Alles over zwemles

Een initiatief van:

Frequently asked questions

Is there anything you have always wanted to know about swimming lessons? The answers to various questions are listed by category. If your question is not listed, please contact us.

Start with swimming lessons

  • What should I do if I am unable to pay for swimming lessons for my child?

    Contact your municipal authority. There are often arrangements available to help cover the costs of swimming lessons, subject to certain conditions. The arrangements, their availability and the conditions may vary by municipality.

    You can also visit the website Stichting Leergeld (Tuition Fee Foundation), Jeugdfonds Sport & Cultuur (Youth Sport & Culture Fund), Stichting Jarige Job (Birthday Boy or Girl Foundation) and Nationaal Fonds Kinderhulp (National Child Aid Fund) have published combined information on their schemes and how to submit applications for children. Since 2019, applications for compensation for swimming lessons can also be submitted directly through one application form on this website.

  • What should I do if I am unable to pay for swimming lessons for myself?

    If you are interested in learning to swim as an adult but cannot afford swimming lessons, contact Volwassenenfonds Sport & Cultuur (Adult Sport & Culture Fund) about your options for financial aid.

  • What is the best age to learn to swim?

    The Nationale Raad Zwemveiligheid (Dutch National Water Safety Council) believes the sooner a child learns to handle themselves in the water, the better. Most children who drown are under four years old. Swimming pools offer options for children from a very young age to move and recreate safely in and around water

    The recommended age to start swimming lessons for Swimming Diploma A is four and a half to five years old. Some parents prefer to start swimming lessons earlier, when their child is three to four years old. The requirements for Swimming Diploma A are too difficult for a three-year-old child to pass. Even a four-year-old child can struggle to master the necessary skills. On top of that, children are also starting primary school at four years old. That is a big change for a child and takes a lot of energy. If you wait six months, your child will have less trouble completing swimming lessons.


    Survival swimming/parent and child swimming are recommended for parents who want their child to learn to swim before they turn four. This allows the child to gain experience in the water, so they already feel comfortable in the water when swimming lessons begin.


  • What is the dress code for swimming examinations?

    The required dress code for swimming examinations for National Swimming Diploma A and B is:

    • Bathing suit
    • Long-sleeved shirt, dress shirt or blouse
    • Full length trousers, dress or skirt
    • Shoes (plastic or leather shoes and sneakers are permitted. Shoes with no real sole are not permitted)


    The required dress code for swimming examinations for National Swimming Diploma C: the same as A and B completed with

    • Long-sleeved jacket or coat
  • How long will it take my child to complete the Swim-ABC?

    Once a child has obtained Swimming Diploma A, Swimming Diploma B  and the full Swim-ABC (Dutch National Standard for Water Safety) are also within reach. The starting point for the average child to obtain Swimming Diploma A is a total of 48 hours of swimming lessons. Swimming Diploma B is set at 12 hours, and another 12 hours are required for Swimming Diploma C.

    There are great differences between children in the Netherlands. The total duration depends in part on the children’s characteristics. It may take time for a child to feel comfortable in the water (no fear), and some children may pick up a swimming technique faster than others. The quality of the instructors is also key. Properly adapting lessons to all the children in the group requires extensive knowledge and expertise. Total lesson time is not related to how many times a week a child takes lessons. It doesn’t matter if you have 1, 2 or even 3 lessons a week. However, there are doubts about extremely short courses in which children obtain their diplomas within a limited number of weeks. Although they may meet the standards at that time, we believe that “learned quickly” also leads to “forgotten quickly”.

Safety & hygiene

  • When will my child have sufficient skills?

    Swimming lessons for the Swim-ABC teach children all the skills they need to enjoy swimming in pools and open water safely. Your child must be able to save themselves if they end up in the water and enjoy the water without fear. Your child’s safety and skill in the water increase as they progress through the levels of the Swim-ABC. Your child is only truly safe in the water once they have completed the Swim-ABC. At that point, your child meets the Dutch National Standard for Water Safety.