‘School, waar?’: Een onderzoek naar de betekenis van het Nederlandse dovenonderwijs voor de Nederlandse dovengemeenschap, 1790-1990.

Corrie Tijsseling

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


This study investigates the cradle of the Dutch deaf community, that is: the education of the deaf as it was carried out in Dutch deaf institutes. The education of the deaf in the Netherlands was organised along religious boundaries, within the pillarized Dutch society. The focus of this study is the developmental history of ideas in the education of the deaf, understood as meaningful wholes of experiences, opinions and ideas regarding deaf people, their upbringing and their education. Three Dutch institutes for the deaf have been studied in this multiple case study: a non-denominational institute, a catholic institute and an orthodox-protestant institute. The reconstruction of the historical development of conceptions of deaf people is carried out on the basis of four themes, namely: the founding of the institutes, the position of the institutes regarding compulsory schooling for deaf children, the professionalization of the education of the deaf and the aftercare that the institutes offered their ex-pupils. The full studied period is 1790-1990: from the founding of the first deaf institute to the peak of the emancipation movement of the deaf community. The research method in this study is content analysis.

In the first theme, ‘founding’, it was found that the motivation of the founders of deaf institutes to start with the education of the deaf was consistent with their philosophy of life. For the theme ‘compulsory education’ it was found that the denominational institutes rejected compulsory education because of parental rights on freedom of religion and education, whereas the non-denominational institute advocated compulsory education for the deaf, because of their right on education. The third theme, ‘professionalization’, shows how the three institutes became united in their conceptions of language and thought of deaf people, and their choice for the use of spoken language in the education of the deaf. However, though the discourse was technological, the arguments pro and contra sign language can be traced back to values that were related to the religious foundations of the institutes. Finally, the theme, ‘aftercare’ shows that whereas the non-denominational and orthodox-protestant institute permitted ex-pupils to elude the influence of their former educational institute, the catholic institute held on to its religious authority. The conclusion of this study is that educational and pedagogical goals of Dutch deaf education can be traced back to the religious background of the institutes. The institute where a deaf person was educated continued to play a defining role in the lives of ex-pupils and in the structure of the deaf community that was organised along religious boundaries. Finally, the combination of the de-pillarization of Dutch society and changing conceptions of disabled people resulted in the emancipation of the deaf, expressed in their wish to be freed from the influence of the Dutch education of the deaf.
Original languageDutch
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Koops, Willem, Supervisor
  • van der Ploeg, P.A., Co-supervisor
Award date1 Dec 2014
Print ISBNs978-90-393-6241-9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Deaf
  • Dutch
  • education
  • philosophy
  • professionalization
  • religion
  • community
  • emancipation
  • care
  • power

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