The Law on Education and Vocational Education and Training (Wet educatie en beroepsonderwijs) was adopted on 31 October 1995.
The law defines key elements of apprenticeships at system level, leaving the VET institutions a high level of freedom to shape education and training. These key elements are, for example:
- the country-wide structure of qualifications;
- study duration;
- stakeholders’ (Ministry of Education, education institutions, social partners, companies, etc.) responsibilities in relation to setting up educational programmes;
- stakeholders’ responsibilities in relation to ensuring learning objectives are in accordance with contractual agreements at international level.
An important part of vocational education and training consists of learning in practice, known as work placement (beroepspraktijkvorming, bpv). We differentiate between practice placements (school-based pathway, BOL) and apprenticeships (work-based pathway, BBL). The school based pathway (BOL) has between 20% and 60% BPV. The apprenticeship pathway (BBL) has 60% BPV or more.
As of the school year 2015/2016 programmes can offer a combination of school-based VET (BOL) and apprenticeships (BBL). This is an experiment which runs until 2021. Combined programmes must be school-based in their first year and may then, depending on the duration and the set-up of the programme, make a transition to a one or multi-year apprenticeship in the second, third or fourth year.
 Decision on experiment of combined programmes BOL-BBL of 21.5.2015 (Besluit experiment beroepsopleiding gecombineerde leerwegen bol-bbl), http://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0036631/2015-05-21 [accessed 27.04.2016).
 Cedefop (2016), Spotlight on VET: The Netherlands.