Ottoland – With the lifting of the public elementary school in Ottoland seems to have come to an end what could be called an extended school fight. Where the School Act by Minister Fisher over a decade ago in most municipalities already put an end to the wrangling between parents, churches and governments, the new rules in the polder were right occasion to sharpen the knives.

Old problem of a Protestant schism few decades ago played a key role. With the disappearance of the public school seems the sting out of the conflict to be met.

It was an emotional debate in the council Ottoland. Councilors of the Reformed ARP appeared to have little difficulty in raising the school. But their colleagues reformed the more. The only primary school that is left in the village because a reformed school. And the students are not taught the proper Christian doctrine, find the reformed council. But the ARP since the elections 1931 the largest party in the council and thus the reformers had little chance.

Three years ago it still seemed that the reformers in Ottoland would set up their own special school, a school based on their own variant of the Protestant faith. The council itself still has bent. That then led to considerable tension in the village, because the Reformed school just about everything had to build a new school with as many as four classrooms. If there would be a competitive Christian school, The plans would come to be called into question.

But the reformers appeared divided and made no hurry with the foundation of a private school. It seemed that not necessary, because the public school was led by master Ottoland J.T.. Janse, a supporter of the SGP. the Banner, the party newspaper of the Reformed Political Party, labeled the school a decade ago as one of the few public schools where classes were held in the Christian spirit. "This public school was in fact just a reformed school.

The Church in Ottoland. photo from 1930


But the public school, which is next to the village church reformed since time immemorial, has been struggling for some time with a declining number of students, while the reformed school is becoming more popular. That is also the inspection of primary schools noticed.

Last year, an inspector investigate the viability of the public school only 40 learners count. The outcome was that the students could be better distributed to the public school in Goudriaan and the Reformed school in the village.

The latter is at a sore spot of the reformers in Ottoland. They have therefore drawn in the run-up to the council all the stops to retain "their" public school, especially since private school is not in the short term by all divisions. So signatures were collected.

They got help from an electrician with socialist sympathies who was much attached to the public school in the village, but for different reasons. He found the distance too far Goudriaan ancestors who wanted to follow their children's public education.

But the council floor is swept with the collected signatures. There were no more than sixteen. And among the signatories were people who several years ago had signed a similar petition before reformed education. The reformed council put parents off as unprincipled people 'which had to be not listening. Moreover, it was nonsense to let the children travel far, find the Reformed: Their school is indeed within walking distance.

And so there disappears a public school in Netherlands. The Ministry of Education has estimated that especially in rural areas such 240 schools are not viable. A sample of the Committee of Action for Public Education found that nearly half of the students after passing a closure to a special school. It is expected that the reformed school Ottoland there are a lot of students in the coming years will.


The Reformed in the village have such a well-run school is crazy enough by largely lack of school funding in Alblasserwaard. Therefore, the school could get a regional function. However it already was with the school fight that kept gripped large parts of the country last century? anchored since the freedom of education in the constitution fought supporters of particular (lees: Christian) education to equal treatment by the government. Which would pay out only public education, because it is neutral and open to all.

Who would own schools, had to pay for it but themselves, was the adage. But meanwhile the government screwed or the requirements that buildings, had to meet schoolyards and training of teachers. Thus becoming advocates of special education was increasingly expensive to maintain private schools. then in 1886 the Reformed split off from the reformed church created a new situation. The Reformed started their own party, ARP, arrived in parliament and put the school conflict high on the agenda. In 1920 was finally arranged that would be paid for both the public and special education by the state.

The school struggles could largely ignore the Alblasserwaard because many public schools last century there were still closely linked to the church. Schoolteachers were living in a house owned by the church, rang the bell tower, sexton had stakes in the Church and cantor during church services. In addition, most villagers were poor and had no money for a special school.

Yet Ottoland came early in the grip of the Reformed separation, the Doleantie. The Reformed in the village, which indeed managed to mobilize enough resources, not only wanted their own church, but also a private school. The church came into 1888, the school, the Ebenezer or 'Damse school', two years later. Both had from the start, a region function. So not only were children at the school Ottoland, but also Molenaarsgraaf, Brandwijk and even from Bleskensgraaf, which was not reformed school. The broad interest in Ebenezer made slightly easier financing.

Within ten years, the number of students at the school nearly doubled to about Damme. 100. There a second local and a second teacher came. there are more children in the 20s was the school at, thanks to the law of Minister De Visser who arranged that special schools receive money from the state. But also plays that originated in Molenaarsgraaf dissatisfaction with the headmaster of the school in that village. And so did the board of the Reformed school again after about enlargement.

Extended school fight

But then broke in the villages as extended school fight off. The reformers wanted, Now the rural financing was arranged, yet private schools. Bleskensgraaf received 1923 a reformed school, Molenaarsgraaf changed in the public school earlier this year in a reformed school, while a similar plan failed four years ago in Brandwijk, so the school has remained publicly. And in Ottoland came as told to plan for a reformed school.

But discord was the arrival of a reformed school in the way. In april 1930 a reformed council agreed with the Reformed note, thus the plan was delayed. Thereafter, the initiators were overtaken by the fact. The arrival of the reformed school in Molenaarsgraaf means that any inhabitant of Otto no school zone feature can perform more and thus less likely students are. Moreover, the disappearance of the public school prematurely. Concrete plans for a reformed school in Ottoland are currently not.

Hoe ging het verder:

The people behind the petition to preserve public education in Ottoland were still appeal against the decision of the city council to raise the public school. But the Council of State swept the objections in November 1933 table. The disappearance of the public school had thus become final.

In 1934 there were also reformed members of the school board of the Reformed school Damme. This was also at the administrative level, the extended school fight past.

The communist newspaper Tribune, The precursor of Truth, made in November 1934 a large number of the disappearance of public schools, including those in Ottoland. 'Unsustainable states', headlined the newspaper. In 1934 There bleaching 238 public schools with too few pupils 146 be raised by the Ministry. The newspaper notes that the closures mean that children have to go to another place for public education:

"In the event of a distance greater than 5 kilometer drive there school buses] Children may then morning at one o'clock 8 in a school steps and come as the timetable 's public means of transport makes possible, at least in the evening for an hour or 5 return to 's point of exit. But they are often not home yet! In some cases, the children of the main road to unfinished 1, 2, 3 km walk along country paths or dirt roads, So in the winter in dark road, and returned home as the evening's been cases. If the distance is less than 5 km, then 't is often worse for the little ones. They run must and t country 's rapidly increasing traffic on the roads are' dangerous, especially for young children and in semidarkness. Unguarded should consider sometimes passed! We take blame the parents, they dread all?” (Tribune (8-11-1934) p. 8)

The old Reformed school Ottoland was 1937 replaced by a new building on the B 115. However, the school still.


  • J. Rees (and the.), Unity and division. Historical sketches of Molenaarsgraaf and Fire District (Molenaarsgraaf 1994)
  • Verrips, And above the polder sky. An anthropological study of a Dutch village 1850-1971 (Groningen 1981)

Author: Dr. A.P.B. van Meeteren

published: 01-10-2018

story number: 27

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