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The education system

Elementary education

Nursery schools ('kleuterschool') cater for children from 2.5 up to and including 5 years of age, primary schools ('lagere school') for children from 6 to 12 years of age. Nursery education and primary education together are known as elementary education ('basisonderwijs').
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Find a nursery school
Find a primary school

Special education

Special education ('buitengewoon onderwijs') caters for pupils suffering from a disability or from learning or behavioural disorders. There are different types of special elementary education
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Find a special-education nurserey school
Find a special-education primary school


Full-time secondary education

Full-time secondary education ('voltijds secundair onderwijs') caters for youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18 years. As a rule, secondary education comprises 6 grades (3 stages of 2 grades each). In Brussels, there are 42 Dutch-language schools offering secondary education.
To learn more about the structure of full-time secondary education
Find a secondary-education school


Special education

Special education ('buitengewoon onderwijs') caters for pupils suffering from a disability or from learning or behavioural disorders.
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Find a special-education secondary-education school


Learning and working

Part-time secondary education is open to pupils from the age of 15 years who wish to combine learning and working. To do so, they can go to one of the various Centra voor Leren en Werken (Learning and Working Centres) Brussels boasts or apply for a Syntra apprenticeship.
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Search a Learning and Working centre
Check out the Syntra website (in Dutch)


In adult-education: second-chance education

Second-chance education ('tweedekansonderwijs' - TKO) offers adults (from the age of 18 upwards) the opportunity to obtain a fully-fledged diploma of secondary education.
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Diploma of secondary education via the Exams Commission

Via the Exams Commission ('Examencommissie'), you can obtain a diploma or certificate of secondary education at your own pace by way of self-study.
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At a university college or a university

Higher education (hosted by a university college or university) offers you the opportunity to obtain a degree of Bachelor or Master.
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Go to the website of Br(ik, the servicedesk for students (site in Dutch)

Through adult education: higher vocation education

Further (evening) education allows you to obtain a graduate diploma in higher vocational education. Higher vocational education training programmes are practice oriented and prepare course participants for a specific vocation.
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In adult education

Adult education ('volwassenenonderwijs') offers you the opportunity to obtain a recognised diploma or certificate (getuigschrift or certificaat) through (evening) education. Adult education offers a highly diverse and huge range of courses.
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Learning and practising Dutch

Proficiency in Dutch is a tremendous asset in Brussels, especially if you want to work in the city. Adults can contact the Huis van het Nederlands Brussel (Dutch Language House of Brussels) for further information on where they can learn and practise Dutch. The site 'Nederlands oefenen in Brussel' (practise your Dutch in Brussels') offers anyone interested in improving their Dutch-language skills an opportunity to actively practise the Dutch language.
Go to the website of het Huis van het Nederlands Brussel
Go to the website 'Nederlands oefenen in Brussel' (in Dutch)

'Pathway-to-Work Training'

‘Pathway-to-Work Training’ ('vorming' or 'opleiding tot werk') allows you to enhance your professional skills. These courses are especially geared towards boosting the employment opportunities for people in high-risk groups. The Brussels werkwinkels (work shops) cater for jobseekers keen to get some help with or advice on finding a course or job. The website ‘Schakels naar Werk' offers an overview of the counselling services, the Dutch-speaking vocational training programmes and the work-experience placements you can avail of in Brussels.
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The Brusselse werkwinkels (work shops) (in Dutch)
Check out the website of 'Schakels naar Werk' (in Dutch)


SYNTRA Brussel

SYNTRA Brussel is a Brussels Dutch-speaking training centre that promotes entrepreneurship and organises a wide range of vocational training courses and training modules: traditional entrepreneurial training through day and evening classes, 'business administration' courses via day and evening courses, short-term courses...
Go to the SYNTRA-website (in Dutch)
Check out the training offer (in Dutch)


Part-time artistic education ('deeltijds kunstonderwijs' - DKO) offers extra-curricular artistic education for children from the age of 8 years, youngsters and adults. It offers course participants an opportunity to practise one or several forms of art, individually or in group. The courses music, word craft and dance are offered by the 'Academies voor Muziek, Woord en Dans (Academies for Music, Word Craft and Dance)'. 'Academies voor Beeldende Kunst (Academies for Visual Arts)' host visual arts courses.

Find a part-time artistic education programme


Keen to give a helping hand?

Are you keen to become involved in Dutch-language education and training in Brussels?

Points of contact

Do you know the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie?

The VGC pursues an active education and training policy. This policy does not only transcend the various networks but also specifically focuses on the typically Brussels, multilingual and metropolitan context of the capital.
In that light, the VGC supports every Dutch-speaking school, from nursery school to higher-education level throughout the Brussels-Capital Region. In terms of 'training', the VGC furthermore promotes the Dutch-speaking training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups.

Read more »

Other services on learning

There are a number of specialised organisations you can contact:

  • Huis van het Nederlands: for any questions on where and how to learn Dutch
  • Br(ik: for any questions on higher education (site in Dutch)
  • Tracé Brussel: for any questions on professional training (site in Dutch)
  • Onderwijscentrum Brussel (Brussels Education Centre): support for elementary and secondary-education school teams (site in Dutch)