Amsterdam

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 11, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Amsterdam, Netherlands: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

What are the schools in Amsterdam like?

"Better to choose a different school if you have the money. If you don't have the money, choose a different country to live in (better that than ruin your child's education)," added another expat with kids at Amsterdam International Community School in Amsterdam.

"Enrol in this school . Likely you will be waitlisted but it is worth being persistent and keeping in touch with the school. Siblings stand a higher chance of getting in to the school. In response to some of the other comments I have read from previous correspondents I can tell you that many of the criticisms of AICS (no parking lot, small playground, converted office building for the school campus) are common to all schools in Amsterdam. In fact, very few schools here have large outside play areas due to lack of space (and the weather!) This is not a problem exclusive to AICS. There is a large parking lot for bikes at the school. But a parking lot for cars? No. Most people walk, bike, tram, bus or Metro to the school. Or they bring their kid to school by car and drop them off in the street. Most of the children at AICS are english speaking and many are multi-lingual. There are also a number of local dutch kids amongst the students. AICS offers an affordable international education within an english language curriculum. It is Dutch run & subsidised by the Dutch government. Fees are closer to E6000 instead of E20-30,000. We have found AICS to be a friendly and welcoming school. The teaching faculty seem to be supportive, nurturing and genuinely interested in the well-being of the students. The school building is a converted office building and it is bursting at the seams due to the increasing student numbers. There are plans to move to a larger, purpose built facility within the next few years. AICS has long waitlists for some year groups and there are intake interviews for every child - this is standard procedure. If you are lucky enough to get a space for your child we can highly recommend AICS as a brilliant primary school. And a high school with a challenging IB programme which keep evolving and improving. Recommended," commented one expat when asked about AICS Amsterdam in Amsterdam.

"DON'T. Try to find another school especially one with experienced staff and not full of himself/herself director and leaders. In Aics some teacher are good and some other bad. The secondary part is terrible. The admin and communication is terrible. No facilities in a building which is not adequate for a school. There is not a good system to safeguard the children. My sons attended a good private schools in the UK where they were very good students after being in AICS for a couple of years their level went down the hill. We moved them to a good school in The Hague, problem solved. Do not waste money in AICS," remarked another expat living in Amsterdam with children attending AICS.

"Avoid this school by all means. This is the worse international school we have experienced by far, and we have been in Italy, Dubai, US. Staff is not qualified, they change very frequently and leader for learning is a dictator that probably contributes to the fact that teachers, especially good ones leave very quickly. For example in my daughter's class they did not have primary teacher for 2 and a half of months and often kids were in the class just by themselves supervised by someone who was simply watching for them not to hit each other. There was no teaching. Because they have staff shortages they often ask parents to pay for extra educational needs of children. They will tell you that the child needs special education and if you pay they will find special teacher for your child. There is also a lot of violence in the school boys are fighting a lot, and within 2 years that we were there almost 50% of kids left in the school. Half of these who left, left because they had no confidence in the school, not because their contract expired or they had to go back to their countries," said another expat in Amsterdam with children at AICS Amsterdam International Community School.

"It is difficult to get in for a reason...it is a terrific school, your child deserves to be here," remarked another parent with kids at AICS in Amsterdam.

"Don't. The educational standards are low and inconsistent, with some teachers being much better than others. The curriculum is very undemanding and bright children are bored at the slow pace. The school doesn't care that many primary children are being transferred out because of unhappiness with the educational standards as they have a long waiting list. Complaints from parents were ignored during the three years my child was in the school. In secondary the standards seem even lower and very few are graduating from the DP program with enough points to enter a good university. The private international schools in the Netherlands are extremely expensive but this school is not a viable alternative. We are leaving Holland after many years living year in part because of this school: our employers do not pay the fees at a private international school and we cannot afford these for two children. By returning to the UK we will get a far better education at any state school than this school would provide for the fees we pay them," explained one expat living in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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