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A brief history of the European School Bergen

On 16 October 1963 the European School in Bergen opened its doors for the first time to support the newly opened Joint Research Centre in Petten. The school was located in a wooden temporary building with five rooms, five nursery pupils, five primary pupils, three teachers, a secretary, a concierge and a Belgian director, Mr Plastria. The school expanded in the temporary building to 18 classrooms, and the aim was to build a permanent building within three years.

ESB was the sixth European School to open, and one year later it had grown from 10 to 68 pupils (20 nursery, 38 primary and 10 secondary) and after this the school grew rapidly in the 1960s. Often it was so overcrowded that the end of a corridor had to be used as a classroom. It took until 1976 for the foundation stone for the permanent new building to be laid on the present site of the school, and in September 1977 the administration and secondary school moved in, followed by the nursery and primary classes in December 1977.

In April 1978 the school was officially opened by HM Princess Beatrix, and on the same occasion she also officially opened the Europahal, the sports hall which was built in collaboration with the local community. Numbers in the school increased to a peak of around 900, but since 2000 they have reduced to the present figure of around 550 with the closure of the Italian and German sections. Now the school has a Dutch, French and English section and it continues to be an important educational facility not only for the children of people working at JRC Petten, but also in the wider local community with many pupils travelling from Amsterdam to attend the school. As more international companies move into the region, and with pressure on school places in the Amsterdam area, our school offers a solution for a quality education for children of all nationalities and backgrounds.