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Netherlands
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Diagram of the education system

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  • Education system in Netherlands

    Netherlands
    Overview of the education system (EAG 2019)
  • Tertiary attainment among young adults increased by 8 percentage points between 2008 and 2018. Despite this increase in attainment, higher education still delivers strong labour-market benefits in the Netherlands.
  • At tertiary level, students are as likely to drop out in their first year in the Netherlands as the OECD average, and students generally take longer to complete their bachelor's studies than in many other countries.
  • Vocational education is a common track for upper secondary students but gender plays a substantial role in field of study choice.
  • Teachers have a heavier teaching load and larger classes, but are relatively well remunerated. Secondary school teachers that stay in the profession enjoy particularly good salaries relative to other countries.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

    Show indicators for which your country ranks among the top or bottom: Sort by:

    Educational outcomes

    The percentage of first-time graduates in vocational programmes at upper secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (54.1 %, rank 9/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average age of upper secondary graduates from vocational programmes in Netherlands is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data (22 Years, rank 10/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average age of upper secondary graduates from general programmes in Netherlands is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data (17.1 Years, rank 36/38 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Attainment by field of education

    The percentage of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education who studied in the field of business, administration and law is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (27.7 %, rank 8/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education who studied in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (11.3 %, rank 28/32 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education who studied in the field of health (medical and dental) is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (3.5 %, rank 9/14 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The proportion of 25-64 years-old adults with below upper secondary education participating in formal education is high in Netherlands. (6.1 %, rank 9/24 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Among adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education, a high proportion participate in non-formal education. (36 %, rank 4/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Among adults (25-64 years-old) with tertiary education, a high participate in non-formal education. (79.6 %, rank 2/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation rate of 25-64 year-olds in job-related non-formal education not sponsored by the employer is low in Netherlands, compared to other countries with available data. (8 %, rank 25/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate among 15-19 year-olds in Netherlands is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (93.1 %, rank 4/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, the average age of new entrants into doctoral programmes is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (27 Years, rank 35/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, the share of part-time students in master's programmes is relatively large. (35.5 %, rank 10/30 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation expectancy

    The percentage of young people expected to graduate from vocational programmes in upper secondary education during their lifetimes in Netherlands is comparatively high (48.1 %, rank 8/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from a doctoral or equivalent programme in Netherlands ranks as one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.2 %, rank 10/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Netherlands has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to graduate from short tertiary education programmes during their lifetime. (0.8 %, rank 19/23 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Netherlands has one of the lowest percentages of young people expected to graduate from short tertiary education before the age of 30. (0.6 %, rank 17/21 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Netherlands has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to obtain a bachelor's or an equivalent degree during their lifetime. (46 %, rank 10/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation by gender

    In Netherlands, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively low. (36.7 %, rank 41/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of information and communication technologies is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.5 %, rank 36/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8.1 %, rank 38/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of education in Netherlands is relatively small. (1.4 %, rank 41/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of arts and humaties in Netherlands is relatively small. (7.9 %, rank 37/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, the proportion of upper secondary vocational graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (17.8 %, rank 31/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    In Netherlands, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively low. (9.6 %, rank 32/35 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of arts and humanities is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (57.2 %, rank 30/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of business, administration and law is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (45.6 %, rank 32/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (44.7 %, rank 30/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12.5 %, rank 29/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of national tertiary students enrolled in the field of arts and humanities in Netherlands is relatively low. (7.9 %, rank 32/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of national tertiary students enrolled in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction in Netherlands is relatively low. (8.8 %, rank 33/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, the share of female among new entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively small. (34.5 %, rank 33/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, the share of female among new entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of information and communication technologies is relatively small. (14.1 %, rank 30/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands,the share of male among new entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of education is relatively small. (16 %, rank 30/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Student mobility

    Netherlands has one of the largest proportion of international or foreign students enrolled in tertiary education among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11 %, rank 9/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, the number of international or foreign students per national student abroad is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5 Students, rank 8/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, international students from Africa are lowest represented among all international students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.3 %, rank 39/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Student mobility by field of education

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of social sciences, journalism and information in Netherlands is relatively high. (18.1 %, rank 6/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of business, administration and law in Netherlands is relatively high. (29.5 %, rank 10/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Organisation of the education system

    In Netherlands, the intended instruction time for primary students, in hours per year, is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (940 Hours, rank 8/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, compulsory instruction time for lower secondary students, in hours per year, is one of the longest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1000 Hours, rank 8/36 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Expenditure per student

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (19513 USD Equivalent, rank 7/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student from primary to tertiary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12926 USD Equivalent, rank 9/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per pupil at the pre-primary level is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6538 USD Equivalent, rank 23/31 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per secondary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (13006 USD Equivalent, rank 7/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student for core and ancillary services, from primary to below-tertiary institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11121 USD Equivalent, rank 10/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12517 USD Equivalent, rank 7/32 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, the total expenditure on educational institutions per full-time equivalent student in primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary, is relatively high. (11121 USD Equivalent, rank 10/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    In Netherlands, expenditure on tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (1.7 %, rank 8/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    Expenditure on all children aged 3 to 5 enrolled in early childhood and primary education is one of the lowest in Netherlands compared to OECD and partner countries with available data. (12 USD Equivalent, rank 21/30 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Ratio of student to teaching staff

    The number of students per teacher in secondary schools is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (17 Ratio, rank 7/38 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The share of women among teaching staff in pre-primary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (87.7 %, rank 40/40 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in lower secondary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (53 %, rank 37/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (65.8 %, rank 24/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers younger than 30 is especially high. (14 %, rank 8/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of lower secondary teachers aged between 30 and 49 is especially low. (45.6 %, rank 29/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of upper secondary teachers aged between 30 and 49 is especially low. (41.6 %, rank 32/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers aged between 30 and 49 is especially low. (46.5 %, rank 29/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    After 15 years of experience, a lower secondary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (76006 USD Equivalent, rank 3/33 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The ratio of primary teachers' salaries to earnings of full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.71 Ratio, rank 22/27 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average actual lower secondary teacher's salary among teachers aged between 25-64 is one of the highest per hour of net teaching time among OECD and partner countries with available data. (68771 USD Equivalent, rank 2/28 , 2017) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a lower secondary teacher with typical qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (76006 USD Equivalent, rank 3/33 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The salaries of 25-34 year-old general lower-secondary teachers relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Netherlands. (1.03 Ratio, rank 6/22 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The salaries of 55-64 year-old general lower-secondary teachers relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is high in Netherlands. (0.85 Ratio, rank 8/22 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of 25-34 year-old lower-secondary teachers is one of the highest in Netherlands relatively compared to OECD and partner countries with available data. (53994 USD Equivalent, rank 1/23 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average actual salaries of 55-64 year-old lower-secondary teachers is one of the highest in Netherlands. (76347 USD Equivalent, rank 2/23 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries progression

    The salary progression from the start to the top of the salary scale for a lower secondary school teacher is among the most rewarding among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.05 Ratio, rank 5/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Starting salaries for teachers with minimum training in primary education are especially high. (42133 USD Equivalent, rank 7/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Salaries of primary school teachers with minimum training at the top of scale are especially high. (67147 USD Equivalent, rank 8/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Starting salaries for lower secondary teachers with minimum training are especially high. (43132 USD Equivalent, rank 7/37 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Salaries of lower secondary teachers with minimum training after 10 years of experience are especially high. (66101 USD Equivalent, rank 4/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Principals' salaries

    Primary school heads' salaries relative to earnings for full-time, full-year similarly educated workers with tertiary education is low in Netherlands. (1 Ratio, rank 21/22 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average lower secondary school heads' actual salary is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (96178 USD Equivalent, rank 3/23 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high compared to other OECD and partner countries. (76.2 %, rank 9/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Unemployment and educational attainment

    The inactivity rate of 25-34 years-old adults with tertiary education is low in Netherlands. (6.4 %, rank 40/43 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds without an upper secondary education with income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (87 %, rank 3/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary education and income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (83.3 %, rank 5/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with income from employment) are one of the highest among countries with available data. (84.9 %, rank 8/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Neither in education nor employed

    The proportion of 15-19 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively small in Netherlands. (3.3 %, rank 34/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 20-24 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively small in Netherlands. (7.7 %, rank 39/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-29 year-olds who are neither employed nor in education or training is comparatively small in Netherlands. (9.7 %, rank 37/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 15-19 years-old men neither employed nor in education or training is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (3.6 %, rank 32/39 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 20-24 years-old men neither employed nor in education or training is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (7.2 %, rank 38/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-29 years-old men neither employed nor in education or training is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (7.7 %, rank 36/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 15-19 years-old women neither employed nor in education or training is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (2.9 %, rank 33/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 20-24 years-old women neither employed nor in education or training is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (8.1 %, rank 39/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-29 years-old women neither employed nor in education or training is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (11.7 %, rank 37/40 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Migrant background

    The employment rate of foreign-born aged between 25 and 64 and without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (48.6 %, rank 24/27 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The percentage of native-born 15-29 year-olds neither employed nor in education and training is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6.4 %, rank 29/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The percentage of native-born 15-29 year-olds not in education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (42.8 %, rank 27/30 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Social outcomes

    In Netherlands, a large share of adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education participated in formal voluntary activities in the 12 months prior to the survey. (32.6 %, rank 3/28 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Netherlands, a large share of adults (25-64 years-old) with tertiary education participated in formal voluntary activities in the 12 months prior to the survey. (50.1 %, rank 3/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among 25-64 years-old adults with below upper secondary education, a low proportion have someone to ask for moral, material or financial help. (85.1 %, rank 27/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among 25-64 years-old adults with tertiary education, a low proportion have someone to ask for moral, material or financial help. (96.4 %, rank 20/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Compared to other countries with available data, the percentage of adults (25-64 years old) with below upper secondary education who actively participate in social media on a daily basis is high in Netherlands. (36.1 %, rank 6/29 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among employed adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education, a small share have difficulties to fulfill their family responsabilities because of their jobs, compared to other countries with available data. (27 %, rank 18/18 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among employed adults (25-64 years-old) with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education, a small share have difficulties to fulfill their family responsabilities because of their jobs, compared to other countries with available data. (35 %, rank 29/32 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among employed adults (25-64 years-old) with tertiary education, a small share have difficulties to fulfill their family responsabilities because of their jobs, compared to other countries with available data. (44 %, rank 24/32 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The proportion of employed adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education who have concentration difficulties at work because of family responsabilities is low in Netherlands. (12.5 %, rank 18/18 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The proportion of employed adults (25-64 years-old) with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education who have concentration difficulties at work because of family responsabilities is low in Netherlands. (16.1 %, rank 32/32 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The proportion of employed adults (25-64 years-old) with tertiary education who have concentration difficulties at work because of family responsabilities is low in Netherlands. (19.9 %, rank 31/32 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Weekly working hours among employed 25-64 year-olds with below upper secondary education are short in Netherlands compared to other OECD countries. (32.1 Hours/week, rank 28/28 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Weekly working hours among employed 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education are short in Netherlands compared to other OECD countries. (33.7 Hours/week, rank 28/28 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Weekly working hours among employed 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education are short in Netherlands compared to other OECD countries. (35.3 Hours/week, rank 28/28 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among employed 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education, a large share have high flexibility of working hours. (41.6 %, rank 7/28 , 2015) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • In 2018, 44% of 25-34 year-olds held a tertiary degree, compared to 35% in 2008, on average across OECD countries.
    • Tertiary-educated adults also reap higher earnings, although this varies by field of study. Their advantage increases with age too: 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education earn 38% more than their peers with upper secondary education while 45-54 year-olds earn 70% more.
    • While engineering, manufacturing and construction, and information and communication technologies are two fields most commonly associated with the best labour market outcomes, only 14% of graduates earned a degree in the former and 4% earned a degree in the latter in 2017.
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    • Although graduation from upper secondary education increased by 6 percentage points between 2005 and 2017, 15% of 25-34 year-olds did not attain upper secondary education in 2018, on average across OECD countries.
    • In some countries, vocational programmes are prominent at the upper secondary level. On average across OECD countries, 40% of first-time upper secondary graduates earned a vocational qualification in 2017; in Austria, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, more than 66% of this population did.
    • At the lower secondary level, the average class shrank by 6% while teachers’ statutory salaries increased by 8% between 2005 and 2017, on average across OECD countries.
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    • In 2017, more than one in three children under the age of three were enrolled in early childhood education and care services, on average across OECD countries - an increase of 7 percentage points compared to 2010.
    • Between the age of 3 to 5, on average across OECD countries, 87% of children are enrolled in pre-primary and primary education.
    • Annual expenditure per child in early childhood development programmes was greater than in pre-primary education in 2016 on average across OECD countries. However, as a share of GDP, expenditure on early childhood development is lower.
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    • In 2016, expenditure per tertiary student amounted to USD 15 556, approximately one-third of which was devoted to research and development.
    • Private sources financed more than 30% of the expenditure, on average, at the tertiary level compared to 10% at primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level.
    • OECD countries spent an average of 3.5% of GDP on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary institutions in 2016, and public expenditure at this level increased by 18% since 2005.
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    • About 10% of primary and secondary teachers are under the age of 30, on average across OECD countries.
    • While the teaching profession is dominated by women, the share of female teachers decreases with the level of education taught: almost all teachers at the pre-primary level are women, however they make up less than half of the teaching force at tertiary level.
    • Salaries tend to increase with the level of education taught, but teachers' earnings remain between 78% and 93% of the earnings of other tertiary-educated adults.
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    Key
    Country Reviews for Netherlands

    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2019 for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.