“Too many months of vacation.” When will it end in the rest of Europe?

For children it is the most beautiful time of the year. For parents the most tiring. That schools is over and until the first half of September, mothers and fathers will once again have to fight between campus, parental leave, grandparents and babysitters waiting for the long-awaited vacation.

The petition

Three months at home. “But what profession in the world do you expect to stay at home for 90 consecutive days?”. This is what mother Valentina asks, who in recent days has launched a social campaign to promote a petition, in which the government is asked to postpone the end of school, at least until the beginning of July. “There’s a lot of talk about equality, gender differences, inclusiveness, and then the state leaves the children at home for three months?
And where should these children be in all this long, hot, idle period? Feeding makeshift summer camps to the sound of 150 euros a week? ». The problem also shifts to the prices, often staggering, on campuses.
“And who can not afford it, what does it do?” Those who stay at home with them (in most cases and as always) are the mothers. And I there must and will work, what should I do? – Valentina asks again – We use the didactic spaces during the summer months to teach him something useful, such as English or IT ». But not everyone agrees: “School is not a parking lot.”

The school calendar in the rest of Europe

The debate has served between those who would like to extend the end of the school year to July and those who, however, think that the children are already tired enough. But what is happening in the rest of Europe? By comparing the holidays, the number of school days, the general organization of the school and the academic year, it turns out, according to the Eurydice annual report, that students in Italy spend more days in school than in other European countries.

In 10 countries, school generally starts in August. The countries where the school year starts earlier are Denmark and Germany. In terms of the number of school days, this varies from 165 days in Albania and Malta to 200 days in Denmark and Italy. In general, the number of school days is the same in primary and secondary education, however, there are some exceptions: for example in France and Serbia (both in secondary education), in Lithuania and in Romania the number of school days in secondary education is greater than in primary school.

When they start

In Germany, schools in the various Länder start between 2 August and 14 September. In some countries, the start date is usually around mid-September: this is the case in southern Europe (eg Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Albania and Turkey), but also in Luxembourg and Romania. In Malta, children go back to school at the end of September. In Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, the start and end of the school year vary considerably between regions. The number of school days varies between 165 days in primary school in Albania and Malta and 200 days in Denmark and Italy. In about half of the countries, it is between 170 and 180 days (ISCED levels 1, 2 and 3); in 13 countries / regions the number varies between 181 and 190 days. In general, the number of school days is the same in primary and secondary education, but there are some exceptions: in France and Serbia (both in upper secondary education), in Lithuania and Romania, for example, the number of school days is higher in secondary education than in primary school. The opposite (fewer school days in secondary education than in primary schools) is seen in Greece, Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina.


In addition to the summer holidays, there are four other main periods of school holidays throughout Europe: the autumn holidays, the Christmas and New Year holidays, the winter / carnival holidays and the spring / Easter holidays. With the exception of the Christmas / New Year holidays, the other school holidays are different in both length and time. Since some of these holidays are tied to flexible calendar dates (carnival and Easter), their timing changes slightly from year to year. In addition to these regular holidays, all countries offer additional holidays for public or religious occasions. In the autumn, children have a week’s holiday in 16 countries / regions; in other countries it varies from two or three days (eg Czech Republic, Croatia, Malta, Slovakia, Iceland and Serbia) to three weeks (Switzerland) or no holiday in 11 countries (eg Greece, Poland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro). At Christmas, almost all countries offer two weeks holiday; it is only one week in Poland and Slovenia and up to three weeks for Sweden, Montenegro and Serbia and even more in Bosnia-Herzegovina for example. For the carnival, students in about 17 countries / regions have a week off and also two weeks in France, Cyprus, Poland and Turkey. Conversely, some countries / regions have no public holidays during that period (eg Greece and Albania).

The spring / Easter holidays last one or two weeks in most countries. However, some countries offer only a few days at that time (eg Lithuania, Finland and Albania) for three weeks in Switzerland. No public holidays at that time in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

When they are done

In Europe, the school year generally ends between the end of May and the second half of July. Mid-June is when the summer holidays begin in most countries. The length of summer holidays varies considerably between countries: from 6 weeks in some German states, the Netherlands and Liechtenstein, up to 13 weeks in Latvia, between 11 and 14 weeks in Italy and Portugal and even 15 weeks in Albania (primary education). Some countries show differences in the length of summer vacation depending on the level of education. In the youth education programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, students start their summer holidays earlier than primary school. In Greece, Cyprus, Albania and Montenegro, on the other hand, primary school students start their summer holidays earlier than high school students.


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