Central and Eastern Europe, International Journalism and PR, Video

The biggest Dutch newspaper about mistakes in Dutch schoolbooks about Poland and other CEE countries

Today De Telegraaf, the biggest Dutch newspaper, published an article about the mistakes which appeared in a very popular Dutch School book Wijzer door De Wereld 7 published by Noordhoff Uitgevers. The mistakes have been discovered by Alexia Bruggeman, 10 years old, who came back home shocked and told her parents about the book.

( Read the article here: https://www.pressreader.com/netherlands/de-telegraaf/20161202/281732679100474 )

In the book Dutch children learn that Poland and other CEE countries were liberated  by Russia in 1945 and that they cooperated with Russia since then.

Additionally the book has forgotten to mention that Polish soldiers also fought for the freedom of the Netherlands, and more than 500 Polish soldiers  died while fighting for the Netherlands. Polish soldiers liberated for example Breda and Emmen and fought in other places in Gelderland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Groningen, among others in: Arnhem, Borger, Buinen, Hoogeveen and Meppel. Do not forget such names as Gen. Maczek or Gen. Sosabowski. Gen Sosabowski received the highest Dutch award: The Bronze Lion thanks to two distinguished Dutch politicians Frans Timmermans (PvdA) and Hans Van Baalen (VVD) who initiated the procedure in 2004 in the Dutch Parliament.

Last but not least Poland was portrayed as a very poor country located in Eastern Europe.

Alexia’s mother wrote an open letter where she presented the shocking mistakes. You can read the letter here: https://www.communications-unlimited.nl/i-am-shocked-i-am-shocked-because-you-teach-kids-in-the-netherlands-lies/ and the letter became viral.

Polish Public TV made a live interview about this subject: see more here: https://www.communications-unlimited.nl/no-to-lies-and-mistakes-in-schoolbooks/

and you can watch it direct here: http://halopolonia.tvp.pl/27333802/13102016-nauczanie-w-holandii-beata-bruggemansekowska

The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the Hague sent an official letter to the publisher and expressed their concern about the mistakes that children have to learn at school. The director of the publisher replied officially saying that the books for the children of this age must be simplified and therefore only the most known liberators of the Netherlands were mentioned in the book, and that the use of the words ”liberation” and ”cooperation” were not chosen correctly and that they did not intend to upset groups or individuals. The director also mentioned that they would use in the future the feedback provided while creating new content.

It is however surprising that the publisher kept on using the term Eastern Europe with regards to Poland and did not offer any excuses at all.

The book is one of the most popular history books at Dutch schools and has been used already for eight years.


We would like to thank  De Telegraaf, Embassy of the  Republic of Poland in the Hague and Polish Public TV, Halo Polonia for their support!


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Excerpts from the book:

wereld-wijzer-groep-7 wereld-wijzer-groep-7-1 halo-polonia-9 halo-polonia-8 halo-polonia-7 werel-wijzer-groep-7-2 halo-polonia-1