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The Kingdom of the Netherlands, (commonly called Holland,) since the independence of Belgium in 1830 is divided into eleven provinces, namely: North Brabant, Gelderland, North and South Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, Friesland, Overijssel, Groningen, Drenthe, and Limburg. It has an area of 20,527 square miles and a population of 3,809,527.

The Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, wbich is connected with the king. dom, though possessed of a separate administration, has an area of 1,592 square miles and 197,528 inhabitants.

The capital of the Netherlands, The Hague, has 100,254 inhabitants. The commercial ceutres are Amsterdam, with a population of 289,982, and Rotterdam, with a population of 132,054. In 1785 Amsterdam had a population of 935,000 souls.

The colovial possessions of the Netherlands embrace an area of 666,756 square miles and a population of 24,386,991.

The kingdom derives a considerable revenue from its colonies, arising from the sale of colonial produce, chiefly coffee and tin.

The leading occupations of the Hollanders, who are universally known as a thrifty people, are farming, dairy work, the fisheries, manufacturing, and commerce.

Religious liberty, liberty of conscience, and complete social equality are granted by the constitution to the members of all religious sects. The royal family and the majority of the inhabitants belong to the Reformed Church; but the Roman Catholics are about equal in number.


The original inhabitants of the country now included in the Netherlands and Belgium, the Belgæ, the Batavi, and the Frisii, figure in the conquests of the Roman armies under Julius Cæsar and in the spread of Christianity under Anglo-Saxon bishops and monks. Christianity was introduced by Bishop Willibrord, who landed on the coast of the Netherlands about A. D. 690.

The earliest school of which there is any record was that of St. Martin at Utrecht, which tradition reports to have been founded by Charles

* This summary has been compiled from the following publications: Buddingh'd Geschiedenis van opvoeding en onderwijs in de Nederlanden : 's Gravenbage, 1842; Annales Academici : Lugduni-Batavorum, 1840-1872; Verslag van den staat der hooge., middelbare en lagere scholen in het Koningrijk der Nederlanden, over 1848-1876.

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Martel, King of the Franks, (690–741,) and at which his son Pepin received his education. This school was suppressed during the invasion of the Normaus, but it was afterward reëstablished and attended by many pupils from the neighboring countries. Bruno, son of Emperor Henry the Fowler, who afterward became the famous archbishop of Cologne and archduke of Lothringen, was educated at the same school. In the twelfth century Utrecht possessed five flourishing schools, which were under the control of the clergy. There were, besides, several good schools in connection with the convents of Aduwert, Nijm wegen, Middleburg, Zealand, and Egmond. In addition to these schools, we find several public schools, which were established in the twelfth century by the more wealthy communities. The latter schools were styled “School en Schrijfambacht,” “Schoolen en kostern,” (school and writing office; schools and clerks' houses.) The “schoolinijsters” (schoolmasters) were looked upon as professional men. They formed distinct guilds and fraternities, and were bighly respected by their fellow citizens. The public schools were divided into “ groote en bijschoolen,” (bigber and lower schools.) Latin was taught only in the higher schools, which had generally the largest number of pupils. One of them, the scbool of Zwolle, numbered 1,000 pupils from the Netherlands and Germany. The Brethren of the Common Life, whose first school was founded by Gerhard the Great, of Deventer, (1310-1384,) did much for the promotion of education in different European countries. According to Schwarz, the number of schools under the control of this order was, in 1430, 45 and in 1460, 135.

During the fifteenth century we find in the Netherlands many famous scholars, among whom Wessel, Agricola, Hegius, and Erasmus have a world wide reputation.

In 1575 the University of Leyden was founded, which may be called the bulwark of Protestant doctrine in the Netherlands. Other universities were successively established, at Franeker in 1585, at Groningen in 1614, at Utrecht in 1638, and at Harderwijk in 1648. The universities of Franeker and Harderwijk were closed in 1811.

During the eighteenth century there was a remarkable decline in the zeal for education. Ouvrier, in 1811, reported very unfavorably upon the condition of the Dutch schools. Under the French government established in Holland by Napoleon I, some reforms were introduced, wbich were afterward further developed by King William I. Since that time the higher schools in the Netherlands have regained their former reputation to such an extent that the system of education in Holland has attracted the attention of many foreign educators. A prominent feature of the Dutch school laws is the outspoken opposition to the principle of denominational schools. The first school law was passed April 3, 1800. This law prescribed that the inspection of schools should be intrusted to inspectors, who were to constitute in each province a permanent school board. In larger communes there were to be, in addition to these, local school boards. No school was to be established without the special permission of the provincial or communal government. The course of instruction embraced reading, writing, arithmetic, Dutch, French, or other modern languages, geography and history. Schools were to be entirely independent of ecclesiastical influence. The school books were to be subjected to a strict inspection of the school boards. Nobody was allowed to teach without passing the prescribed examinations.

When, on the establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a new constitution was framed, a decree, dated March 6, 1815, ordained that the school law of 1806 should be taken as the basis for further reg. ulations concerning public instruction. Shortly afterward, however, a vehement opposition arose in the southern provinces (the present King. dom of Belgium) among the Roman Catholics, against the prohibition of religious teaching in the schools. They energetically objected to the interference of the state in educational matters. Their dissatisfaction grew from year to year, and tinally gave rise to the revolution in 1830, which was followed by a permanent separation of Belgium from Holland.

In the northern provinces, too, voices were heard in favor of liberty of instruction. By a royal decree of January 2, 1842, the influence of the ecclesiastical element attained an important ascendency. Thenceforth the religious persuasion of the teachers who applied for a place was to be taken into account. The clergy of the various denominations were allowed to examine and to approve the school books before they could be introduced into the schools. Religious instruction made no part of the regular course of study, but the school rooms were to be placed at the disposal of the clergy, before or after the regular school hours, for religious instruction.

The results of the operation of the law of 1806 and the decree of 1812 were mentioned as satisfactory by several foreign educators who wrote reports ou the condition of education in the Netherlands. Nevertheless the opinion prevailed among leading educationists that education ought to be more universal ; that the teachers ought to be better trained and their salaries increased. The first important step toward reform was the adoption of the educational provision in the new constitution of 1848, wbich is still in force. Article 194 of the constitution is thus worded :

Public instruction shall be an object of incessant care on the part of the government.

Public instruction shall be regulated by law, with due deference to all religious creeds.

The legal authorities shall provide for sufficient public elementary instruction throughout the kingdom.

Instruction is free, and it is to be under the supervision of the secular authorities, whose functions shall be regulated by law.

A report on the state of higher, middle class, and elementary instruction shall be submitted to the States-General (parliament) every year by the Crown.


Pursuant to the educational provision in the constitution, the minis ters of the King repeatedly prepared and laid before the States General plans of laws for the regulation of elementary instruction, which, however, were never taken into consideration. At length, in 1857, a law was passed which is still in force and of which the following is a synopsis :

Art. 1. Elementary instruction is divided into ordinary and more extended instruction. Ordinary instruction includes reading, writing, arithmetic, the Dutch langnage, history, the rudiments of patural philosophy, and singing. The more extended instruction is considered to include the rudiments of modern languages, of mathematics and agricuiture, gymnastics, drawing, and needle work.

ART. 2. Elementary instruction may be given either in schools or in the dwellings or the parents or guardians of the children.

Art. 3. Public schools are those established and maintained by the communes, the provinces, and the government, severally or in common; all others are private schools. Subsidies may be granted to private schools on the part of the communal, provincial, or state authorities. Schools thus assisted shall be open to all children, without distinction of religious creed.

ART. 4. No school instruction shall be given in buildings declared detrimental to health by the district school inspector or insufficient in regard to room for the cbildren attending the school.

Art. 5. School education shall be given by head masters and assistant teachers, head mistresses and female assistant teachers, and both male and female pupil teachers.

ART. 6. Nobody is allowed to give elementary instruction who does not possess the proofs of capacity and morality. Foreigners must have a special permission from the government.

ART. 7. The provisions of the preceding article are not applicable to graduates of universities who have received special permission to give instruction.

Art. 8. Any person giving elementary instruction without being qualified shall be prosecuted.

Art. 9. On every imposition of a fine it shall be declared by the judge that failure in the payment of the same shall be punished with imprisonment.

Art. 10. The license to give elementary instruction is revoked if the holder be convicted of theft, swindling, perjury, breach of trust, or immoral conduct.

Art. 11. Any person having forfeited the license for giving elementary instruction capnot recover it.

ART. 12. For the education of teachers there sball be at least two state training schools. The education of elementary school teachers shall be promoted by the government as much as possible.

Art. 13. From every decision of the state deputies an appeal can be made to the King.

ART. 14. The provisions of this law concerning male teachers are likewise applicable to female teachers, so far as it contains no exceptions concerning the latter.

ART. 15. This law is not applicable to military instructors.

Art. 16. In every commune elementary instruction shall be given in a certain nomber of schools, sufficient for the number and requirements of the population, and the school shall be open to all children without distinction of religious creed.

ART. 17. The communal council shall fix the pumber of schools. Its resolution sball he communicated to the deputies of the state. If the latter deem the number insuffi. cient they sball order an augmentation.

Art. 18. If the number of pupils in one school exceeds seventy, the head master shall be assisted by one pupil teacher; if the number exceeds one hundred, an assistant teacher shall be appointed. Art. 19. A yearly salary shall be assigned to every head master, and he shall have, besides, a free dwelling and a garden. If no dwelling can be procured he shall receive a fair allowance for house rent. The salaries of the assistants and pupil teachers shall be fixed by the communal council.

The amount of the yearly salary of a head master shall be at least 400 forins;* for an assistant teacher, at least 200 florins; and for each pupil teacher, at least 25 florips.

Art. 20. In those communes where, on account of their large and scattered popula. tion, several schools shall be required, a head master or an assistant teacher may be placed at the head of those schools as principal.

Art. 21. In order to be qualified for the appointment of bead master or assistant teacher the candidate is required' to possess a certificate of capacity, and testimonials of good moral character.

ART. 22. Head masters shall be appointed by the communal council from a list containing not less than three por more than six names, made up by the burgomaster and assessors in concert with the district school inspectors, after a competitive examination conducted by the latter in presence of the officers of the local, civil, and school government. Assistant teachers shall be appointed by the communal council from a list containing three names, made up by the burgomaster and assessors in concert with the head master and tbe district school inspector.

Teachers may be suspended or dismissed for cause by the anthorities that appointed them.

ART. 23. The system of education shall be made conducive to the development of the intellectual capacities of the children and to their training in all Christian and social virtues. The teacher shall not teach anything inconsistent with the respect due to the religious opinions of others. Religious instruction is left to the several religious denominations. The school rooms shall be at their disposal for that purpose out of the regular school hours.

ART. 24. The teachers are not allowed to hold any other office or situation without the permission of the local and state authorities. They are not allowed to carry on any business, to work at any trade, or to exercise any profession; this provision also applies to the members of the families of head masters and assistant teachers as far as relates to carrying on the prohibited occupations in their dwellings.

ART. 25. The head masters and assistant teachers shall be entitled to a pension from the government in the following cases:

Art. 26. The right to a pension is acquired after an honorable discharge at the age of sixty-five, and after forty years' service. A pension may also be granted to those who after ten years' service have become invalid. Those who have not received an honorable discharge forfeit their right to a pension.

ART. 27. The pension shall amount for each year's service to one-sixtieth part of the annual salary.

ART. 28. As a contribution to the pension fund, head masters and assistant teachers shall pay 2 per cent. per annum of their yearly salary.

ART. 29. The communes in which teachers are pensioned, by virtue of this law, shall refund to the government one third of the amount of such pensions.

ART. 30 confirms several legal provisions of former years.

ART. 31. Each commune shall provide for the expenses of its elementary institutions of learning.

ART. 32 defines the expenses referred to in the foregoing article.

Art. 33. School fees may be required from every child attending school. Children supported by public charity and those who are unable to pay for their schooling shall uot be called upon for this payment.

Art. 34. The collection of school fees shall be regulated in conformity with the law of 1851.

ART. 35. The school fees shall be the same for all the children of the same class.

ART. 36. Poor communes shall receive state aid, the amount of which is to be fixed by the government. *1 florin =385 cents gold.

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