School of Dutchness? Rijksmuseum visit to be compulsory

Photo: Rijksmuseum

The prospective cabinet wants to mandate school trips to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and parliament in The Hague at least once during pupils’ school careers, the Telegraaf reports.

According to the paper’s sources, the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, which are currently rounding off formation talks, have agreed to include the visits in a broad cultural package for schools.

The education package also includes the controversial CDA stipulation that children learn about the Wilhelmus Dutch national anthem. Schools should also spend extra teaching time on the constitution.

The cultural visits are apparently intended to teach children about Dutch identity in a positive way. Many schools already organise trips to parliament and various museums, the Telegraaf writes, but the agreement would make them part of the official curriculum.

Not compulsory?

However, AD sources say the visits are ‘importants but not compulsory’, as this would require a change of policy and imply sanctions.

Meanwhile the organisation of primary schools PO Raad wondered who would shoulder the cost for the trips should they become part of the curriculum.

‘If a school from as far away as Zuid Limburg had to make sure all pupils make the trip to Amsterdam and it had to pay for it, the new cabinet would be playing Sinterklaas with money from the schools,’ a PO Raad spokesperson told the paper.

In a reaction, Rijkmuseum Taco Dibbits said he would welcome the pupils ‘with open arms’. ‘Every child has a right to experience art and in the Netherlands art education is neglected. As its an important part of civilisation that’s a great shame,’ the AD quotes him as saying.