About us

We are Bulgarians who live in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is а wonderful place we have chosen to live in – a welcoming city for people of many backgrounds, with many different stories – and our story is a little part of that colorful community. Bulgaria, on the other hand, is the homeplace of our parents, Bulgaria is the place, the language, the stories, the food, the memory, the sense…we cannot separate from who we are. We think it is important for our kids to learn the Bulgarian language and be connected with Bulgarian culture not only for the obvious reasons. Not just because of the summer holidays, or because of their Bulgarian grandparents, or for making ourselves easier understood, not even only because mastering a language contributes to intelligence. We believe our language is the means for connecting with what belongs not only to us but to our children as well. And we don’t want to disown them from the essential, innate kernel that forms them – or simply from their roots. We know that the idea would sound more attractive to parents first, but as for the experience, we  make it enjoyable, fun and memorable for our students, who love coming to our classes and themselves participate in developing their Bulgarian School Amsterdam. We wish for Bulgarian School Amsterdam to become a center representing Bulgaria as we love and want it to be – unique, up-to-date, rooted in its cultural values and intriguing history, and belonging to the local international community.


Who we are


Iviana Panayotova

(founder of Bulgarian School Amsterdam)

I am a linguist and a teacher. Languages and literature have always been my closest to heart interests and were the focus of my education. I studied at Sofia University to become a philologist with pedagogical training and then continued for a Master degree in Brussels, and later received a second one from Bergen University, Norway. At Burgas Free University I received specialized education in a Bulgarian language course. I have been working as a teacher for more than 10 years. Bulgarian School Amsterdam is for me a place of joy and creativity. Developing a rich curriculum and teaching Bulgarian language and culture here, I am thrilled and inspired to achieve and share, to learn and grow, together with children and colleagues. Bulgarian School Amsterdam is the school I choose for my two sons, who already love it.

Maria Doncheva

(administrative director, teacher at Bulgarian School Amsterdam)

Hello, my name is Maria and I am very happy to be the one working with our little learners, aged 0 to 6.  Time spent with children is an inspiration and excitement for me. I love and often have the cane to enjoy children’s company, sharing with them all my positive energy and knowledge.

My love for Bulgarian language and my abilities to express myself well in wiring, brought me a number of acknowledgements in literature and philosophy already early in my life. I have a Bachelor degree in Philosophy from Sofia University. Philosophy actually chose me after I became a laureate  in philosophy in a national competition. My Master’s is in European Projects.

I love doing sports, dancing and healthy living. From just a hobby, this has now become a profession – I am also a professional sports instructor for children and adults. I am passionate about Bulgarian folk dances and culture. So, be prepared- there will surely be some active workshops and events this school year. 

In my free time, I read and travel, I collect rays of sun and sunny people, and I play with my daughter.

Petya Dimitrova

(teacher at Bulgarian School Amsterdam)

I consider my profession as my greatest passion. The feeling of working with children, helping and seeing the fruits of your work – this is priceless. Language is not just a means of communication, it is much more than that. I believe in the power of words and I am proud to help many children and adults to speak correctly, fluently and confidently.

I graduated from the Secondary School for European Languages “St. Constantine-Cyril the Philosopher” in the city of Ruse (the former Russian high school). I studied three languages – English, Russian and Spanish. During my studies in high school, I have attended many extracurricular activities, one of which is a theater school. My first great passion was the theater. I have also participated in European student exchange projects under the “Erasmus +” program, visiting two European countries – Italy and the Czech Republic. After my studies at the secondary school in Ruse, I continued my higher education in the maritime capital of Bulgaria – Varna, where I completed a bachelor’s degree in “Speech Therapy” at the Medical University – Varna “Prof. Dr. Paraskev Stoyanov”. The additional courses I have taken are: “The child and psychoanalysis”, with French teachers – Dr. Miriam Seger and Marie Christine Laznik, training in the application of NDT5.
(Test of neuropsychological development at age five). I have a publication in a Russian collection of a higher educational institution in the city of Tula, Russia (2019). on the topic “The necessity of
interaction between the family and the school in the education and socialization of children’.
I have experience with children between 3 and 7 years of age as a speech therapist in kindergartens during my university studies.

Galina Slavova

(teacher-assistant at Bulgarian School Amsterdam)

Hello! That’s me Galina Slavova.
A year ago, somewhat surprisingly, Iviana asked me to change my role from being a loud and enthusiastic parent to a loud and enthusiastic teacher/tutor/instructor, or just “kaka Galia”.
I love dancing, singing, storytelling and theater. I love swinging , laughing and playing around. I love being creative!
I find my natural inclination to present new ideas or play materials closely related to the principles of Montessori, and therefore with the methods of the Bulgarian School Amsterdam. I enjoy joining hands with kids and parents to turn our room (with the Maestro at the piano) into a scene of a memorable experience we co-create.
Come join us!

Dimitar Bodurov

(web support, pianist at Bulgarian School Amsterdam)

I am a jazz pianist, composer and producer of music. After more than 15 years in the Netherlands, my love for Bulgarian folklore still plays an essential role in my music.

Bulgarian School Amsterdam has become a “hub” for culture, friendships, professional and intriguing teaching, and lots of creativity. I like the fact that my sons will grow up in a multicultural environment and I am happy they will be able to use the Bulgarian language as their own, to know about Bulgarian folklore, history, traditions. That is why I think it is great I can support this wonderful initiative.

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