My first experience of childcare in the Netherlands

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Katerina is an assistant professor at TU Delft. She comes from Greece and moved to the Netherlands in 2010. She has a 2-year-old daughter at True Colors Delft. Like many young parents with a child at True Colors, this is Katerina’s first experience of childcare.

Different cultural mentality

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” she explains. Although the routine is similar to here, Greek day care is mainly public and isn’t available for the whole day. But the main difference lies in the cultural mentality: there’s much more support from grandparents and other older relatives in Greece and the child is generally given a high priority.”

Independent and more relaxed

“The flip side is that children In the Netherlands have more space and are independent,” Katerina observes. While she’s positive about the relaxed Dutch approach, Katerina doesn’t agree with all aspects of how children are raised in the Netherlands. “I didn’t apply the principle of leaving your child to cry (uithuilen),” she explains. “I think a 6-9-month-old baby needs to feel safe and know someone is there if needed. I appreciated being able to discuss different approaches with the True Colors team and was happy they listened to what I wanted.”

Maternity leave

Katerina found it hard leaving her daughter to return to work after 3 months. “In Greece, new mothers usually get around 6 months maternity leave, but this depends on your profession and therefore your insurance scheme,” she says. “Generally, the first few months are on full pay and the rest are paid based on the statutory minimum salary. You can also take up to 6 more months unpaid leave.”

International team

Katerina values the fact that True Colors staff are also international. “They appreciate cultural differences and, where possible, try to accommodate them. We’re a team with the teachers, and my daughter gets one approach. It’s working, because I can see she’s happy and relaxed.”

Over to you

Do you have an interesting comparison with the approach to child care in your home country? You can contact True Colors at

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