About us

Director’s Message

steve4My name is Steve Lewis. I am from the United Kingdom, and I am the Director of the European School Bergen (ESB), where I have worked since 2008. Thanks for visiting our website. I hope that you will find many things of interest. In fact, I hope to persuade you to consider our international school the ideal choice for the education of your children of any age. For more than half a century, many ESB graduates have gone on to successful international careers. We follow the European Schools curriculum leading to the European Baccalaureate, which provides entry to universities around Europe and beyond.

Our school is located in the picturesque town of Bergen, in the province of North-Holland. We are surrounded by great natural beauty. The school is close to the beach, forest and dunes, and within easy reach of the town of Alkmaar and the surrounding towns and villages. We are also close enough to Amsterdam and Haarlem for many of our pupils to make the journey every day – about 20% of our pupils travel from Amsterdam. We have places available in our school at all levels. Come and visit us and see the advantages of an international education for yourself!

– Steve Lewis, Director

Aims and Values

Mission of the European Schools

Since their beginning in 1953, the European Schools mission can easily be summarised as follows:

Educated side by side, untroubled from infancy by divisive prejudices, acquainted with all that is great and good in the different cultures, it will be borne in upon them as they mature that they belong together.

Without ceasing to look to their own lands with love and pride, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe.Jean Monnet

General Objectives of European Schools

The European School system’s primary objectives are to:

• give pupils confidence in their own cultural identity;
• provide a broad education of high quality;
• develop high standards in the mother tongue and in foreign languages;
• enable pupils’ mathematical and scientific skills;
• encourage a European and global perspective;
• strengthen creativity in the arts and European culture;
• advance students’ physical skills;
• offer pupils professional guidance for higher education, and
• foster tolerance, co-operation, communication and concern for others.

History of the ESB


16 October 1963
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,
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 traveling from as far afield as Amsterdam to attend the school
50th anniversary of the ESB, second visit of Queen Beatrix
16 October 1963