If you like riding bikes, you’re in luck! Bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation and there are bike paths all over the country. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, so you’ll see lots of dikes holding back the icy waters of the North Sea.

Dutch teenagers like get together with friends in hobby clubs or sports clubs (soccer, tennis, volleyball or field hockey). During the winter, skating is popular; in summer, people go sailing, hiking and swimming. Dutch teenagers often have a side job and work on the weekends.

Learned to sail from my host mom on Mother's Day 💕⛵️☀️#exchangeyear #afseffect

A photo posted by Laura Friedrich (@lauraelizabeth67) on

People & Community

You can be placed anywhere throughout the Netherlands, probably in a small town—however bigger towns and cities are always just a quick ride away. Public transportation system is well developed, and bikes are commonly used to get around. Some regions are very rural, particularly in the north. You will really get to know the Dutch sense of family as everyone shares their adventures of the day during meals. Expect to participate in household chores and keep your belongings tidy. 


Your previous grades and interests will help determine what type of secondary school you will attend. Classes run from 8 am to 4 pm. Dutch schools focus on independent study and research, in smaller working groups or individually, to teach problem solving and teamwork. 


Dutch is spoken throughout the Netherlands, and AFS Netherlands will provide a Rosetta Stone language course to help you learn the language as much as possible before starting the exchange. Students placed in Friesland, a province in the north of the country, might even learn Frisian— the official regional language only spoken in that province. Having a basic knowledge of English will be helpful.

Are we Dutch yet? #Nederland #stroopwaffle

A photo posted by Laura Friedrich (@lauraelizabeth67) on


Dutch food is simple and nourishing and represents a mixture of European cooking styles. During weekdays, family members take breakfast individually based on their schedules, but often on Sundays, the family will eat a special breakfast together. Dinner is the most important time for families to gather. A typical meal consists of potatoes and gravy with vegetables in season and meat or fish. The soups and vegetables are excellent. If you have a sweet tooth, try the raisin rolls, chocolate spread, puddings, syrup-filled wafers, and especially Dutch licorice!

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Year Exchange PROGRAM

Program Date: August 17, 2018 – July 7, 2019
Birth Date Range: November 17, 2000 – May 17, 2003

By living with a host family and attending a local school in the Netherlands, you’ll have an amazing opportunity to meet all kinds of new people and get to know this open-minded, tolerant, and progressive country. Dutch schools are some of the best in the world, so you’ll have a unique opportunity to challenge yourself in a number of subjects. By the end of the year, you’ll be completely immersed in the language, history, and culture of the Netherlands and have experienced the adventure of a lifetime!

Program dates may vary and are meant to help with general scheduling only.
All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and programs are filled first-come, first-serve.

Apply Now!

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