ASH70: The beginnings of ASH
The American School of the Hague (ASH) began its journey 70 years ago. Since then, the school has continued to grow and evolve, welcoming more and more students from around the world each year.
While the school may look different than when it began, ASH has remained committed to providing a welcoming and vibrant learning community for students and families.
Below is a brief history of how the American School of The Hague transformed from a school of only nine pupils to a bustling community of more than 1000 students.
The American School
The first “American School” class was established to serve young children from the American Embassy in the Netherlands. Taught by Mrs. Weiland in 1951, it was made up of only nine students with ages ranging from six to twelve years old.
The class followed the American Calvert Method of Teaching. By mail, Mrs. Weiland received advice by the Calvert’s Department of Home Instruction on how to facilitate the courses being taught at four different levels. How times have changed!
After four years, the class grew in many areas: one full-time teacher became seven, nine students became seventy, and multiple classrooms spread amongst three different buildings in The Hague. In 1954, this American School served students in grades 1 through 8, with its home base at Parkweg 9 in The Hague.
TASOTIS - The American High School
The American High School began simultaneously in September 1953 in a space at the Haags Lyceum on Sophialaan 10. Seven students followed correspondence courses from the University of California at Berkeley, under the name “The American School”. In that same year, the Foundation International School was established to provide education for the children of international families living in The Hague.
In September 1954 a second teacher joined the “high school” staff. A handwritten roster of 21 students for 1955-1956 academic year lists three graduating seniors. Newspaper articles reported that the students went on to study at Wellesley College, Southern Methodist University, and University of London. Under its auspices, The Association of the International School-American High School Division, later to be called TASOTIS, in November 1954.
The American School of The Hague
Both schools – The American School and The American High School Division of TASOTIS – continued as separate organizations through the 1950s and 1960’s. By then, there were 5 different locations for American School and TASOTIS students spread across The Hague. However, the increasing number of American and other international families in The Hague area suggested a need for a larger, unified English-language American education school.
In 1973, the Parkweg American School and TASOTIS formally rechartered to become The American School of The Hague, which we know today as ASH. The students were spread among four, five, sometimes six buildings during any one school year, on the Rotterdamsestraat, the Haagsestraat, the Parkweg, the Doornstrat, the Duinstraat, and more than once in extra facilities in Wassenaar. Plans for a new building became a reality in the late 1980s, with the historic buildings unable to support the growth of the school population and academic courses
. Construction for a new consolidated campus in Wassenaar began on the Dutch-American Friendship Day, April 19th, 1989. The First Lady of the United States Mrs. Barbara Bush laid the cornerstone for the new campus in July of that year, and on October 9th, 1990, the new ASH campus was officially opened, dedicated by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands.
The dreams and enthusiasm of the previous years continue into the 21st century on this “new Wassenaar campus”, built upon former cow fields. The student population boomed, traditions took shape and student life grew, as the school enjoyed a sound reputation locally and globally. ASH began offering IB courses in 1995, alongside AP high school courses. In 2004, the school opened a new Elementary School wing, dedicated by Princess Margriet. Preschool became an academic offering in 2009.
In 2013, ASH further branches out with the opening of its state of the art Early Childhood Center on the Deijlerweg, allowing for movement and growth in the Middle and High schools ensuring the ongoing high quality of the ASH learning experience. And in 2022, ASH secured the purchase of the Deijerhoeve farmhouse land for future development of campus facilities.