Family life in the European Union

The developments in the Corona pandemic have changed family life as we know it. Closed schools and day care centres demanded a lot from parents and grandparents in the care of their children. Nevertheless, childcare in European countries is one of the best in the world. So if you want to study, work and live in a European country, you can fall back on this childcare.

Structure of childcare in the EU countries

In the EU, childcare is provided by public or private institutions. Quality assurance standards are guaranteed by appropriate agreements between public institutions and the provider. In European countries, formal childcare is divided into four types. Age and the time spent on childcare play an important role. The four types of childcare, taking into account the use of time, are:

  1. Pre-school education,
  2. Education at school age,
  3. Childcare in central facilities outside school (before/after) and
  4. crêche facilities.

For the sake of completeness, we also explain the concept of informal childcare here. This includes professional babysitters and childminders, grandparents, relatives, friends or neighbours who take care of the children.
To get a more comprehensive insight into the subject of childcare, it is helpful to take a look at EU-SILC (European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions). This EU statistic is a community statistic on income and living conditions in Europe, which aims to collect knowledge about the causes and extent of social exclusion in the EU countries.


very important in europePolitical structures for childcare

In all European countries, the issue of childcare is assigned to one of the ministries. For the most part it is the Ministry of Education. This also reflects the political view on the subject of childcare: it is considered a fundamental task in the field of school education. The focus is on the promotion of reading, writing and arithmetic. In addition to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Family and/or Health is often responsible for childcare tasks, e.g. in Austria, Germany, Finland and Portugal.

What you should know

In the European countries there are legal regulations which oblige children to be looked after through formal offers, e.g. a pre-school. The only difference between the countries is the age limit. For example, compulsory attendance at a childcare centre is legally anchored in Luxembourg from 4 years of age, in Hungary, Greece and the Netherlands from 5 years of age, and in Slovenia and Denmark from 6 years of age.
The costs incurred for childcare are clearly regulated in the countries. In many countries childcare is exempt or at least reduced. In Germany this is not yet the case in all federal states. Here, the financial status of the parents decides on the possibilities of childcare.


Are you planning to move and make a new start with your family in one of the European Member States? There is certainly a lot to consider. A very important point, apart from finding work and accommodation and the regulation of all official documents, is the organisation of childcare.

For an optimal preparation we have created the course Life in the EU. Check this course before moving to a European country in order to solve possible difficulties in advance.

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