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Netherlands - Educational structureEducational Structures in The Netherlands

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The Netherlands doesn’t have a central organization for permaculture or permaculture education. There are individual permaculture teachers and several schools that provide permaculture courses and PDC’s. There is no dutch diploma pathway,  a group of teachers has started to develop this for the Netherlands and Belgium. A teachers training college is being founded. Exchange of information is done through large scale social media. (read more)

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Educational Structures in The Netherlands 2012

Permacultuurschool Nederland

The largest permaculture school, in terms of number of graduates is the Permacultuurschool Nederland, founded by Taco Blom and Ishy Crosby. It is located in Utrecht and Kasteel Nieuwenhoven in Sint Truiden, Belgium (run by Taco Blom). It is formally run by Cooperatie voor Permacultuur, with the Permacultuurschool Nederlands as its only member.

Permacultuur Academie Zutphen / Atelier Aardwerk

A recent development is the Permacultuur Academie Zutphen (PAZ), founded by Mirjam Olsthoorn and Pedro Duarte. Atelier Aardwerk (Leo Bakx) is developing a permaculture teachers college in association with PAZ, supported by Fontys Lerarenopleiding Tilburg.

A preliminary prospectus and year plan for Atelier Aardwerk Teachers Training College:

PAZ offers full-time and part-time vocational permaculture education, in cooperation with established institutes. Negotiations are ongoing.

Atelier Aardwerk announced to start full-time, part-time and possibly online (MOOC) courses from April 2014.

The PAZ/AA initiative is supported by national and international experts in permaculture, teaching, life and design sciences.

Diploma Pathway

The idea to create a Dutch diploma pathway was born out of the meetings of the EPT in Escherode and Slovenia in 2012. Irma Abelskamp, Leo Bakx, Leo de Groot and Monique Wijn took the initiative. Setup of the Dutch diploma pathway is supported by the UK Permaculture Association.


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UPDATE on Educational Structures in the Netherlands 2014

Based on interviews with Leo Bakx and Monique Wijn 28th – 30th of June 2014. Written by Tanja Korvenmaa.

The interest towards permaculture is growing

The interest towards Permaculture in the area of the Netherlands has grown in particular through Transition Towns movement and Urban Farming movement. There is also new legislation coming into effect, forcing all government agencies, organisations and businesses to adopt sustainable development policies and practices. Number of “green” bachelor and master’s courses is rising quickly as universities compete for the favor of students (their main source of income).

Structures supporting permaculture education have started to change

The structures of permaculture education in the Netherlands have started to change over the two years of the EPT.

Since many years the need for an association was feld in the Dutch and Belgium permaculture field. Several attempts have been made to create a national organisation, but failed sofar.  A  survey was carried out in 2014  both in Belgium and in Netherlands, about the needs for a national organisation with a questionnaire to create a social map of designers and teachers.  This survey was filled in by over 100 people of which over 80 expressed their support for a national permaculture body. The results were presented at the Dutch-Belgium permaculturefestival at 4-6th of July 2014 in Belgium. The process of forming a national organization is held by several people and will continue.

Since 2012 a group of teachers and permaculturists are meeting on a regular base to create  a national diploma system. This are teachers both from the Netherlands and Belgium. These teachers are helping each other to develop curricula and exchange teaching material. For more information contact the facebook group.

Leo Bakx from Aardwerk has been planting  seeds for a full time 4-year vocational school for permaculture teachers, training complete school teams, based on lean start-up, cooperative, sociacratic models. Affiliating with national and European universities. Both facilitated through EPT network. This project is called the Aardwerk Academy.

He is also working with Steve Hart and Martina Petru on the Permaculture College of Europe, supporting standards dialogue, development and quality assurance.

Leo Bakx, what have you learned from the educational structures of other countries?

“There are problems with any system. The problems have many similarities are often related to personality issues with the people involved. Something in permaculture education doesn’t address the need for better skills in human communication and the pragmatic resolution of conflicts.

I’ve also learned that the standards and criteria in other countries are lacking in rigor and seem to encourage a softening of curricula and effective teaching methods. The curriculum in many countries lack in teaching design skills in favor of teaching appropriate technology, arts & crafts. Few countries have a curriculum standard for teaching teachers. These are all issues that the Aardwerk Academy is designed to address.”

“It feels like there are more teachers”

“The Netherlands does not have a compulsory register of teachers and courses, so there are no exact data on how many teachers and courses there are.

Several permaculturists have followed teachers trainings abroad, due to the partnership, specially the teachers trainings in Friland by Andy Goldring and by Rosemary Morrow in Spain.

The well known names like Taco Blom and Ishi Crosby of the Permacultuurschool Nederland are keeping a very low profile. Taco moved to Belgium a couple of years ago and Ishi retreated from teaching. PDC’s are given by Fransjan de Waard, Katherine Holm, Martijn Ballemans, Linder van den Heerik, Leo Bakx.

Because the Netherlands does not have a association yet, there is no data to measure the changes in the quality of teaching. Leo Baxt comments: “The gut feeling is that the quality of teaching is based on experience alone and more and more inexperienced teacher are coming on-line, while the quality of teaching is going down accordingly. You could say that the quality of teaching is going down due to the lack of changes in the structure ;-).”

Self organised learning and teaching  in the Netherlands

Although there is no central organisation, there is a lot of exchange in the Netherlands between permaculturists and  permaculture teachers. This is done mostly by online networks as google docs and facebook. Facebook pages like https://www.facebook.com/groups/permacultuur (4874 subscribers) https://www.facebook.com/groups/praktische.permacultuur (1944 subscribers) are very actively used to exchange knowledge and skills.


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