School education became a task of the state govern ment only in the more recent stage of Dutch history. It was tradi tionally regarded as a task for parents and members of the family in cooperation with church-subsidized institutions. In some cities, Latin schools were already founded by the late Middle Ages. The first uni versity to be founded in the Northern Netherlands was in Leiden in 1575 (after Louvain in the South in 1425). During the old Republic, technical and commercial training remained largely a matter of in service training. Primary school education has been organized on a national level only since the Batavian-French Period (Acts of 1801 and 1806). During the 19th century, several new national acts were introduced for university (1815, 1876), secondary school (gymna sium, advanced secondary; 1838), and primary school (1857) educa tion. State subsidies for confessional education have only been granted after a long struggle between the liberal and the religious political parties (known as the “pacification” of 1917). Freedom of education (and of the founding of schools) has been enshrined in the constitution.
   Full education is compulsory for children from 5 to 16 years of age. The structure of the educational system is threefold. The first level is elementary school, for children from 4 to 12 years of age. The second standard is continued education for children from 12 to 16 to 18 years. It provides several types, from preparatory vocational education to gymnasium (Latin school). The third level is higher education, includ ing professional training in hogescholenand scientificeducation at the universities, such as in Leiden, Groningen, Utrecht, and Amsterdam. Costs of education are at present less than 6 percent of gross national product, which is relatively low in western Europe.
   See also CALS, Jo (1914–1971).

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.


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