Dutch parenting hacks for internationals

An article by PIRGROUP

The Netherlands (often known as Holland), is a place where the art of raising happy children meets the country's unique culture and philosophy, offering numerous possibilities for expat parents.

Several studies have shown that children raised in Netherlands rank among the happiest in the world! Many Dutch people learn to appreciate each other's originality, freedom of thought, and attitudes at a young age, nurturing tolerance. This mentality is instilled in children from a young age, and while this core foundation is crucial, it's the small and heartfelt gestures that Dutch parents apply that truly make the difference.

Here is a practical guide outlining the top 5 things you can easily implement to benefit from the unique Dutch approach while adding your own cultural parenting flavor:

Family first

In the Netherlands, achieving a work-life balance is a priority. Parents can balance work and family effectively. In 68% of cases, women work part-time, while one in three fathers also work part-time to spend more time with their families. Don’t hesitate to discuss with your employer ‘Mama’ and/or ‘Papa’-day!


A report from Dutch Cycling Embassy (DCE) has shown that cycling plays a crucial role in keeping Dutch kids happy. Cycling boosts the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and oxytocin, promoting overall health. Encourage your children to cycle to school or daycare, even in the rain!


UNICEF found that no other country has as many family breakfasts as the Netherlands! Plan time in the morning to sit together and have breakfasts with your kids to bond and enhance their school performance. Bonus: kids will be especially happy if you occasionally embrace the Dutch "hagelslag" on bread!

Rest and regularity

Dutch parents value routine. Research shows that the Dutch get more sleep than anyone else in the world, with an average of 8 hours and 12 minutes each night. Prioritize sleep and introduce more routine for happy kids ánd parents.


In Dutch families, everyone has a say. Encourage your children to express themselves and practice attentive listening. Let them play, develop social skills, and set priorities. Share responsibilities. Dutch schools focus on motivation over achievement, emphasizing social skills. Furthermore, there is a cheerful and playful attitude towards education in the Netherlands. Children don't feel unnecessarily pressured at school, and they have minimal to no homework, allowing them more time to play after school.

Our assistance

If you'd like to learn more about parenting in the Netherlands, the educational system, or your rights and benefits, feel free to reach out to PIRGROUP. We specialize in immigration, relocation, and the Dutch 30% tax ruling, with a commitment to expat parents and children. In 2023, we received certification as the "Workplace of Choice for Mothers" in the Netherlands - so we know all about the best practices and apply them in our daily working life as well. Feel free to visit our website, LinkedIn and send an email to info@pirgroup.com. Your adventure, our dedication. We take it personal, we make it personal!