The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Last updated 19/12/2023


Paperfolding in Education in Belgium 1852 to 1970

This page is being used to collect information about the history of paperfolding in Belgium between the death of Froebel in 1852 and 1970, however, it should not be considered as being a complete history of the subject between these dates. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.


1. The establishment of the first kindergartens

The Baroness von Marenholtz spent some of 1857 and most of 1858 in Belgium. She arrived in Brussels in December 1857, soon after the first kindergarten was opened there by a Mme Guillaume (who had trained in Hamburg). Shortly after this the Froebel method began to be used in other schools, with the encouragement of the Minister for Education.

in 1858 Baroness von Marenholtz's book 'Les Jardin's D'Enfants: Nouvelle Methode d'Education et d'Instruction de Frederic Froebel' was published in Brussels and Ostend. It contains nothing about paperfolding except this short passage (roughly translated): 'In another cupboard we see collections of geometrical or fancy figures, made by folding a square piece of paper. It is a progressive series of one hundred and twenty pieces. Each form emerges from the previous one. The various folds children make prepare them for the study of geometry and the hand achieves amazing dexterity', which is presumably a reference to Folds of Beauty.

1859 saw the publication of the 'Manuel pratique des jardins d'enfants de Frédéric Froebel', 'compose sur les documents Allemands' by J F Jacobs, and published in Brussells and Paris. The Baroness von Marenholtz provided a Preface but her biography (cited above) says that she was much more heavily involved than just that:

The contents of this book are discussed in a separate section below.

According to 'Manuel Theorique de la Reform Educative de Frederic Froebel' by Edward Raoux, the kindergartens open in Belgium by 1862 were:


2. The kindergarten after 1862


3. Paperfolding as manual work


4. Paperfolding as a means of teaching art


5. Paperfolding as a means of teaching design


6. Paperfolding as a means of teaching mathematics