AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Netherlands. Although au pairs from this country may or may not have had these experiences/beliefs, Au Pair in America wishes to share this general information with our families.
Child Care Skills
- Dutch applicants usually gain their childcare experience through babysitting for neighbors or family friends.
- Many Dutch applicants have a childcare qualification or they have completed internships/work placements in day care centers or schools as part of their studies.
- Dutch applicants usually look after younger family members.
- It is quite common for young Dutch people to move out of their parents’ house when they go to college or university.
- Dutch people are used to helping out with household duties.
- It is still more common for the father to work full-time and the mother to work part-time while bringing up the children. Both parents try to drop off and pick up the children from kindergarten or school. It is also common to rely on grandparents for regular babysitting.
- English is a compulsory subject at school from elementary school through high school.
- Dutch applicants generally have a good level of English.
- TV shows and films are often shown in their original English version with Dutch subtitles.
- The minimum age to start taking driving lessons in the Netherlands is 16 and a half. Lessons are taken with a qualified instructor.
- Candidates have to take a theoretical and practical exam.
- Both tests consist of various parts which assess different components, for example traffic rules.
- High school lasts from the ages of 11-12 years old to 16-18years old.
- After high school, students have various options (Secondary Education, Higher General Secondary Education, Pre University, University of Applied Sciences of College, University or College).
- The concept of taking a gap year between school and university is quite common in the Netherlands. Language courses, volunteer work, work and travel, and becoming an au pair are all popular gap year options.
- Everyone who lives or works in the Netherlands is required by law to have basic insurance.
- Basic insurance covers being treated by doctors, treatment in hospital and medication.
- It is possible to get additional insurance (optional) to cover costs that are not included in the basic package.
- Dutch applicants are open and down to earth.
- They are hard workers.
- They are polite, friendly and social.
- The colors of the Dutch flag are red, white, and blue. Red stands for the people, white for the church, and blue for nobility.
- Dutch people are on average the tallest people in the world. (Women 5 ft 7 and men 6 ft).
- The total length of all roads together in the Netherlands is 132,397 km. That’s about four times around the world!
- How are you? Hoe gaat het?
- Fine, thanks. Goed, dank je wel.
- My name is… Mijn naam is…
- Nice to meet you. Leuk je te ontmoeten.
- Thank you. Dank je wel.
“It is a once in a lifetime experience, you have to do it. You will never regret something that made you smile!” – Alberta – au pair from the Netherlands
“It’s a life changing experience. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about everything I’ve learned, all the amazing times I spent with friends and family and all the people I met. Being an Au Pair in America is my story of success so far – more are to come!” – Jodie – au pair from the Netherlands
“Becoming an au pair was the best decision I ever made.” – Cheryl – au pair from the Netherlands
“I like the opportunity to see American life as an insider, to come to know the traditions and customs, approach to bringing up children, managing the household, learning peculiarities of eveyday language, American cuisine, and just the chance to hear from the children I love you.”
Ekaterina, au pair