Ommen, Quakerschool, Kasteel Eerde

Address: Kasteellaan 1, Ommen

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The castle was built in 1715. It came into the possession of Philip van Pallandt, who had connections with the Quakers and offered it to them to establish the first Quaker school in Europe.

In 1931 the Dutch “Society of Friends” was re-established. In the 1930’s the society had 40 members. The idea to start a school had been a German initiative. The castle could be rented with the financial help of the English Society, and Piet Ariens Kappers was the driving force behind it. The school opened its doors in April, 1934. The original idea was to make it a school for and by Quakers, but this idea had already changed when the school opened, and it became an international school right away. The school was set up following the English pedagogical model and using English as the language. In March 1939 the school had 150 students. 

An agricultural department was added in 1939.

Shortly before and during the war there were many German refugee children. Most of them were “Mischlingen”, but some were fully Jewish. Even though the Dutch government had restricted the number of refugees, the school in Ommen managed to get permission for many children. How this permission was obtained is not clear.

In April 1940 there were 62 pupils from abroad at the school.

Despite attempts by the Quakers to help Jewish students by signing declarations of baptism and hiding the Jewish students, 15 of them were eventually taken to Camp Vught and from there to the extermination camps.

Now the building houses an international school.

Literature: Haverkorn van Rijswijk, Joke & Bruyns, Willem Mörzer, Sluit tot vaste kring de handen, een geschiedenis van de Quakerscholen Eerde, Vilsteren en Beverweerd (Amsterdam 2002)