Welcome to the webpage of the Dutch Qualification Framework NLQF. The NLQF offers a guide for all types and all levels of qualifications and the use of learning outcomes to make it visible what a person knows, understands and is able to do. For the past ten years, we have been assigning levels to non-formal qualifications. Thanks to these levels, you know what the value is of the qualifications and it is easier to make the right choices in the context of Lifelong Learning (LLL). We work on a clear training landscape through our core values: clarity, guidance and quality.
On this page, you will find more information about NLQF and its connection to EQF, the procedure of classification, and the work and contact details of the National Coordination Point (NCP NLQF). In the downloadable documents at the bottom of this page, the questions and criteria for admissibility for the procedure of classification are enclosed. Curious about NLQF? Watch the introductory clip on the left and find more information down below.
Qualification Frameworks (EQF/NLQF)
To support cross-border mobility of learners and workers, promote LLL, and professional development within and across countries, the EU developed the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The EQF is a translation tool to make the levels of NQF’s easier to understand and more comparable; qualification frameworks provide an overview of diploma’s, certificates, and degrees attainable within the education system. Qualification frameworks describe learning outcomes for each of these qualifications.
In 2008, the EQF was designed as an 8-level, learning outcomes-based framework. Ever since, member states committed to revise and further develop the EQF to facilitate the understanding of individual’s knowledge and skills. To implement the EQF, member states are developing their national qualification frameworks (NQFs). Currently, almost 40 countries have developed their NQF, closely linked to the EQF. As a result, we are working towards a comprehensive map of all qualifications in Europe, accessible through qualification databases. For more information on the EQF, visit the European Commission website.
The Dutch Qualification Framework: NLQF
The Netherlands developed the Netherlands Qualification Framework (NLQF), which was implemented in 2012. Like EQF, NLQF consists of eight levels, and adds one entry level, as visualized in the waiver
All Dutch qualifications regulated by the Ministry of Education (formal education) are generically coupled classified in the NLQF. Furthermore, NLQF has classified over 210 non formal qualifications offered by over 60 private providers (as per March 2023, please find the most actual numbers in our register). The classification of non-formal qualifications makes it possible to compare the level of all qualifications. The NLQF-level stated on both formal and non-formal diplomas provides comparability, clarity, and guidance on possessed skills and knowledge to both employers and employees.
In 2022, we celebrated 10 years NLQF! Where are we at?
- In total, over 4.000 formal qualifications have an NLQF-level
- More than 210 private or non-formal qualifications have an NLQF-level
- More than 200 providers offer education linked to over 60 NLQF-classified nonformal qualifications
Currently, the law on NLQF is being prepared. This law will ensure all diplomas of regulated education clearly state the NLQF and EQF level, and stipulates that classifying non-formal qualifications becomes a statutory task.
The NCP NLQF
The NCP-NLQF Agency started working the 1st of February 2012 and currently has 9 part-time employees, working a total of 3,0 FTE. The Agency facilitates and supports the following independent external groups in carrying out their work on classifying unregulated qualifications in a careful, just, and expert manner:
- 15 Experts for evaluation of classification requests
- 4 Auditors for validation site visits
- The Quality Commission
- The Classification Commission
- The Programme Board
- And the Appeal Commission
The Committees and the Programme Board are each composed of at least
1 representative of the labour market, 1 representative of regulated education and 1 representative of non-regulated education and training. The Committees and Board are nominated for a maximum of two times four years. The functioning of committees and board is laid down in a regulation.
The organization of the qualification procedure is central to the work of the NCP. In addition, the NCP has a number of tasks:
- Determining the validation of the educational provider who requests classification.
- Determining the NLQF level of a non-formal qualifications on request.
- Managing a public register of non-formal qualifications for which an NLQF level has been established.
- Maintenance and management of NLQF, its qualification framework, and implementation process in the Netherlands.
- Providing communication on the NLQF and EQF among students, employees, employers, and education providers, etcetra.
The NCP NLQF is funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the European Commission. The organisations that apply pay a fee for both the assessment of validity and the classification.
Procedure of NLQF
The procedure of classification consists of two steps.
- Request for assessment of validity of the organization
- Request for classification of the qualification
Interested parties can submit their request for both steps in the digital application system. All parties have the option to ask for feedback and guidance on their application.
You can find the questions included in the application on both steps of the procedure in the attached files at the bottom of this page.
Step 1 of the NLQF procedure: validity application
What does the first step of the procedure look like? Esther walks through the validity application in this video.
Step 2 of the NLQF procedure: application for classification
What does the second step of the procedure look like? Jessica walks through the application for classification process in this video.
National Coordination Point NLQF
5211 AP ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands