Quality monitor: Dutch childcare the best in Europe

The recent months have been intensive for childcare. Now that we are open again and the corona crisis has faded into the background, there is also time to look back at the quality of childcare in recent years. Kinderopvang Totaal wrote an article about the National Quality Monitor Childcare.

From 2017 to 2020, the quality is measured annually with the National Quality Monitor for Childcare (LKK). The recently published third measurement of the LKK shows that Dutch childcare scores significantly higher than in 2012. So, Dutch childcare is doing well. So good that our childcare is among the best in Europe.

On the rise

“We have been on the rise since 2008,” says researcher Pauline Slot of Utrecht University. “The biggest hit, we make on emotional process quality, such as the positive atmosphere on the group and the extent to which employees a react sensitively to children and are child-following. Relatively less on educational process quality, but we are also making progress and we are now mid-range, internationally speaking.”

Critical on the quality of childcare

The Netherlands is very critical of the quality of childcare. “We may have been a little too critical for years,” said Paul Leseman, professor of remedial education at Utrecht University. “The first quality measurement in 1995 showed high quality. The enormous expansion and market developments that followed caused a decline. But things have really been improving since 2008, with a dip in 2011-2012 when a huge cut took place, resulting in contraction and unrest. ”

Best in Europe

But the tide seems to have turned: “The report also provides a trend analysis over the past 25 years and shows that the quality of Dutch childcare has increased significantly in recent years and is now among the best in Europe”, writes State Secretary Tamara van Ark in her letter to parliament.

Emotional and educational quality

In general, Dutch childcare scores higher than other countries in Europe, the United States and Australia. Childcare scores higher on average in emotional and educational quality in the Netherlands than in Flanders, two federal states in Germany, Portugal and Switzerland. On an emotional level, the Netherlands scores as high as in Finland, but lower on an educational level. The emotional quality of Dutch childcare is slightly lower than in Denmark, but the educational quality is considerably higher. What is striking in the Netherlands is that the spread around the average is the lowest and therefore there are fewer quality differences between groups.

Investing in quality

How come we always look with envy at other countries, such as the Scandinavian countries? Leseman: “Perhaps it is that critical view, which is actually unjustified, that has ensured that we have invested a lot in the quality of childcare in a privatized sector. And we are more self-critical precisely because in the Netherlands, unlike in Scandinavian countries it is a privatized sector. That’s paradoxical. ”


A predominantly positive picture emerges from the combined measurements of 2017, 2018 and 2019. The average emotional quality scores satisfactory to good in all four types of childcare (day care, toddler care, out-of-school care and childminder care). The average educational quality is lower than the emotional quality, but sufficient on average. “The measurements show that the well-being of the children is high in all types of care. The pedagogical climate in all types of care can be characterized as predominantly positively affective and inclusive.”

Work experience pedagogical staff

Van Ark: “The report also examines the quality experienced by pedagogical staff and childminders. Their work experience is predominantly (very) positive and the perceived work stress is generally low, but varies within the types of childcare, which indicates that this conclusion does not apply to all groups within the reception type. ”

Have a look at the National Quality Monitor Childcare 2019 (in Dutch)

Source: Kinderopvang Totaal – Kwaliteitsmonitor: Nederlandse kinderopvang beste van Europa