History (Eng version)

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 The origin, beginning and origin of Snoezelen!

Following various television broadcasts that I've seen over the past few years, and which suggested several times that Snoezelen originated at the Hartenberg Ede EEE I write about the real early days and the real origin of the Snoezelen.

Let me note here before I start to stress that I have lots about what happened at the Hartenberg relation to snoezelen. I also know that Ad Verheul and Jan Hulsegge when writing their book about Snoezelen (Snoezelen, a different world - Publisher Intro, Nijkerk) have tried to figure out where it was created. It was not easy for them to get information.

All of them became known, and I quote their book, is:
The name "Snoezelen" was invented by two boys who did their alternative service Haarendael institute in the relaxation department.

The first step towards Snoezelen is given by three institutes. The starter has been the institute Haarendael at Haaren.

In 1986 I joined the writers on the Heart Mountain EEE visited to explain.

I am not well informed about what happens after that time about snoezelen was published, but it seems that now, almost 30 years after the onset there is still uncertainty about the beginning of snoezelen.

The start

In 1973-1974 were the relaxation service (one person - Rein Staps) Huize Haarendael in Haaren (N.Br.) two draft dodgers (Klaas Schenk and myself) are added. We were occupied with all kinds of leisure activities. However, the severely subnormal pupils were often beaten by us about. From there the will to do something about it and my experience as a "creative" teacher (4 years) originated the idea? N for simple sensory activities. The name Snoezelen (snoeselen at first, with an s in the middle) suddenly. Together with Klaas, who also led the technical marvels we brainstormed on release. We wrote papers with possibilities, went shopping and conjured the auditorium to cuddle. After an experimental period snoezelen - because success - often offered as an activity. When our boss saw that he was such a success with it on the road - giving lectures at other institutions, relaxation and activation consultation. Unfortunately, while the slide show from this early period were lost. The s in the middle of snoezelen soon.


left to right: Niels Snoek, Rein Staps, Klaas Schenk

The next article will show how the more extensive in the beginning period of toeging.

At the request of Rein Staps I wrote this article for Samivox (5th annual no 6 - April 1975) published by the Foundation Samivox (it's the oldest published article about snoezelen) snoeseldays

Relaxation for the deeply disturbed at Haarendael.


At some point - early 1974 - we, recreation leaders, to the conclusion that we do very little specific relaxation for deeper impaired offered. She did go to the carnival, circus and movie outings, and they made it: in short, they took part in the 'normal' leisure activities, which are basically aimed at the better pupils. It was clear for a new activity to create? Run that was aimed at the idiotic person. After much thought and talking we reached the activity "snoeselen" come.


Purpose of snoeselen is deeply mental comfortable feel. Create a situation where he will become another form of being active, even though we are also satisfied if he enjoys passively.


To achieve the above goal, we are on a "perception": seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting.

The place where this perception takes the auditorium, which means soft lighting, music, objects, smell like a kind of dream world arises.

To create that dream world have to meet some conditions: very important is the creativity of the organizers - no less important are the means and above the funds available. Since last year no money in the budget was allocated snoeselen, there was a great call on our inventiveness, we had to do with what we had.

It seems almost impossible to describe this atmosphere - it's something you have to experience. But I want to try a few observations / snoeselen objects to describe the atmosphere a little imaginative to make.

The visual: first of all the twilight state of interest - then experimental films (including Norman McLaren), slides with areas of color and abstract compositions and vloeistofdia's turn - there is a box covered with aluminum foil and mirrors, on top a twist of light - there is a long light on the wall - we walk around with stars - a show box.

The auditory: several speakers are hanging mostly quiet music (sitar, gamelan, guitar), there's a big doll with a speaker inside, there is a chariot (in the form of a cube covered with thick foam with a tape recorder inside) you can be listening to while riding.

The tactile: In a corner is the ballonnenbed: a bed of about 2 by 4 meters with a raised edge of mattresses where all balloons are, there's a part where all hay is, there are a lot of balls on the ground, there is a wipbed, with an air compressor blow through your hair or your leg, you can swing in a hammock.

Smell: burning incense or perfume we spray with cans or we use cologne handkerchiefs.

Tests: In a corner a few tables with dishes on it with whipped cream, apple sauce, scones, onions, pickles, chips etc.

If you snoeselobjecten dealing with for some time, to prove the possibilities are endless and you always come up with something else. However, due to lack of time, money and most of the ideas remain undone. Yet from experience with a minimum of possibilities a real snoeselatmosphere arise. What is striking is that the children are very quiet during snoeselen and that you also are prone to speak softly.

In the auditorium more than 6 to 8 pupils with their leaders (st) and stay for about one hour. This means that we must snoeselen three days in a row (four groups per day) to each group a turn to come.

It is especially important to know that the children have nothing and everything is allowed.


The role of the leader during snoeselen should not be underestimated. Each time there with the leaders for a discussion and seeking their particular pointing out what they should do during snoeselen: as little as possible with the kids involved - they themselves let it go - or where necessary, protect , very well the behavior of the children watched - not ban - try to discover what a child really likes.


About once in three months, we recently organized snoeseldays. The experimental character is finished even though new ideas are developed. Also, the last time several snoeselactiviteiten brought to the wards (ballonnenbed, vloeistofdia, music). When we last January snoeseldays again organized, we have different boarding schools and institutions in the area are invited to watch. There was then very much interested and a few other houses are planning to organize snoeseldays.

At Haarendael we pessimistic concerning the progress of snoeselen due a reduction in staff at the recreation department

Finally, I would like to say that I am glad that it does snoezelen is successful,

- That not only with deeply insane, but also demented, toddlers,
           psychiatric patients and possibly many other groups snoezeld.

- That in many countries worldwide snoezeld

- That (scientific) research is done

- That books and papers are being written

- That courses are given

- That symposia be organized

- That the word dictionary is included in the Snoezelen

- That in many courses attention is paid

I am pleased that such a flight has taken snoezelen and I want all these people now and in the future contribute to the Snoezelen supply, and for their fellow man, wish good luck and have fun, Snoezelen is worth it!

All pictures  's to see the world's first cuddle (1973) or click photo

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">For more information send an email to Niels Snoek: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The original text of this article can be found on the Website of Niels Snoek:

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