Latest News

Let’s Go Bananas Again!

Let’s Go Bananas Again!

As you may have heard, the ES Bergen has again successfully secured participation in the EU School Fruit Programme for primary and nursery for the third year. Each week a selection of fruit and/or vegetables will be supplied and offered to your children in their classroom.

In order for the school to realize this project, the school and the Parents’ Association will again need volunteers to help with the fruit preparation and distribution three times per week on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 09:00-10:30 am.

Distribution will begin on Wednesday, 13 November 2019 in all Nursery and Primary classes and will run for 20 weeks.

We cannot offer this program if volunteers do not come forward, so please…parents, guardians, grandparents, big brothers and sisters are all invited to help.

Whether you can help one or two days throughout the programme, or every week please help support this initiative. This year we have implemented an online sign up form leveraging You can volunteer for a single day, or recurring days throughout the year on this website. If you have any difficulty, you can also email us to let us know when you would like to volunteer and we can enter your details for you.

If you have any questions about the programme, please contact your teacher. If you have questions about volunteering, please contact us.

Your ESB PA Fruit Programme Coordinators,

Sue Garrone, Vanessa Nascimento & Batool Nagdee

We’re using to organize volunteers for this initiative.

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click the button below to see our sign up page.
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on

Note: does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually. will require you to enter each date separately. If you plan to sign up for a recurring time, please contact us directly and we will register for you.

Nicole GottholdLet’s Go Bananas Again!
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Celebrations in Holland: Sint Maarten

Celebrations in Holland: Sint Maarten

Being an expat means that you are immersed in wealth of new cultural experiences. As a new expat arriving in Noord Holland in the Autumn of 2016, my husband and I were surprised by our children more than once with new expectations that we were not prepared for.

Through discussions with the many new families who have recently arrived, we learned that it would be helpful to occasionally write posts on our site explaining Dutch customs and celebrations to help new parents get acclimated to Noord Holland. This post is the first of several you can expect this school year.

Sint Maarten

Each November 11, children in North Holland celebrate Sint Maarten. In village centers like Bergen, Schoorl, Alkmaar and Koedijk, after dark the streets are buzzing with children walking door to door singing songs coaxing folks out of their homes to reward their singing with candy. In Schoorl you can actually walk from business to business, as they close their doors early to participate in this wonderful community celebration. If you live in a village center, you will likely have children stopping at your door hoping for a treat. So- if you’re not keen- or not home- turn off your porch lights to avoid disappointing children who will come singing at your door. But no stress- there isn’t a custom of “tricks” if no treats are given. If you are keen, you can pick up mini candy bags at your local grocery store or provide an alternative like a small toy or other treat.

What the Children Can Expect
Children dress in normal, everyday clothes (no costumes like Halloween), and they sing one of the many Sint Maarten songs as they go door to door. Once the residents of each home hear the children, they come out to listen to the remainder of the song. Pleasantries and greetings are exchanged, and then they give the children a treat. Some of the food purveyors will offer free snacks as well. When finding a good place to walk around, it’s best to stay close to village centers. For example you’ll find folks close to the Bergen Plein and the shops in Schoorl center.

Lanterns and Lighted Sticks (Lampions & Lampionstokjes)
Most primary classes will make lanterns in school, so ask your teacher if this is something they already have planned. If not, there are many examples of lanterns you can make here.  You will also need to purchase a “lampionstokje met lampje”. This is a plastic stick with a light at the end of a string that hangs down to illuminate your lantern. It looks much like a fishing rod in my opinion. You hang the lanterns at the end. They are offered at many of the local popular shops like HEMA, Kruidvat, Xenos, and Action. You can even buy them online here at Much of the fun is seeing the children and their creative, beautiful lanterns line the streets with children.

Sint Maarten Songs
The songs are in Dutch, but no stress! Many of the teachers will incorporate learning the songs in class to help prepare your child for the celebration. Some even learn them in French, English and Dutch. However you can also practice at home before the big night! Here is a link to a site that includes lyrics and youtube videos for many of the popular songs.

History of Sint Maarten

Saint Martin of Tours started out as a Roman soldier then was baptized as an adult and became a monk. It is understood that he was a kind man who led a quiet and simple life. The best known legend of his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying from the cold. That night he dreamed that Jesus was wearing the half-cloak. Martin heard Jesus say to the angels, “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is now baptised; he has clothed me.” St. Martin was known as friend of the children and patron of the poor. This holiday originated in France, then spread to the Low Countries, the British Isles, Germany, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. It celebrates the end of the agrarian year and the end of the harvest. Bishop Perpetuus of Tours, who died in 490, ordered fasting three days a week from the day after Saint Martin’s Day (11 November). In the 6th century, local councils required fasting on all days except Saturdays and Sundays from Saint Martin’s Day to Epiphany (the Feast of the Three Wise Men and the star, c.f. Matthew 2: 1-12) on January 6, a period of 56 days, but of 40 days fasting, like the fast of Lent. It was therefore called Quadragesima Sancti Martini (Saint Martin’s Lent).This period of fasting was later shortened and called “Advent” by the Church. [Source: Wikipedia]
Nicole GottholdCelebrations in Holland: Sint Maarten
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PA Committee Announced & Update Regarding School Future Location

PA Committee Announced & Update Regarding School Future Location

Dear Parents,

We hope you enjoyed your holiday! Thank you for joining us at our Annual General meeting (October 8th). Minutes from this meeting – and the complete presentation-  are available for members to view on our Member Information Page. You will need to log in with your membership to view this page. It was a great evening and we’re proud to present the new PA Committee.

We advocate on behalf of all parents at the many administrative meetings held throughout the year. Recently we pushed to be heard in the matter of renovation or relocation of the school. We were present at the latest Administrative Board meeting (October 2nd) where the Dutch Ministry of Education, Science and Culture’s project manager presented their plans. He stated that the wish of the Ministry is to move the school to either Alkmaar, Castricum or Zaanstad, but that the suggestion needs to be approved by the Board of Governors. If the Board of Governors agrees to move the school, the ministry does not expect to be able to move the school before year 2025.

During this meeting, the stakeholders in this matter decided to continue all future discussions with all the stakeholders present in the School Advisory Council (SAC). The next SAC meeting will be November 7th. Please send your questions or input on this topic to us.

There was also an update recently on the school website. We are committed to ensuring parents are heard and informed during this and all school developments.

We are here for you, and are looking forward to representing you this school year!

Nicole GottholdPA Committee Announced & Update Regarding School Future Location
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PA Update: Renovation or Relocation of ESB?

PA Update: Renovation or Relocation of ESB?

ESB Parents’ Association voices concerns and requests opportunity to be heard regarding the renovation or relocation of European School Bergen.

In the beginning of the summer holidays, we learned the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture & Science wishes to move the school to another location outside of Bergen. The Ministry stated they would no longer consider renovating the European School Bergen, and they are looking at other locations in the region. As you have probably seen, a translated statement from the Ministry was posted on the school website.

Rumors were spread in local newspapers during the summer holiday. And we were contacted by many ESB parents with their concerns and confusion.

Since the Ministry’s statement was published, we have been in communication with the school management as well as JRC and EMA staff to determine how we can ensure the parents’ concerns and questions will be addressed.

We have also researched the European School system to learn more about the process and the best way to represent the ESB parents in this matter. We have now communicated some of the parents’ questions and concerns to Interparents (the Parents’ Associations of the European Schools) asking for their guidance and support. A summary of these points are below :

  1. We ask for support in insisting that ESB parents are heard before any decision is taken at the Board of Governors (BoG). We are concerned and surprised about the intention to relocate the school and have concerns about the criteria the Ministry has chosen, without consulting the parents of the school.
  2. We ask for support in requesting the underlying documentation used in choosing not to renovate ESB in Bergen.
  3. Has any Type 1 school been moved before – and if yes, what was the process?
  4. Can a Type 1 school be changed into a Type 2 school? Has that happened before?
  5. Would it be possible to receive confirmation from the European Commission that the current status of ESB will remain (Type 1), even if the school moves?
  6. Is our understanding correct, that the Dutch Ministry alone cannot decide whether the school will move – and where to?
  7. Does the BoG have to unanimously approve the proposed move, and the new location?
  8. Will the site agreement of the JRC prevent the school to be moved far away from the current location?

Once we learn more about how and when we can be heard in this matter, we plan to reach out to parents to facilitate additional questions and concerns. If you would like to be contacted, please join the PA and subscribe to our email list to ensure we have your contact information. You may also contact us with your concerns and questions.

Would you like to also be a part of the PA Committee? Learn more about available opportunities here. You can also learn more about how to get involved at our upcoming Annual General Meeting.

Nicole GottholdPA Update: Renovation or Relocation of ESB?
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The PA Needs Your Help

The PA Needs Your Help

Do you want to be an active part of parent activities in school?

New School Year.. New PA Committee!

After almost 2 years with the same Chairperson the chair is now free for another parent! Do you want to be a part of the decisions-making process with a team of enthusiastic parents behind you? Let us know and let’s talk about it!

We also need one more Vice-Chairperson, supporting the chairperson and collecting all the input from the Committee.

Are you more interested in working in the background writing minutes, organising meetings and supporting the committee? Then Secretary could be something for you!

Maybe you are interested in how the transportation of the children is organised, and would like to help improve that? Why not be the new Transportation Contact?

We need active parents to help with different activities – especially the events in school. Depending on how much time you are willing to give, we need Events Coordinator(s), parents for the Events Team and Active Members that are willing to lend a hand – to be asked when needed from event to event.

Do you speak French & English and would like to (help) run the Francophone Events in school?

Are you a JRC or EMA staff member or spouse? Be one of our Contact Persons!

Questions – or want to hear more? Please get in touch! We would be very happy to talk about how you can support us in supporting our children and the school!

Available Volunteer Opportunities


  • Work closely together with the PA Vice Chairpersons
  • Participate in school meetings: Admin Board meetings, School Advisory Council meetings, meetings with management, meetings with parents
  • Support the Parents’ Association Committee members
  • Chairing or co-chairing meetings in the Committee and other parent meetings
  •  Be a voting member of the PA Committee, representing all parents in our school

Vice Chairperson

  • Work closely with and support the other PA (Vice-)Chairpersons
  • Support and collect information form the other Committee members
  • Chairing or co-chairing meetings within the Committee, parent Class Rep meetings, parent Work Group meetings, contact with Student reps
  • Be a voting member of the PA Committee, representing all parents in our school


  • Work closely with, and support the PA (Vice)Chairpersons
  • Organise Committee meetings and parent class rep meetings, write minutes and official letters, update PA calendar, book PA room
  • Be a voting member of the PA Committee

Events Coordinator(s)

  • Brainstorm which events the PA will present in school
  • Plan the events with school management, students and Events Team
  • Maintain event budgets and event timelines, create them for new events
  • Be a voting member of the PA Committee

Events Team Member

  • Organise events with the Events Coordinator(s)
  • Help coordinate volunteers for the event – and be present at the event

Event Help / Active Member

  • Help organise and lead events as available

Transportation Contact

  • Support and help improve the organisation of the transportation of the pupils
  • Be a contact person for parents and school regarding transportation issues


  • We need French-speaking parents helping with the French speaking events

Interested in one of these opportunities or just in learning more?

Complete the contact form below and we will reach out to you to discuss your interests further.

  • Please select all of the opportunities you are intersted in. Press CTRL+ to select more than one.
  • Please add any additional comments you'd like to share.
Nicole GottholdThe PA Needs Your Help
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