Swim ABC

Teaching children to swim safely

The Netherlands is a country with many areas of open water. Hence, children are taught to swim at a very early age. We have developed the Swim ABC: a teaching programme that aims to contribute to lowering the risk of drowning. 98% of all young people in the Netherlands have one or more swimming certificates.

Image Swim ABC

Safety first

The Swim ABC is a child-friendly teaching method, with safety in a prominent role, which provides all the necessary skills to survive and move around freely in different kinds of water. It consists of three National Swimming Certifi cates: A, B and C. Once children have earned these three certificates, they will be aware of the safety aspects of swimming in modern swimming pools and in, or near, open water. The Swim ABC provides children with increasing skill levels with each certificate. Lessons focus not only on teaching the various swimming strokes, but also on moving under water in a safe- and free manner in different situations.


Since 1985, the NRZ has awarded more than 15 million swimming certifi cates to children and adults. Drowning as a cause of death has declined from 9.6 per 100,000 inhabitants
in 1925, to 0.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011.

See for yourself

Please, watch our video about learning to swim in the Netherlands:

Organisation in charge

The ‘Nationaal Platform Zwembaden | NRZ’ is the organisation that supervises the quality of swimming education in the Netherlands. Swimming pools, local and regional authorities, swimming associations and training centres consult us. We also work closely together with different research institutes.


We would be delighted to share our knowledge about teaching swimming. Please contact us for more information.

Nationaal Platform Zwembaden | NRZ
Evert-Jan Hulshof or Mariska Hol
E-mail: mhol@npz-nrz.nl
Telefphone: +31 (0)318 83 02 50

logo NPZ

download printable PDF