‘Amity is the most beautiful school you can give a child’

You are a Dutch citizen. You live and work in Amsterdam, and your children go to a Dutch school in your area. Sounds logical, but there are other options –…

You are a Dutch citizen. You live and work in Amsterdam, and your children go to a Dutch school in your area. Sounds logical, but there are other options – like sending your children to an international school like Amity International School Amsterdam.

Most parents wouldn’t even think of the idea. The Dutch education system is fine, isn’t it? And international schools are meant for international children, right? Not really, as the increasing number of Dutch students attending Amity International School shows.

Elspeth French, who is British but has been living in Amsterdam for 22 years now, decided to move her 11-year old daughter from a Dutch Montessori school and enrolled her at Amity.

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“I’ve been working at Amity since August 2018, initially in the classroom and then in the admissions department. My own children were already settled in local Dutch schools and were doing well at their schools and were happy. I liked that they were being immersed in the Dutch language and culture. However, I chose to move my daughter last year to Amity.” 

Her daughter was introduced to other Dutch speaking students at Amity school, given support to further develop her command of English, both helped her feel at ease and settle in quickly.

Broader world view

But mastering English was not the only reason why Elspeth moved her daughter to an international school. “It is important that my daughter meets people from different cultures and nationalities from all over the world. I think that’s the best learning experience you could wish for your child. She won’t lose her Dutch identity, though, as Amity is located in Amstelveen and the school looks to celebrate and embrace the Dutch culture. The school offers Dutch classes as a mother tongue language alongside the classes helping students to learn Dutch as an additional language. The school celebrate Saint Nicholas and King’s Day and we play shuffleboard with the children. It doesn’t get more Dutch than that!”

Moreover, Elspeth is convinced that attending an international school gives her daughter a broader view. “Not only is she exposed to a more international curriculum but she is making friends with children from around the world. As they chat and learn side by side, she is starting to understand multiple perspectives on global events. I really feel this is helping her to develop an international perspective and empathy for others.”

Private school

Since Amity is a private school, the fees are higher than in the mainstream Dutch educational system. With a yearly school fee of ranging between 15,750 and 17,350 euros, Amity is in the ‘mid-price’ range. “Our parents have made an investment and commitment to their children’s education and we look to ensure that the children receive the very best education possible. It helps that our parents are very engaged and supportive of the school and we pride ourselves on working closely together” Elspeth explains.

The school employs fifty teachers, each with his or her own specialty and there is a dedicated team of professionals to support students with special educational needs. The class sizes are small, with a maximum of 20 students for Early Years and 24 students for Primary Years and Middle Years, so personal attention is guaranteed. The children work at their own individual level but they are encouraged to bring out the best of themselves. There is a good collaboration between parent, student and teacher, and parents are regularly informed about their child’s progress.

High Academic level

That is something another parent Teresa can confirm when she reflects on the experience her two young daughters have had at the school. “If I compare their academic level to children of friends attending other schools, I am very impressed with their progress but I also want more from a school than high grades. My little girls love going to school. Every day I ask them what they liked best and what they liked least. My youngest one said the other day: ‘Having to leave school and go home.’ That sums it all up for me…”

Teresa moved from Argentinian to the Netherlands for two years and she found it difficult to choose the right school. “We moved three times in three years’ time. This was going to be the fourth school for my eldest daughter. During our search we noticed that the schools invariably focused on us, the parents, but hardly paid any attention to our children. Our first experience at Amity was totally the opposite!”

Personal attention

She continues: “To me, it was very important that my eldest daughter would feel socially and emotionally supported, that she wouldn’t feel like just another number at school. Amity gave us that very warm feeling from the very first moment. It is a fairly small school and before long every teacher and student knew my children’s names. That was such a nice feeling!”

Now that her children have been at Amity for one year, Teresa stresses how impressed she is by their academic achievements. “Sometimes when I hear them talking among themselves, I’m really impressed by how involved they are with the subjects they discuss at school. They are learning without realizing they are learning. The subjects are presented in such a way that they want to know all about it. That is something I really value and appreciate.” 

Zuidas.magazine spoke to two parents who are very enthusiastic about Amity International School. “Other private schools have long waiting lists, but Amity still has room for more students in allyear groups” says Judith Meijer, the school’s communication officer. “Parents can enrol their children anytime during the school year; our teaching system is designed for that. Our doors are open for all children – including Dutch ones…” 

 

Amity International School Amsterdam

Amsterdamseweg 204

Amstelveen

W www.amityschool.nl

 

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‘The Zuidas needs green space and a sports club’

      After almost sixty years, Amsterdamsche Football Club – better known as AFC – has left their trusted old clubhouse and moved down the road into a state-of-the-art…

 

 

 

After almost sixty years, Amsterdamsche Football Club – better known as AFC – has left their trusted old clubhouse and moved down the road into a state-of-the-art new home, fitted with all mod cons, sustainable, and offering plenty of opportunity for the club to grow.

AFC, Amsterdam’s oldest and biggest football club, boasts a rich history. They played their first match in 1895, on a pitch between the ponds in the Vondelpark. In 1906, the club moved to the Watergraafsmeer, near the farmstead Goed Genoeg (‘Good Enough’), which later gave its name to the current AFC grounds. In 1920, AFC played their matches at a complex near the Zuidelijke Wandelweg. In 1962, the club moved to the Zuidas and has stayed here ever since.

Since that final move in 1962, Ad Westerhof has been part of the AFC family. First as a player, subsequently as a board member of the club for the past 21 years – the last six of those serving as chairman. During all these years, he has seen volunteers and coaches come and go, and seen shy little players grow into confident young men.

Zuidas

“When AFC came here, this area was not yet known as Zuidas,” Ad says. “Back then, the area between the Schinkel canal and the Amstel River was the business quarter of Amsterdam Zuid. From the 90s onwards the big law firms, banks, AkzoNobel and the WTC moved here. That’s when the name Zuidas was coined.”

“That was also the moment we had to start thinking about the future of our sports complex. Fortunately, AFC will be able to continue playing here at Zuidas. The pitches and the brand-new clubhouse are located in an area a bit further north. To the south, a new construction project for 1,500 houses is taking place. This way, AFC will be able to build a future and realize its ambitions as a club.”

New meeting place

The charming old clubhouse, full of history, will be taken down, but the famous old wooden plaque, reading ‘Het sieraad van een huis zijn de vrienden die er verkeren’ – ‘The beauty of a home are the friends that visit it’ – has been given a prominent place on one of the walls of the new facility. Well, from now on those friends will be able to meet at the dazzling new clubhouse designed by architect Paul de Ruiter.

“Our new clubhouse is fitted with all mod cons: solar panels, an integrated covered grandstand and more dressing rooms than we had before, all with their own showers. Our old home was full of charm, but it needed a lot of urgent maintenance work including things like safety glass.”

Artificial grass

Not only the old clubhouse will disappear, however: AFC’s famous grass pitches, seven in all, have been replaced by five pitches with artificial grass. “We opted for artificial grass as we want to give all of our 130 teams the chance to play football. An artificial pitch simply allows many more hours of use than a regular grass pitch. We started work on the main pitch and the clubhouse, and the entire complex was ready by the end of the summer.”   

AFC is home to 130 teams and that makes them the biggest amateur football club in the Netherlands. Last season, their first team was crowned champions of the Dutch Second Division. AFC is a club with status and held in high esteem for a good reason. 

Best amateur football club

“For the 7th year running, De Voetbaltrainer magazine voted AFC the best amateur football club out of all the 3,000 football clubs in the Netherlands. That makes us immensely proud but we’re not doing this to collect awards. We simply want to run our club to the best of our abilities and develop it further. The volunteers are very committed AFC members, full of energy and driven to succeed. AFC is a well-organized football club.”

With 70 football coaches and 300 volunteers, all screened and in possession of a certificate of good conduct (VOG), AFC is a big club. “Our waiting lists are very long, especially for young players.”

Dutch celebrities

If you are coming down here to watch a game of football on a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll probably see a lot of Dutch celebrities along the touchline. “A lot of well-known Dutch people are living in this area and they come here to support their children when they’re playing a match. No, I’m not going to tell you who they are. They have a right to privacy.”

The Zuidas area is the most expensive piece of land in the country, estimated at a value of around 1.5 billion euros. “It’s absolutely marvellous that the city of Amsterdam allows AFC to stay here. On the other hand, I think they are quite happy with us. After all, the Zuidas needs green space and a sports club. By the way, during the week our pitches are used by local schools.”

“We’ve concluded a lease agreement with the city council for the next 25 years, with an option for an additional 25 years. But if the land prices keep going up at the current rate, we will have to wait and see what happens. This area is changing fast and we know AFC might not be in this carefree position forever, but at the moment we’re simply looking forward to using our new clubhouse and our brand new pitches.”

 

Picture by Katja Mali

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Irine Gaasbeek: ‘Diverse teams are more creative’

Not getting the job because you are a woman? “Totally unacceptable,” says Irine Gaasbeek, Country Managing Director for Accenture Netherlands. “That would really be an injustice.” Her employees agree with…

Not getting the job because you are a woman? “Totally unacceptable,” says Irine Gaasbeek, Country Managing Director for Accenture Netherlands. “That would really be an injustice.” Her employees agree with her and won’t set up project teams that predominantly consist of men. “They know I won’t buy it if they say they can’t find capable women to include in their team. Just look further and you’ll find them.”

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Join the discussion about new green along De Boelelaan

Have you noticed them already, the human-sized question marks along the De Boelelaan Midden? They are there for a reason of course. The Zuidas department of the City of Amsterdam…

Have you noticed them already, the human-sized question marks along the De Boelelaan Midden? They are there for a reason of course. The Zuidas department of the City of Amsterdam has started preparations for the refurbishment of De Boelelaan Midden (located between Beethovenstraat and Parnassusweg).

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STOX Energy Socks move to Zuidas

As from the first of August, STOX Energy Socks have taken up residence at Zuidas. To be more precise, the new premises of the scale-up can be found next to the…

As from the first of August, STOX Energy Socks have taken up residence at Zuidas. To be more precise, the new premises of the scale-up can be found next to the Olympic Stadion. “Our Herengracht office was not big enough. This new location suits us perfectly,” says Wouter de Keizer, CEO at STOX.

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Upperbloom upgrades your balcony!

Are you the one, blessed with a balcony or courtyard? Upperbloom upgrades your balcony with the most beautiful greenery and makes sure it keeps on blooming. All-year-round. And for those, lacking the…

Are you the one, blessed with a balcony or courtyard? Upperbloom upgrades your balcony with the most beautiful greenery and makes sure it keeps on blooming. All-year-round. And for those, lacking the gardener’s skills: There is not much looking after.

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Cobra shows surrealist masterpieces

In the coming months, the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen will be exhibiting forty masterpieces from the surrealism collection of the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, before…

In the coming months, the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen will be exhibiting forty masterpieces from the surrealism collection of the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, before going on a world tour.

The museum lends its works of art to museums in the Netherlands and abroad, because the museum is being rebuilt. The Cobra Museum benefits from this because the surrealism collection of the Boijmans belongs to the world top.

The exhibition consists of ‘the currants from the surrealist porridge.’ Key works by Salvador Dali, René Margritte, Andre Breton, Man Ray, Eileen Agar and Max Ernst will be on display. On the ground floor of the museum is an exhibition about the similarities and differences between Surrelism and the Cobra movement.

The exhibition ‘This is Surrealism! The Boymans Masterpieces’ can be seen from 1 June to 27 September, seven days a week. There is an audio tour and there are continuous guides in the museum, to give an explanation.

Walking routes are indicated via a sophisticated dot pattern for safety. Tickets must be purchased online in advance via the museum’s website and there is a walk-in time (timeslot).

 

Photo: Mae West, Lippensofa, Salvador Dali

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Feiten en cijfers Zuidas

Zuidas, het gebied dat ligt tussen Schiphol en de Amsterdamse binnenstad, tussen de wijken Buitenveldert en Oud Zuid en natuurgebieden Nieuwe Meer en Amstel, is constant in ontwikkeling en is…

Zuidas, het gebied dat ligt tussen Schiphol en de Amsterdamse binnenstad, tussen de wijken Buitenveldert en Oud Zuid en natuurgebieden Nieuwe Meer en Amstel, is constant in ontwikkeling en is de laatste jaren enorm gegroeid. Hier wat feiten en cijfers op een rij.

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Happy, busy bees at Zuidas

Not only there are the sky-high office complexes built at Zuidas, but there is a concern for the bees as well. So, Zuidas has built up to 19 Bee Hotels…

Not only there are the sky-high office complexes built at Zuidas, but there is a concern for the bees as well. So, Zuidas has built up to 19 Bee Hotels in the area. It is an award-winning project to green the city. The solitary bee has a crucial role, and oak wood is the best material, is what the designers of these hotels can tell us.

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Zuidas won’t lean back

Like so many other entrepreneurs, shop owners at Zuidas are having a difficult time during the Coronacrisis. To sit back is not an option. Several restaurants at Zuidas started home…

Like so many other entrepreneurs, shop owners at Zuidas are having a difficult time during the Coronacrisis. To sit back is not an option.

Several restaurants at Zuidas started home delivery services, now, flowers, tailored suits and wines can also be delivered to the front door.

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