Vocational Training in the Netherlands

The study environment in higher education in the Netherlands is reminiscent of Danish with a close dialogue between students and teachers. Teaching is usually in Flemish, but English-language courses are currently being set up in many programs. If you go to a vocational education, you have good opportunities to get an internship in the Netherlands. Unemployment is generally low in the Netherlands, including among teachers and nurses.

As one of countries starting with letter N listed on Countryaah, the Netherlands consists of several 12 provinces, which together cover an area the size of Denmark. It is centrally located in Europe with borders to Germany and Belgium and has Europe’s largest port city, Rotterdam.

The level of education in the population is generally high. Approx. 3.5 million Dutch people are undergoing some form of education, and 1 in 3 complete a university degree.

The language of the Netherlands is called Dutch (or Dutch). Often the term Flemish is also used to describe the dialect of Dutch spoken in Belgium. Dutch is a small language area, which is one of the reasons why most Dutch people have a good knowledge of one or more other languages. Dutch society is a highly developed, modern welfare society, with which Denmark compares itself in many areas.

Worth knowing

Vocational training in the Netherlands

  • Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education, VMBO, lasts 4 years. In the first two years, you can choose between 4 different directions, where the difference between them is the weighting of general subjects resp. vocational subjects. In the last two years, you can choose a professional line in the following 4 areas: Technology, health and welfare, economics and agriculture. Provides access to vocational education that is above the youth education level (post-secondary), called Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs, MBO.
  • Higher General Continuing Education, HAVO, lasts 5 years. According to Topschoolsintheusa.com, the education combines general and vocational education and provides access to higher education that is profession-oriented and which is called Hoger Beroepsonderwijs (HBO) (See below under higher education). The last two years of a HAVO course, you can choose a professional line that consists of compulsory subjects and electives: Science and technology, science and health, economics and society, and culture and society.

Vocational education above upper secondary education level (post-secondary):

  • Middelbaar Beroepsunderwijs, MBO, lasts 1-4 years, where level 1 takes ½-1 years, level 2 takes 2-3 years, level 3 takes 2-4 years and level 4 takes 3-4 years. The education focuses on the following areas: Economics, technology, health, personal care, welfare and agriculture. With a fully or partially completed VMBO, it is possible to enter different levels of an MBO.

The Flemish vocational educations are like the Danish exchange educations, where you switch between theory and practice.

If you are thinking of taking all or part of your own internship abroad, read the section on internships abroad for vocational education under the section Primary school and upper secondary education.

Work in the Netherlands

The unemployment rate in the Netherlands in 2012 was 5.3%. There is under-employment among primary school teachers, nurses and high-level IT staff.

It can be difficult to get a job in the Netherlands if you do not speak Flemish.

Job search

You can receive unemployment benefits for 3 months while you apply for a job in the Netherlands. See more about this in the article Job search abroad in the folder Paid work.

You can get information about working in the Netherlands from the EURES Advisers at the country’s Job Centers.

In addition, you can also search for e.g. this job database: www.careerjet.nl

Here you can get information about assessment and approval of foreign educations.

Work-and residence permit

You are free to stay 3 months in the Netherlands. Then you must apply for a residence permit at the local police station. A residence permit costs approx. 25 euros. You must document that you can manage yourself financially for as long as the stay lasts.

See also the article Visas, work and residence permits.

Practical conditions


The higher education institutions in the Netherlands are usually located in the city center and the individual institutes are scattered. There is therefore rarely a campus with student housing, as is known from other countries.

As more and more people in the Netherlands choose to live alone, there is also a great shortage of small homes.

At almost all educational institutions, there are international offices with housing visas for foreign students. Here you will often be able to get help finding a home.

Facts about the Netherlands

Population: Approx. 16.2 million

Language: Dutch.

Employment: Unemployment in 2012 was 5.3% (OECD).

Residence permit: Applied to the local police after 3 months.

Study in Netherlands