Geographic location, contact details and history


Site location: 

Venetiestraat 43,   
5632 RM Eindhoven, 
The Netherlands. 


Postal address:

P.O. Box 1310,
5602 BH Eindhoven,
The Netherlands.


The History of the ISSE

by Mr Zey and updated in January 2010

International education in Eindhoven dates back to 1965 with the founding of the Philips International School. This was a primary, or elementary school with four departments: English, Dutch, French and German. As the name suggests, it was funded and built by NV Philips for the children of its internationally mobile parents. In practice, this primary school was open to all children, irrespective of nationality, religion or parental employer. After a few years, the name of the school was changed to Regional International School (RIS), to reflect the school's broader pupil base.

vdPutt basement circa 1978

As the RIS matured, it produced graduates, who had a difficult choice: return to home country for high school education, or go to a national secondary school, switching medium of instruction to Dutch in the process.

Inevitably, the dominant company, NV Philips, looked for a solution. Rather than extending the RIS, it chose to go into partnership with a large national high school, called the van der Puttlyceum, in Woensel, Eindhoven.

v d Putt singers circa 1982

The task of setting up this partnership was given to Leo P. Smit, head of the Philips Social Department with special responsibility for international staff. Leo Smit was an Anglophile with contacts in Britain. One of these contacts was Alma Stott, an education adviser in London, who specialized in the field of English and the Humanities.

Leo Smit negotiated with the head of van der Puttlyceum, Cees Berkhout, for a bi-lingual (English-Dutch) department within the van der Puttlyceum. In September 1974, the first pupils, or students were admitted into the "English Stream" of the van der Puttlyceum. Meanwhile, Alma Stott had recruited two pioneer teachers from Britain: Brian Morland, to teach English, History and Geography and Philip Hunt, to teach Mathematics and the Sciences. All other lessons, such as Music, PE, second languages and Art were taught in the medium of Dutch. The curriculum of the ES was based on the British model, with the GCE O-Level exams (in later years IGCSE), being taken in the final year of the five year school cycle.

Mr L P Smit at the 10th anniversary of the ISSE [1984]

As student numbers increased, the decision was taken during the course of the 1977 academic year, to teach all lessons in English. At this time, another education adviser, specializing in the sciences, Jim Ritchie, was approached to help out with the recruitment process of teachers. Thus, in September 1978, four more teachers were recruited. One of them, Leo Stijns, as Coordinator and teacher of English. Once a year, Alma Stott and Jim Ritchie would visit the school in order to ensure that educational standards remained high.

In September 1978, the first graduation ceremony was held for English Stream pupils.

On this occasion, the British ambassador to the Netherlands was invited as guest of honour.

As numbers grew in the ES, a search was started for a suitable pre-university course. The choice was between the British GCE A-Levels, or the Geneva based International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma examinations.

The IB was chosen, as it had a better international recognition, which in turn reflected the cosmopolitan student composition. Thanks to the efforts of Leo Stijns, the first IB lessons started in August 1982 and in the Summer of 1984, the students sat their first qualifying IB diploma examinations. On the occasion of the first IB graduation ceremony, Secretary of State Ginjaar-Maas was invited as a key-note speaker.

First IB diploma ceremony 1984. Left to right Ginjaar Maas (secretary of state), Harie Grielen (Rector),Rita Nevese' Castro (Graduate)and Leo Stijns (coordinator).

During the 1980s, the ES and IB departments grew. A bilingual secretary, Gertruud Smit, was appointed to deal with ES administration as student numbers reached 100. Delegations from Dutch schools from other parts of the Netherlands visited the van der Puttlyceum to learn about the "Internationaal Georinteerd Onderwijs". There was serious interest in setting up such schools in other parts of the Netherlands. Since then, seven schools adopted the Eindhoven model: Arnhem, the Hague, Groningen, Hilversum, Maastricht, Oestgeest and Rotterdam. As the last of the schools was established, Leo Smit founded a National Committee in order to coordinate the curriculum and strategies of the eight schools. To this day, the National Committee, represented by the heads of the schools, organizes in-service training workshops for the staff of the eight schools on an annual basis.

As English Stream student numbers reached 200 in 1986, overall numbers declined in the van der Puttlyceum. This led to conflict with respect to resources, as well as the desire of the redundant teachers from the national department to seek redeployment in the English Stream. The Parents Committee, NV Philips and the municipality of Eindhoven looked for a solution. The one chosen involved the transfer of the English Stream to the Gemeentelijke School Woensel (GSW) in Eindhoven. The English Stream was re-christened as the ISSE and ended up in superior accommodation, all by itself at the Jerusalemlaan. It felt like a new beginning. Once again, Leo Smit (now retired) came to the rescue of the ISSE, helping it convert the defunct "Social Academie" building on the Jerusalemlaan, into a modern high school, with labs, library, gymnasium, computer room and an auditorium. All this was accomplished during the summer of 1987. In September 1987, the ISSE personnel were ready for the challenges that increased autonomy presented. An interim management committee consisting of Jan Westerhout, Rector GSW, Leo Stijns, coordinator ISSE, Jan Koks and Stephan Zeytountsian was set up.


A Christmas party at Jerusalemlaan. Left to right Robert Keve, Leo Tsuneda and Huib Koopmans.

During 1987-88, a search was instigated for a successor to Leo Stijns, who after 10 years of service was approaching retirement. After a lengthy procedure, Peter Goosens, who previously was the IB coordinator at the International School of the Hague, was selected as the successor, who became known as Head of ISSE and Conrector within the GSW.

First ISSE computer lab, late 1987, official opening of the ISSE. In those days, the school computers were 64Kb BBCs.

During the early 1990s, when it became fashionable for schools form larger units, the GSW was involved in a merger with the Floor Evers school. From the union of the two schools emerged the Stedelijk (City) College Eindhoven (SCE). This merger had no effect on the ISSE, except to make the ISSE an even smaller unit in a larger school. While this was going on, the municipality of Eindhoven was reminding the ISSE community that the Jerusalemlaan site was not meant as a final destination for the ISSE, but an interim location. To make a long story short, the ISSE was physically transferred from the Jerusalemlaan during the 1996-97 year and re-located in a new building, next to the larger parent school at the Henegouwenlaan. During this time Jan Westerhout retired. His successor, Drs Meine Stoker was no longer called rector, but Chairman of the Central Management Team. This is because a new style of management became necessary as student numbers more than doubled, reaching 2500 (ISSE 250) with a 12 million euro annual budget.

In September 1998, Peter Goosens went to Canada on a year's leave of absence. Subsequently, he resigned in order to start a career over there. Graham Short was then appointed as acting head. However, in May 2000, he was was succeeded by David Garner, as official head of the ISSE. 

By the beginning of the 2000-2001 scholastic year, the ISSE had surpassed the 300th student number and the existing building was woefully inadequate to meet the required educational services. It was time for the ISSE to move to greener pastures. Messers Stoker and Garner's instigation of an intensive search for a bigger, better ISSE homeland bore fruit, and by the beginning of the summer of 2001, the ISSE was relocated at new premises on the Venetiëstraat 43, in Eindhoven. The new building is about 30% bigger than the previous one. This change has meant an enhancement of the autonomy and facilities of the school.

During the last decade, the ISSE phased out the IGCSE curriculum, replacing it with the IB Middle Years Programme (for the age-range 11 to 16). During this period, the school submitted itself to an accreditation process, which led to a crowning success in 2007, when the school became a CIS and NEASC accredited school.

With the growth of Eindhoven, the physical 'distance' between the ISSE and the primary school, RIS (Regional International School) appeared to be getting larger. As a result, there are firm plans now to build a joint ISSE-RIS school, which should be ready for use in 2012.

In August 2009, David Gatley succeeded David Garner (who resigned in July 2007) as the joint RIS-ISSE director, with the special responsibility of overseeing the emergence of a new entity, called the International School of Eindhoven (ISE). This is expected to become a reality in 2012. The new campus will be located on the Oirschotse-Dijk, formerly the Constant Rebeque Kazerne. At this point the RIS-ISSE merger would be complete and the new name of the school will simply be the ISE!

ISSE graduates have been admitted into leading universities, in Europe and beyond, reaching into careers of immense responsibility. Since 1990, there has been an ISSE alumni association, enabling alumni to keep in touch with one another as well as with the school.

At the present time, there are around fifty members of staff, with some who go back to the van der Puttlyceum days. Their names are listed below with year of appointment in brackets. Those alumni who graduated from the van der Puttlyceum should recognize these "old-timers".

As we look back with pride at the evolution of the ISSE, we must not forget that at the heart of the school are a dedicated bunch of teachers who have worked hard to maintain high standards, without compromising the care and friendliness that students and alumni fondly recall. Education support staff (secretaries, lab technicians, librarians and janitors), parents and students have all contributed to the success story of the ISSE. Being part of the ISSE community remains a challenging and fulfilling experience for all those involved within it.

IB diploma ceremony 1989 Jerusalemlaan. Left to right Jennifer Anderson, Peter Goosens and Birgit Ris (IB graduate).

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