About us


DSDC was established in 1991 with the goal of representing the Netherlands at the esteemed World Schools Debating Championships. In its early stages, the organization operated on a modest scale, with debaters taking charge of their own travel arrangements and training. Later, in 2008, Ard van der Steur, the former minister of Security, and Jeanette Baljeu, a member of the South-Holland government, took on the responsibility of training the national debate selection. Following a yearly selection day, a team of five students was chosen to represent the Netherlands at the World Championship during the summer.

After this period of enthusiastic aspirational structure, many DSDC alumni, who had themselves represented the Netherlands at the World Championships, started professionalizing and expanding the foundation. Some of those alumni are Menno Schellekens (European Debate Champion 2012), Devin van den Berg (triple Dutch National Champion in debating) and Lisa Schallenberg (World Championship finalist 2019) Their contributions led to important improvements, such as transitioning from an annual selection day to a bi-yearly selection event that includes a pre-pre selection phase for the national debate team. Which allows students to develop themselves for a longer time prepatory to attending the World Championships. On top of that, they focused on developing teaching methods, such as making tailor-made homework assignments for students.

Thanks to the dedication and efforts of these accomplished alumni, the Dutch national debate selection has evolved into the organization it is today.

Our mission

The ultimate goal for DSDC is to proudly represent the Netherlands during the Annual World Schools Debating Championships. This is a prestigious tournament, attended by over 70 national teams annually. We want to provide students in the Netherlands with the opportunity to develop their public speaking and argumentation skills and the ability to learn from other debaters from all around the world. Aside from developing debate related skills, we believe in personalized and feedback structured learning. This allows students to work on their personal learning goals that often go beyond ‘debate skills’. To achieve this, we value a positive learning environment within the DSDC family where everyone is welcome and respected.

Our coaches

All DSDC coaches work for our foundation on voluntary basis. They conduct weekly trainings sessions on Saturdays for which they create a comprehensive training plan at the start of the semester. Additionally, all of our students have a personal mentor outside of their coaches who can advice them on questions such as how to efficiently plan your debating activities together with your school activities. We are extremely proud of our coaching team that manages to cultivate all of our students through their enthusiasm.