Expat Essentials

Expat Essentials: Dispatches’ guide to international schools in The Hague

One of the bigger challenges for English-speaking expat families – even for well-paid corporate nomads – is finding a satisfactory, English-language international school. Such schools cater to expat students, with curricula tied to the host nation in question, or an international education organization such as Edexcel, Cambridge International Examinations, and International Baccalaureate. (If you’re curious about the International Baccalaureate program, read this primer by Dispatches Europe‘s Terry Boyd.)

Wherever you’re headed, do not wait to get there before starting the application process, which can be lengthy. With business growing ever more global, many schools have more applications than spaces. My editor and our financial officer personally experienced this in Eindhoven, Netherlands, where the International School Eindhoven has a difficult time accommodating new enrollments because there are so many international businesses headquartered there, or with operations in Eindhoven.

You may also want to check out the schools in person and interview parents, in case the reality fails to live up to the promotional literature and beautiful photos of campus life at a given international school. In early February, The Arab Times reported parents complaining about international schools in Kuwait reaping high tuition fees while failing to provide students the education expected with such fees. The Kuwait Ministry of Education issued citations against 20 private and American schools – among an overall 180 schools – for violating regulations and raising fees up to 40 percent; Kuwaiti law does not allow more than a 3-percent increase every three years. Many expats also complained about academic quality – or lack thereof – with some describing teachers as “bored housewives.”


Picking up from where we last left off in Amsterdam, our next stop is The Hague, which boasts the highest concentration of international schools in all of the Netherlands. Though Amsterdam is constitutionally the capital city of the Netherlands, The Hague is the seat of governance.

The Hague – home to King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands – hosts several foreign embassies and more than 150 international organizations including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

It is one of the five world cities hosting the United Nations. Major multinational corporations in the royal capital include petroleum lord Royal Dutch Shell – the second-largest company in the world ranked by revenue – financial giants Aegon and ING, Dutch telecom king KPN and container terminal port management company APM Terminals. Other multinationals, such as Siemens, T-Mobile, and Saudi Aramco, have regional operations in the city.

ISH-the-hague-logoThe International School of The Hague:

We begin our tour of English-language international schools in The Hague with The International School of The Hague, located in the south end of the city. Founded in 1983 as Het Nederlands Lyceum, ISH would be taken over by the Rijnlands Lyceum Wassenaar in 1991, and remains a part of the Rijnlands Lyceum group to this day.

Its primary school is the first primary school – what we in the United States term elementary school – in the world awarded the rank of “Mastering” in regards to its accreditation with the International Primary Curriculum (awarded in 2009).

The secondary school – middle/high school in the U.S. – follows the International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma programs, and has additional accreditation from the Council of International Schools.

  • Fees (2015-16 academic year): 6,842 euros (primary school), 7,758 euros – 8,725 euros (secondary school, increases per year after Year 9); 1,000-euro one-time deposit fee per child; 600-euro and 875-euro testing fees in Years 11 and 13; 300-euro registration fee
  • Requirements: Completed application for each child; latest school reports; copies of the child’s passport; a photo for the child; primary school appointment; secondary school placement tests
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.ishthehague.nl

ashAmerican School of The Hague:

The American School of The Hague proudly flies Old Glory alongside the Vlag van Nederland, though only 23 percent of the international school’s students come from the U.S. (12 percent are Dutch-born, with the remainder originating from 77 countires). ASH’s three schools, all following the traditional American schooling format, are fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Both the IB Diploma and Advanced Placement (AP) programs are available to high school students, and graduates of ASH are accepted at universities in the U.S., Europe, and those of other home countries.

  • Fees (2015-16 academic year): One-time registration fee of 4,700 euros; annual Capital Fee of 3,200 euros; 13,120 euros – 20,500 euros, depending on grade level; special education fee of 15,235 euros (plus grade level fee)
  • Requirements: Complete application with all required information; complete student placement profile
  • Application Deadline: N/A; school accepts application two years in advance of entry date; contact school for information
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.ash.nl

logoEuropean School of The Hague:

Like the aforementioned International School of The Hague, the European School of The Hague is a member of the Rijnlands Lyceum, all but guaranteeing a high-quality education and “a culture of openness, tolerance and respect” for all levels of learning. ESH is also part of the European Schools Network, established in 1957 “to educate the children of employees of European Union institutions.” With 14 traditional and 11 accredited schools in six EU member nations today, ESH is one of the ESN-accredited schools. The school adheres to all European Schools curricula, with all programs such as the European Baccalaureate  and testing administered following identical standards.

  • Fees (2015-16 academic year): annual fee of 6,067 euros (primary school), 9,175 euros (secondary school); non-refundable fee of 300 euros for students whose parents are not employees of Eurojust, Europol, EPO and ESA-ESTEC, or the European Commission
  • Requirements: Completed application with copies of passport or certified birth certificate, photo, academic records, employer’s statement/proof of eligibility, and custody papers (if parents are separated/divorced)
  • Application Deadline: N/A; school admits students as young as four years of age; contact school for information
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.europeanschoolthehague.nl

logo-1The British School of the Netherlands:

Not to be confused with The British School in Amsterdam, The British School of the Netherlands was established in 1931, and “founded on the principles of developing and challenging the whole individual – ‘head, hand & heart’ – producing students with high aspirations and confident independence.” More than 80 nationalities are represented at BSN’s junior and senior schools, all following an “Internationally British” curriculum based on the National Curriculum for England & Wales through the age of 16. Those older than 16 have the choice of English A Levels or the IB Diploma, a choice not offered anywhere else in the Netherlands.

  • Fees (2015-16 academic year): Refundable application fee of 250 euros per child; one-time enrollment fee of 2,000 euros; annual tuition fee ranging from 5,352 euros to 18,900 euros
  • Requirements: Copy of birth certificate or passport; passport-sized photo of child; latest academic report (or a drawing if the child is preschool age)
  • Application Deadline: N/A; students can submit their application as young as four years of age.
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.britishschool.nl

urlLighthouse Special Education: We conclude our tour with Lighthouse Special Education, an international department of the Instituut Voor Individueel Onderwijs (a member of the Haagsche Schoolvereeniging). Established in 1998, Lighthouse is a primary international school serving students in the expat community with special educational needs. The entirety of the program is conducted in English, with the aim of mainstreaming graduates into other international schools.

  • Fees (2015-16 academic year): One-time enrollment fee of 1,200 euros, over 1,200 euros if several assessments are needed; annual fee of 18,800 euros for 3-4 years old students, 24,200 euros for those between five and 13 years of age
  • Requirements: Introductory meeting to determine fit; completed application form; signed statement granting permission for inquiries from other institutions
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.lighthousese.nl
 | Website

Lifestyle journalist. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

Most Popular

To Top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest news and updates from Dispatches Europe. Get lifestyle & culture, startup & tech, jobs and travel news dispatched to your inbox each week.

You have Successfully Subscribed!