Scenes From The Dutch Schoolpleinpolitiek

An expat reader of mine who goes by the clever name of Sue Denim has been kind enough to provide her observations of the complex intercultural human interaction that takes place during the school run. The mysteries of the Dutch schoolpleinpolitiek are revealed in this post. If it upsets you, by all means, send an email to [email protected]

The things I do for my readers!

Arriving at school

First of all, there’s the arrival at school. Dutch Mamas and Papas just stopping the car wherever they please, with no attempt to pull in so that others can get by. Nee, Nee, Nee. Followed by varying sizes of offspring jumping out and invariably forgetting their broodtrommel or gym spullen, resulting in multiple returns to the car as the line of blocked traffic snakes into the neighbouring streets.

Alpha female time

Then, once you have parked, you have to become an ‘alpha female’ to get through the door, intact and with your child. Elbows, flying everywhere, children climbing under your legs to get in, parents trying to disturb the laws of physics by walking through you. On to the cloakroom crush. Everyone standing in the door of the classroom, or right in front of de ‘luisentassen’ so you can’t deposit your child’s things.

dutch schoolpleinpolitiek

Preparing for the school run

Dutch Schoolpleinpolitiek the divisions

Once your child is safely delivered to their classroom, you leave the building and that’s where you discover the complex ‘social division’ of de schoolplein. There’s always a group of Polish mums chatting. “Powiedziałam jej, że nie jestem sprzątaczką!”

The sports mums in their ‘strakke legging’, ready for their run and their leopard print bums.


Then we have the local gossips who admire and hate you at the same time. The “gorgeous mums”, who have been up since 6 AM doing their hair and make-up for the school run.

Dutch Schoolpleinpolitiek

She’s a bad mother, she works full time!

The confused dad’s, because it’s confusing right? And the working mama’s, like me, who are a little ‘apart’ because even if the Netherlands is allegedly the MOST EMANCIPATED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, we’re strange for working full-time with children, arriving fully dressed for work, wearing heels and formal clothing which wouldn’t even be seen at a Dutch wedding… Gezellig toch?


No alpha females were hurt during the writing of this post.

A big thank you to Sue Denim for writing this post.