Students from the ages of eight to 18, together with staff members and VIPs, took to the stage to share their thoughts on some of the world’s current challenges at the British School in the Netherland’s (BSN) TEDx event on Monday 4th November. This prestigious occasion, with 17 speakers from across the school community and beyond, saw a day filled with thought-provoking speeches and creative workshops.

VIPs taking part included former Olympic downhill skier and World Cup silver medallist Konrad Bartelski, 11-year-old Lilly Platt, an environmental activist who spoke to us about how she is changing the world one piece of plastic at a time, and Albert Casals, a bestselling author who has travelled the world in a wheelchair since the age of 15. Ralph Groenheijde, founder of the local Non-Government Organisation, TrashUre Hunt, spoke about how we all have the power to make a difference and keep our environment litter-free.

The TEDxYouth event took place at the Senior School Voorschoten Campus, in the British School in the Netherlands, and was live-streamed to 2,300 students across five campuses, plus their families around the world. Standing on the fabled “TED Red Dot” provided a platform from which speakers could talk about an idea they were passionate about, in front of a live audience of approximately 100 students and VIP guests. All of the student and staff speakers had taken part in pitch nights and professional coach training sessions in the run up to the event.

In total six entertainment acts were interspersed throughout the programme. Keeping the event flowing were our four curated hosts, or ‘MCs’.

Paul Topping, Headteacher of Senior School Voorschoten, and member of the Executive Leadership Team at the British School in the Netherlands, explained the choice of theme: ‘Why breaking the mould? The essence of this event was about encouraging people to think beyond the present. Being a school, we know that we have within our student body the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. It seems entirely appropriate that we push the boundaries and invite speakers to tell us all about their ideas for the future.’

Konrad Bartelski, World Cup champion skier, and former BSN student, said after the event: ‘It was a real honour to take part in the brilliantly-executed TEDx day run by my former school. I spoke about “breaking the mould” amongst a group of hugely engaging and impressive speakers from 8 years up. I was blown away by the talent of the next generation and I leave feeling that the future looks good in their hands.’

As well as speeches, there was a series of interactive workshops open to students, led by external organisations, as well as stalls run by Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) students, who are studying within the school’s International Baccalaureate programme. With themes ranging from International Justice, Genetics, and Rewriting Folklore, to yoga sessions and insect tasting, the goal was to deliver a dynamic and exciting day that informed, inspired and unleashed new ideas.

There were also workshops planned at all of our five campuses, where students celebrated the event through their own ‘Breaking the Mould’ days, focussing on oracy and delving deeper into the themes of the day.

This year’s theme of “Breaking the Mould” followed on from the ideas explored during the 2017 TEDxYouth@BSN event “Big Bold World”, focussing on globalisation, the environment, sustainability, technology and education. The day was based on three sessions:

  1. Inspiration (If I could lead for a day)
  2. Identifying Issues (Tackling Tough Truths)
  3. Innovation (An Invitation for Change).


The event was supported by a range of partners, including MEB Rotterdam, TIP Presentation Agency, International Leadership Academy, TrasHure Hunt, Pint of Science, Museon, Dopper, I am Expat, Kapsenberg van Waesberge, ONE, Anti-Loneliness, Aven Kernow Stories Matter and Volunteer The Hague.

You can watch highlights of this year’s TEDxYouth event here.

About the British School in The Netherlands

The BSN now has three primary school campuses in The Hague, two secondary school campuses (in Voorschoten and Leidschenveen), and a Central Services campus in the centre of The Hague, which houses a Language Centre and International Leadership Academy.

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You can access a selection of photos from the event here.