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“Education is the kindling of a flame, 
not the filling of a vessel”


"De Vrije Ruimte" is Dutch for "open/free space"

Our school, De Vrije Ruimte (DVR), is a
Democratic, Sociocratic school
for students between 4 and 22 years old
in The Hague, The Netherlands


Responsibility for their own development

DVR students can choose which lessons they want to attend and when to take exams.

They are actively involved in shaping the lessons and activities.

Everybody follows his/her own learning path

Understanding Motivation

DVR students learn to find their own motivation.

The teachers support, challenge, and inspire them in this process.

In this way, they become more autonomous adults.

Confidence while learning

Because there is no obligatory testing, comparison, or competition, DVR students stay more confident during their learning process.

Effective and Inspiring Lessons

For the teachers themselves, it is so much more rewarding to teach students who have chosen their lesson.

Since DVR students have lots of time for free play, rest, and physically movemenT, their minds are more fresh and focused to learn more efficiently.

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Every voice counts, students and staff are equal with each other.

Students learn from a very young age to solve problems in a very creative way taking into account everybody’s needs including their own.


DVR is a Community

De Vrije Ruimte feels like a big family. As everybody is equal students have a great sense of belonging to a community and care for each other.

My freedom ends when yours begins

Because students have so much freedom they develop a great deal of responsibility and they become aware of other people’s boundaries as well as their own.

Partnership as opposed to Power

In DVR nobody has power over another.

This promotes connection, cooperation and nurturing.

Everybody can be as they are

The students’ sense of self and personality is fully respected. At De Vrije Ruimte one witnesses how a good sense of self is crucial to learning and achieving what one wants in life.

Age-Mixed Environment

An age-mixed school environment promotes nurturance and prevents bullying. Thus, children are also interested in learning from other children, as well as from adults.

Autonomy as the Key to Balance

As the DVR students are not forced to do anything, each one can stay in-tune with their own needs (of physically moving, resting, having time alone, etc).

Listening to their own needs makes them be more balanced and stay more compassionate and joyful throughout the day.



Our world is changing so fast, information is easily accessible and routine tasks are in the process of becoming automated. “What we need is people who think critically, creatively, innovatively, who ask and answer questions that nobody else has thought of, and bring moral values and a passionate sense of purpose into the workplace”, Peter Gray.

As the voice of everyone matters since a very early age, at De Vrije Ruimte students become collaborative problem-solvers, flexible thinkers and change-makers, with a strong sense of community and responsibility for the environment in which they live. 


Safety - Diversity - Wonder - Self-confidence - Passion - Freedom 

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