The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a private grant-making foundation. Our mission is to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances. We see this both as a valuable end in itself and as a long-term means to promote more cohesive, considerate and creative societies with equal opportunities and rights for all. 

Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation

I want to tell you something – messages from abused children 14-11-2013

By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 14 November 2013

The Dutch are very proud that, according to UNICEF’s research, children here are the happiest in the world. But averages hide extremes. Sadly, in the Netherlands, neglect and abuse are on the rise. The University of Leiden found in 2011 that one in 30 Dutch children suffer abuse.

Privacy is held dear in the Netherlands. Interfering in family life is frowned upon, and violence in children’s lives is almost a taboo discussion. So how could we, as a small foundation, try to prevent violence in children’s lives when an entire society appears unwilling to have the conversation? Read more...

BVLF supports joint initiative to save kids' brains in Brazil 12-11-2013

Grand Challenges Canada, Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation, Bernard van Leer Foundation and Grand Challenges Brazil Initiative of Brazil Ministry of Health join forces to save kids’ brains in Brazil

Toronto, Canada and São Paulo, Brazil - Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, and the Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation are announcing an agreement to support innovation in early child development in Brazil. This new partnership is in association with Grand Challenges Brazil, an initiative of the Brazil Ministry of Health. It is strengthened by the support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, an international pioneer for integrated innovations, addressing multiple aspects of young children's needs. Read more...

Please join us for an afternoon symposium on child abuse on November 20th 04-11-2013

Please join us for an afternoon symposium on the preventive approach to child abuse and early treatment of the effects of trauma on the psycho-social health of children and adults. The symposium will be on Wednesday November 20th (International Day of Children’s Rights), from 14.00 – 17.00 uur, at the ADO stadium in the Hague - organized by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, Municipality of The Hague and Stichting Geheim Geweld (Secret Violence Foundation).

During the symposium, several experts will discuss the relationship between psycho-social trauma and its effects on the physical health of children and adults .We would like to invite you to join us and discuss prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and domestic violence. The presentation and discussions will take place under the leadership of chairman and discussion leader Andre Rouvoet, President of Health Insurers Netherlands (Zorgverzekeraars Nederland) and former Minister for Youth and Family and Deputy Prime Minister.

Please check the invitation for more information (in Dutch), or visit the website

Het Klokhuis Wins 2 Prizes! 26-10-2013

We are proud to announce that Het Klokhuis has won the two most important children's TV prizes in the Netherlands for the special episodes on child abuse, supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation:

Het Klokhuis wins the Cinekid Golden Kinderkast Jury Prize and the Cinekid Children's Choice Award for best non fiction TV Programme of kids in 2013!

Congratulations everyone at Het Klokhuis and to the brave young people who shared their stories in the series.

Play is powerful 09-10-2013

By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 1 October 2013

If you observe young children you can see they are little scientists, exploring the world and trying out different things, breaking things and putting them back together. Or, at least, trying to – it turns out that an iPhone is tricky. Read more...

Early Childhood in Focus on The Right to Play 09-10-2013

Early Childhood in Focus 9 cover imageThe latest issue of Early Childhood in Focus is published to coincide with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's General Comment No. 17, which aims to strengthen implementation of children's right to rest, leisure, play and recreational activities (as set out in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).

The Right to Play explores issues such as the ways culture defines play in children's lives, the role of play within early childhood pedagogy, the function of play in supporting children's development, the pressures of early schooling and child work, and the implications of commercialisation and new technologies.

Published in collaboration with the Open University, Early Childhood in Focus accessibly reviews the best and most recent research, information and analysis on key policy issues, offering clear messages for advocates. Order a free printed copy, download the pdf or read online at

5 Reasons why Businesses are Investing in Young Children 01-10-2013

By Lisa Jordan, Executive Director, 1 October 2013

While attending ReadyNation’s 2013 National Business Leader Summit in Atlanta, at which senior business people voiced their support for more investment in the young children of the United States, I realised that there are essentially five reasons I hear from business leaders to explain why they have decided to invest in young children. Read more...

Stem op Het Klokhuis over kindermishandeling! 27-09-2013

Goed nieuws: Het Klokhuis over kindermishandeling is genomineerd voor een Cinekid Kinderkastprijs in de categorie non-fictie: dé prijs voor het beste Nederlandstalige televisieprogramma voor de jeugd. Gaat Het Klokhuis deze prijs daadwerkelijk in de wacht slepen? Dat bepaal jij! Breng nu je stem op: Je kunt stemmen tot en met woensdag 23 oktober 2013!

Kindermishandeling: je kunt er wat aan doen!

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