A Bit Of Holland On The Equator

A Bit Of Holland On The Equator


With more than 400 students, the Hollandse School in Singapore is the largest Dutch school overseas. Next to high quality Dutch education, the HSL offers a stable and pleasant haven for Dutch speaking children and their parents who want to maintain the connection with their home country. The Hollandse School was a logical choice for us. Yes, I look back on the Hollandse School in a very positive way. Yeah, for me it was very important to stay connected with Holland. The year 2020, is a very special year for the HSL… this is because the school is celebrating its 100th anniversary. A perfect moment to jump back in time to the place where it all began. I’m standing here at 30 Cairnhill Road. The place where the Hollandse School first opened its doors in 1920. And it started with Mrs Speyer and 5 students. As you can see now there is not much left of the picturesque classroom back then. But in the 20s of the last century, the number of students increased to 32 And 4 more teachers were hired. The classroom became simply too small. The school’s Founding Fathers: Shell ABN Amro Heineken Philips, and back then also Nedlloyd came together to find a new location for the school. The beautiful building behind me is the National Museum of Singapore. a landmark. In honour of the school’s 100 year anniversary, this museum and the Hollandse School have collaborated on an exhibition, the opening of the celebrations. Singapore is made up of 63 islands, In 13th century, the current Singapore was know asTemasekwhich meansCity of the seaIn the 14th century, Temasek was renamed Singapura meaningLion Cityin Sanskrit. However modern Singapore was really put on the map by Sir Stamford Raffles In 1819 he set up a trading post for the British East India Company. Under colonial reign, infrastructure, health care and education were developing rapidly. And the island was equipped with modern amenities such as electricity, cars, and telephone connections. Dutch companies with great commercial spirit started to settle here too. And ultimately, they founded the Hollandse School. Meino, what make the Hollandse School so special? The Hollandse School already exist for 100 years in Singapore and we are one of the few remaining Dutch day schools abroad. The mission and vision of the school show many similarities to those a century ago. It is mainly about offering high quality Dutch education to our children with a motivated team. We are standing here in front of the Dutch Pavilion at Orange Grove Road, the current Shangri-La hotel. This beautiful location was chosen by the Founding Fathers to build the school. In 1928 the school opened its doors with Mr Van de Groot as school Principal. He replaced Mrs Speyer in 1926 and soon he expanded his team with 3 teachers, giving education to 32 students. The 20s and the 30s of the 20th century were golden times for Singapore. But the World War II dramatically changed this with the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945. On the ruins of war, Singapore set the first step towards independence. Singapore became an independent Republic in 1965. After the independence declaration in 1965, the Singapore economy thrived and within no-time the city expanded and Dutch companies started to settle in Singapore. Can you tell something about the challenges the school has faced in the last 100 years? The school was forced to close its doors several times in the last 100 years. The first time was during World War II because of the war situation and tension the school was closed. During that time the school functioned as an emergency hospital. In the 50s riots occurred because of a lawsuit that was about the girl Maria den Hertogh, who would be assigned to her biological parents. The situation became too hostile, so the school was forced to close its doors again. The 3rd time was in the 60s, when tension arose between Malaysia and Singapore. It was about the independence of Singapore and also during that turbulent time, the school was closed. At the end of the war in 1945 Dutch families returned from the camps and the HSL opened its doors again. Schooling was resumed at Orange Grove Road. In 1958, the number students grew to 221. The plan to build an entire school complex at a new location was born. But it was not until the early 70s that action was taken. In 1975 the intention was to build a new Hollandse School on the grounds of the Hollandse Club, But the plan was turned down. The search for a suitable location continued. 7 years later, in 1982 the search for a suitable site came to an end. A piece of land was leased from the Swiss Club on Bukit Tinggi Road. The construction of the Hollandse School we know today, started. And the school officially opened on May 20 1985. Between 1992 and 2010, the school modernised the various buildings and facilities. New classrooms a teachers room, a management office an art studio, the opening of Jip & Janneke Preschool, a playground, a kitchen and music were all added. And also the sports field was reconstructed. Albert Winsemius, a Dutch economist has played a major role in the formulation of Singapore’s national economic development strategy in the 60s, 70s and 80s. In the museum behind me, you can find many references of Albert Winsemius and his influence on Singapore. Education played a very important role in the economic development of Singapore. The current educational system in Singapore is highly regarded globally. How does the Hollandse School prepare the students for the rapidly changing world? As a school we believe it is very important that children develop on social, cognitive and on emotional level. But also when it comes to variety of skills, so that they can keep up in this rapidly changing world we live in. And that they are very well prepared for the future. Umm…my kids experienced a very smooth transition from the Hollandse School to high school in the Netherlands. Another important aspect about the school, for me, is the sense of freedom and security. that the children have. Everyone at HSL can be themselves. Besides offering the Dutch curricullum, we also offer the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and of course English through the British National Curriculum. And in our curriculum we believe it is very important we consider it important to spend enough time on science and innovation. A terrific example of that is the opening of our Makerspace last year. In terms of innovation and science we have set up a collaboration with the Technical University of Singapore (NTU) in the field of virtual reality. In this way we try to strengthen our curriculum and innovate. And at the same time strengthen the bond with the Singapore educational institutes. Besides, offering good education it is also very important that we focus on the society, it is a multicultural society that greatly contributes to the international mindedness of the school. De reden dat ik als vrijwilliger in de bibliotheek werk, is het gevoel van welkom dat de school mij geeft. Iedereen is ontzettend vriendelijk en ruimdenkend. And in this way we strengthen the bonds but we also want to honour our traditions, and a very good example of that is of course the celebration of Sinterklaas, already for a 100 years and King’s Day. As Hollandse School, historically we are closely connected to the Hollandse Club. 100 years later, we still celebrate Sinterklaas here together. I have been coming to Singapore for already 100 years I have been visiting the Hollandse School for 100 years. [ Wave to Sinterklaas ] Hello dear children. In the Glo…..ri….aaaa hip hip Hooray! In the history of the school there is one person that has been connected to the school for more than 50 years: Mr. Dola. As a 16 year old boy, he started as a cleaner in 1955 He was a familiar face for the school for 52 years. The Mr.Dola square reminds us everyday of his dedication. How does the HSL guide the students on difficult topics like natural disasters, environment and poverty? A good example of creating awareness is the Precious Plastic Project that we just started. It is part of the Makerspace, where children, parents and teachers work together. In addition the school pays attention to all kinds of charities, both in Singapore as in the region. And it is really great to see how children raise money during the school year for those charities. And at the same time it is a wonderful opportunity to increase the awareness among the children when it comes to poverty and inequality and natural disasters in the region. In today’s and future education it is important that, besides focussing on knowledge to develop other learning skills, that we focus on educational developments. These usually go simultaneously with innovative and technological developments. I would like to become doctor. I want to become a biologist or chef. And I would like to become a biologist, rugby player and chef. So I want to become aYoutuber.I would like to become chef or baker. I want to become a photographer or illustrator. I really want to be a soccer player. In 20 years, I think I am working for NASA as an astronomer. In this way we educate our children to become global citizens whom I hope will be able to contribute to the world in which they live in. I think it is very important that we do things about climate change. I want to become a biologist because more and more animals are becoming extinct in Africa. I want to become an astronomer because I think space is really amazing and cool. There is always something new to discover! For 100 years, here at the Hollandse School, high quality education is being given to the next generation with a lot of knowledge and passion. Here we prepare them for the future. The future is in their hands. The future is theirs!

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