelmed by aspects of their new life in the Netherlands. It takes energy and tenacity to find your way in a new country, culture, workplace, home, neighbourhood, school and local Dutch community. For some, it’s hard to imagine grappling with a new language as well - and you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that so many Dutch people speak English. Nonetheless, learning to speak at least some Dutch increases opportunities for employment and study, and it also helps you to build an easier life and establish connections with the locals.
There are many opportunities in the Utrecht Region for learning the Dutch language with a variety of institutions. Each language school has their own techniques, teaching styles, and pricing structure. Some programmes focus on business and tailor-made intensive courses for professionals at all levels, whilst others offer intensive, semi-intensive and extensive Dutch language training with additional lessons in Dutch culture and social life. Several institutes are also CEDEO certified for customer satisfaction and quality.
The Hoi Holland! app, makes what can often feel like serious business fun, turning language learning into a game. Although you can certainly speak English with practically anyone in the Netherlands, learning the local language helps you to get a deeper sense for the country, its culture and society. By playing Hoi Holland! you will learn some basics of Dutch with minimal effort. By doing so, it makes everyday activities such as grocery shopping or going to a restaurant a little easier and more fun. It will also help you to connect more readily with Dutch locals, shortening the path to new friends!