Netherlands Worldwide

Exemptions from compulsory school attendance in the Netherlands

Children aged 5 to 16 are obliged to attend full-time education. In certain circumstances, your child might be exempted from compulsory school attendance. This is called vrijstelling van leerplicht (exemption from compulsory school attendance). In that case, your child does not have to go to school. Where you apply for the exemption depends on the situation.


With an exemption from compulsory education, your child does not have to attend school. There are 3 types of exemption (in Dutch):

This is how it works in your (future) place of residence

Your (future) place of residence falls under the Municipality of Heerenveen.

Days off outside holidays

Please note: you can only apply for an exemption from compulsory education if you live in the Netherlands and are registered with a municipality.

Do you want to go on holiday with your child outside the school holidays? Or is there a special occasion that requires your child to miss a day of school? Then you can request this from the school principal or the school attendance officer of the municipality.

Going on holiday outside the school holidays?

You can submit a request to go on holiday outside the school holidays to the school director. The school director can only grant an application if you meet all three of the following conditions:

  • If at least one of the parents has an occupation with seasonal work. For example, in the agricultural sector or the catering industry.
  • If the family cannot go on holiday during any of the school holidays in one school year.
  • If the extra holiday does not fall in the first two weeks of the school year.

The extra holiday is never longer than ten days.

Extra day off?

In special cases you can request one or more days off for your child. You can request this permission from the school director for a maximum of ten school days. Special cases are:

  • A moving
  • A wedding and celebration of a 12.5, 25, 40, 50 or 60 year anniversary of immediate family
  • Marriage anniversary of relatives by blood or marriage
  • Celebrating 25, 40 or 50 years of service
  • Serious illness or death of immediate family

Questions about this topic?

Contact the Municipality of Heerenveen

Visiting address