Comenius College Profile

The Comenius College is a secondary school in Hilversum, offering the Dutch MAVO, HAVO and VWO programs to 1460 pupils. The school is ideally situated, surrounded by sport fields and woodland area but conveniently close to the center of town.

The entire school building has recently been renovated based upon our educational vision and our principles for creating an optimal and pleasant work and learning environment for our pupils and teachers. Our modern facilities offer challenging programs and catering to students aged twelve to nineteen.

The Comenius College provides its students with a modern science lab, language studios, a gym and state-of-the-art ICT facilities. Special attention within the curriculum is paid to the language departments, the science departments (WON-school, focusing on research and innovation in the science curriculum), sports (LOOT-school, offering special facilities to talented student-athletes enabling them to attend a regular secondary school) and the Arts.

Our school results exceed the national averages. In 2014 we received the title of Excellent School for our MAVO department along with outstanding results in our other educational programs.


To educate and inspire young people in an environment of respect and support, allowing our students to achieve their full potential and enter the form of higher education to which they aspire. We aim to enhance the learning experience of our pupils and teachers while at the same time fostering intercultural understanding and global citizenship.


We support the notable contribution to education by the eponymous John Amos Comenius and his influence on practical educational. He is also known as the father of modern education and one of the earliest instigators of universal education. We offer our students an extensive curriculum in all vocational fields and a wide variety of extracurricular activities in the fields of culture and arts, sports, business and science. We stimulate activities that are closely linked to local and (inter)national developments.

Our aim is to:

• Stimulate and nurture success to realise the full potential of our pupils and teachers.

• Promote equality and respect and embrace diversity.

• Attract international exchange students who culturally and academically enrich our school.

• Perform professional duties with professionalism and integrity.

• Establish effective and productive partnerships both locally and internationally.

Comenius College strives to help students prepare for their future career in a rapidly changing learning environment. To achieve these ends we have developed innovative programs aimed to help improve student’s 21st Century skills in the field of research and innovation. We conduct an integrated program in the field of research, both inside and outside the classroom. The use of ICT has an important role in our curriculum in combination with active forms of learning such as fieldwork, cooperative strategies and research projects.

A general introduction to the Dutch school system

Primary school:

For studnets four to twelve years of age. All schools are open to all children and no examination or selection procedures take place. In their final year, in 8th grade , pupils take the Cito test, testing their level of knowledge of the Dutch language, mathematic skills and global knowledge. It is scored on a scale of 500–550. This score, together with the teacher’s recommendation, determine the level of high school education suitable to the child.

High school:

Consists of four levels of which the VWO Gymnasium level is the most challenging:

-VMBO: 60% of the student population: more vocational based, four years of education

-HAVO: 30% of the student population, 5 years of education

-VWO Atheneum: 10% of the student population qualifies, only 6% succeeds, six years of education

-VWO Gymnasium: 10% qualifies, only 2 to 4 % succeeds. Ancient Greek and Latin make up for the difference with VWO, six years of education

The different levels of education in the Netherlands

The four levels differ in difficulty of the courses and requirements for graduation.

All courses taken at a VWO school are of the highest standard possible in the Netherlands, comparable to A level courses in the UK or AP courses in the USA (can be comparable to the first or second year of college). Only the best 10% of the students attend VWO programs. Only students with a VWO diploma are entitled to attend a Dutch university.

Dutch VWO students attend school 25 hours a week, 40 weeks a year. They are also expected to spend 15 hours a week on their homework. The great majority of the courses are academic. Therefore, Dutch students spent most of their time doing schoolwork, leaving little time for extracurricular activities.


All students who graduate from high school have a graduation list with the subjects they graduated in and the grades obtained for these subjects. This list is an important factor in the admission process of competitive Dutch universities.

To be able to graduate from high school, students sit examinations at the end of their senior year. The final grade is derived from both school administered examinations (SE) and state administered examinations (CE), both of which determine 50% of the final grade.

The state administered examinations are government controlled; they are the same for every student graduating from a certain level, such as VWO, regardless of the school one attends. Therefore, results of these examinations can be used to compare students from different schools and to compare the educational level of schools.

The other 50% of the grades shown on the graduation list are obtained through internal examinations throughout a student’s high school career. These examinations are different for every school, and the difficulty level and grading differ as well.

Some subjects have no CE examination and are only tested through internal exams. In VWO these subjects are: ANW (General Natural Sciences), CKV (Comparative Art), and Maatschappijleer (Social Sciences).

At the end of year 3, all students choose one (or a combination of two) profile(s), which comprises a selection of 10 to 14 subjects: some are general courses (compulsory for all, such as Dutch, English and Latin/Greek), others are compulsory within each profile, and finally, a few are optional courses.

The four profiles are:

-C&M (Cultuur en Maatschappij) – Humanities profile: a strong focus on languages and subjects such as History, Geography and Drama

-E&M (Economie en Maatschappij) - Economics profile: strong focus on Economics, Management and Organisation as well as History and Geography.

-N&G (Natuur & Gezondheid) – Health and Science: strong focus on Biology and Chemistry, but Physics is also compulsory

-N&T (Natuur & Techniek) - Science and Technology: demanding courses in Maths, Physics and Chemistry.

The grading system in the Netherlands differs from the British or American systems: the scale varies from 1 (very poor) to 10 (outstanding), where 6 (or 5,5) is the minimal pass-grade. The grading system is as follows:

 10  outstanding (top 0.5%)
 9  excellent (top 2%)
 8.5  excellent
 7.5 - 8.0   very good
 7  good
 5.5 - 6  pass/sufficient
 5  insufficient
 4  poor 
 1 - 3  very poor

A grade of 9 is awarded in some 2% of all cases, 10 is extremely rare (0.5%), as it implies perfection. An average grade of 8 is considered excellent.

According to Nuffic (Netherlands Organisation for International Co-operation in Higher Education) the following conversion applies:

































Glossary of terms as listed on the diploma

Subjects taught in the upper three years

Algemene Natuurwetenschappen* General Sciences, including subjects outside the standard science curriculum: astronomy, quantum mechanics, alcohol, DNA and philosophy of science

Biologie Biology

Duitse Taal en Literatuur German Language and Literature

Engelse Taal en Literatuur* English Language and Literature including CAE-course

Filosofie Philosophy

Franse Taal en Literatuur French Language and Literature

Geschiedenis History

Klassieke Culturele Vorming* Introduction to Classical Culture (general subject)

Kunst (Muziek) Art (Music), theory and practice

Kunst (Drama) Art (Theatre)

Kunst (Algemeen) History of Arts

Latijnse Taal en Literatuur* Latin Language and Literature

Griekse Taal en Literatuur* Greek Language and Literature

Lichamelijke Opvoeding* Physical Education

Maatschappijleer* (Dutch) Civics (including Dutch politics)

Natuurkunde Physics

Nederlandse Taal en Literatuur* Dutch Language and Literature

Spaanse Taal en Literatuur Spanish Language and Literature

Scheikunde Chemistry

Wiskunde* Maths C: intermediate level

Maths A: upper intermediate/advanced level (incl. statistics)

Maths B: advanced level

Maths D: advanced level, special topics

* Compulsory subject for all students

SE Gem School Exam Average Grade

SE Def School Exam Final and Definite Grade

The final grades listed on the Gymnasium school diploma each consist of two marks: 50% SE (School Exam Final Grade) and 50% CE (Central/National Exam Final Grade). Each SE Grade is the sum of all School Exams taken in a particular subject during the upper three years of school, the majority of which are taken in fifth and sixth form. The Central (National) Exams are taken during two weeks in May in the final year. All the exam results are published by the middle of June; the graduation ceremony usually takes place at the beginning of July.


We offer no awards. National competitions are very rare and most high schools do not participate in them.

Comenius College | Bisonlaan 1 1217 GH Hilversum | tel: 035 - 621 57 51 | fax: 035 - 624 85 61 | ontwerp en realisatie SchoolMaster BV