1. Production of textbooks
The textbooks are produced by commercial bodies.[1]

2. Admission
Textbooks are not prescribed by any Ministry.[2] The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science merely prescribes educational attainment targets but does not prescribe or produce specific teaching materials.[3] There are no detailed regulations with regard to the curriculum (content, teaching methods and material).[4]

3. Financing: Are textbooks free of charge?
Learning materials, including textbooks are free of charge at primary schools.[5] According to decisions of the parliament from October 2006[6], and to the coalition agreement of 7 February 2007, school books will be free of charge for secondary school pupils and will be funded from the block grant.[7] The aim is for schools to purchase the books and loan them to their pupils.[8] Although this plan was supposed to be realized at the beginning of the school year 2008-2009, textbooks will not be free of charge at secondary schools until the school year 2009-2010. The Dutch House of Representatives justifies circumstance as follows:  „At the overall political debate in 2007 the Dutch Cabinet promised Parliament that school books would be supplied free of charge throughout secondary education, as of the school year 2008-2009. As schools will be spending large amounts of money on the purchase of schools books, a European tendering procedure is obligatory. This procedure requires certain preparations, which take some time. As a result, schools will not be able to supply free school books in the school year 2008-2009. Instead, parents must buy the books themselves this year, but will be compensated by the Siciale Verzekeringsbank, a Dutch social security fund. As of  the school year 2009-2010, school books will be supplied by the schools free of charge.”[9]
Currently, school books are purchased by the parents. Many schools operate a book fund, buying the books and renting them out to parents. Others make arrangements for books to be rented from book suppliers.[10] Since 1996, “lump sum financing” has been in force. This means that each school receives a fixed lump sum each year to cover all staffing and material costs. The amount depends on the number of pupils attending the school in the previous year. Lump sum financing(…) allows the Education Ministry better to plan education costs, but it also grants schools greater freedom. Although each school receives an amount for staff costs and another amount for material costs, each budget can be used to cover shortfalls in the other.[11]

4. Selection of textbooks
The school system is decentralized. Schools and teachers select their own textbooks and course material.[12] Schools have considerable freedom in the choice of course books and materials, and they can also add their own emphases to the curriculum.[13] In fact, however, most secondary schools are part of a more centralised system (for example, in the province of Noord-Brabant, most schools are part of the OMO-consortium) and work together in selecting their textbooks. To help schools make an informed choice on teaching methods and materials, the Ministry publishes guides comparing the quality of all teaching materials for each subject area. The National Teaching Materials Information Centre (NICL) produces a consumer guide to teaching materials which schools can use to compare existing and new products. The NICL is part of the National Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO). The SLO is also commissioned by the Ministry of Education to analyse textbooks for mathematics and the Dutch language on a regular basis. The results are published on the Internet.[14]
The analysis uses the following criteria:
• Are the demands of the core attainment targets addressed in the textbook?
• What is the pedagogical quality (that is, how useful is the textbook as a teaching and learning aid)?
• Does the textbook allow for differentiated teaching within a group?
• Are there specific indications for evaluation and assessment?
• How does the textbook deal with the complexity of a multicultural society and the different social and cultural backgrounds of children?
• What does the textbook say about gender issues, equity and equality?
• How manageable is the textbook for the teacher?
• How much time is required to complete the tasks required by the textbook?[15]


[1] International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive, (23.05.08).
[2], S.19. (07.03.2008).
[3] International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive, (23.05.08).
[4]〈=EN&fragment=95, (31.03.2008).
[5], S.16. (07.03.2008).
[6]〈=EN&fragment=2,〈=EN&fragment=95, (07.03.2008).
[7] Coalation agreement between the parliamentary parties of the Christian Democratic Alliance, Labour Party and Christian Union,, S.19. (27.03.2008),〈=EN&fragment=95, (07.03.2008).
[8]〈=EN&fragment=95, (31.03.2008).
[9] Tweede Kamer der Staten-Genraal, The Dutch House of Representatives: Free school books,, (31.03.2008).
[10]〈=EN&fragment=95, (31.03.2008).
[11] Bob van de Ven: Netherlands, in: Wolfgang Hörner u.a., The Education Systems of Europe, Dordrecht 2007, S.555-572, hier: 570.
[12], S.19-25,〈=EN&fragment=95,, (07.03.2008).
[13], (23.05.2008).
[14] International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive, (23.05.08).
[15] Ibidem.