Just over 1.5 million Dutch children attended primary education in the school year 2003/’04. Three out of ten children went to a public school and seven in ten to a school for special education.
One third of children go to Catholic schools
Nearly 34 percent of Dutch primary school children go to Roman catholic schools, just over 27 percent to Protestant schools and 31 percent to public non-denominational schools. The remaining 8 percent go to schools based on other denominations or ideological principles.
Primary school pupils by type of school, 2003/'04
Large regional differences
In the provinces Groningen and Drenthe more than half of children went to a pubic school in 2003/’04. In North Brabant and Limburg this number was only one in six. Most 4-12 year-olds (70 percent) in these southern provinces went to a Roman Catholic school. In Friesland and Zeeland on the other hand, relatively many children attended a protestant school.
Widest ranges in North and South Holland
All provinces in the Netherlands have public, Catholic and Protestant schools. The number of schools based on other denominations or ideological principles was largest in North and South Holland.
Twenty-four of the 41 Islamic primary schools and 19 of the 37 interdenominational primary schools in the Netherlands are located in these provinces. All 4 Dutch Hindu primary schools are in South Holland, as are more than one third of the 131 reformational primary schools. The only two Jewish primary schools in the Netherlands are in North Holland.
Average number of pupils per school, by type of school, 2003/04
Hindu schools largest
There were 7,163 establishments for primary education in the Netherlands in school year 2003/’04. On average, 216 children were taught in each establishment, this is more than a quarter more than in 1990/’91.
Public schools were smaller than special schools, with an average 201 children per establishment. Out of the special schools the Hindu schools were largest, with 361 pupils per establishment. Catholic and interdenominational schools were also larger than average, with 250 pupils per establishment. The Islamic schools has an average 204 pupils per establishment.
Schools based on orthodox Reformed principles had fewest pupils per establishment: 165 on average. Seven establishments in the Netherlands combine public and special education; these are also among the smaller schools, with 181 pupils per establishment.
Theo van Miltenburg and Frank Blom