top of page

Our 40-year History 

Kindergarten 1980

Kindergarten 1980, photo taken by Mr Rudolf Lietz

From the José Rizal School to Eurocampus Manila

On August 5 1980, the German school in Manila started into its first school year. Its name, "José Rizal School", had been proposed by one of the members of the board, Mr Rudolf Lietz, in memory of the national hero of the Philippines. Before starting the revolution in the Philippines, Rizal had studied ophthalmology in Heidelberg, and had fallen in love with the city where he wrote his nostalgic poem "A Las Flores de Heidelberg". The board had been elected by the German School Association, which started their work on 1st March 1980. The first initiative for the foundation goes back to a meeting of German parents in the German Club on 23rd October 1979.


Especially inspiring to the board was a passage from Rizal's famous novel "Noli me tangere", expressing the author's concept of school, and his admiration for German education: "School is the very basis of society....let us found a school those in Germany...."

The school was officially recognised as a German School abroad by German authorities in 1984 and since then receives official funding and support by the German government. 


"This project is without precedent, an exercise in diplomacy." (Philippine news article, 1 November 1992)

In 1992, the German School Manila acquired its international structure, which still forms its basis today. French, British, Dutch, Swiss and Germans came together, found a beautiful green area in Parañaque City, about 15 kilometres south of the old city centre Manila, and built what they called EUROCAMPUS. While the British left and the Dutch and Swiss gave up their separate presence in the campus, the strong French and German alliance still exists today. The French School (today the Lycée Français de Manille, LFM) and the German School have been living together at the EUROCAMPUS with approximately the same number of students (each about 370).

All over the world, there are only six French-German Eurocampus schools: in Dublin, Shanghai, Taipei, Toulouse and Zagreb; Manila belongs to this exclusive group of German schools abroad, having been the first Eurocampus school worldwide, setting the example for the others that followed.

The Franco-German cooperation reached a peak in 2002, when they united legally, forming the European International School Inc. (EIS), which legally runs both schools. 


The German European School Manila (GESM)

Like in GESM's model school, the German School in Singapore, in 2005 an international English-speaking branch was founded ("Euro-Section"). Accordingly, the name of the school was changed to "German European School Manila". The international branch, together with the presence of the French school at Eurocampus, makes GESM a truly German and international school in Manila.


In 2003, the IB department started with 5 students, 2 on the side of the German School, our French partner joined the IB programme with 3 students, but opted out again to follow the French baccalaureat 

Our students come from almost fifty different countries and also the teachers are mixed. ​​English, German, French, and Filipino are omnipresent on the campus at GESM, and also Spanish can be heard occasionally. Students and teachers alike are offered a uniquely international and cosmopolitan environment.



In 2013, the 20th anniversary of Eurocampus was celebrated. It was finally decided to remain on the location of the EUROCAMPUS for the future. That is why GESM was being renovated from the ground up in a joint modernisation programme with the French School, the so-called Master Plan. Additional buildings with modern classrooms for the growing number of students of GESM were inaugurated in 2014, equipped with state-of-the-art technology. An application for the DSD I exam was filed in 2013 and approved in 2014. The first exams took place in 2014 in grade 10.

Since September 2016, our students learn in modernised science rooms, the physics, chemistry and biology laboratories have been equipped by a German company specialising in science equipment.


In March 2017, a new building with three new classrooms as well as numerous administrative offices was put into operation.

Our vision of the future for the DESM is to preserve its character of personal warmth, mutual trust and confidence. Combined with its unique multicultural and multilingual atmosphere, ít will continue to be a school that strongly focuses on German language offering excellent education to tomorrow's global citizens. 

In 2017, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Eurocampus. This film of our French partner school's students shows how they feel about it.

2017 was also the year of our second BLI inspection. We received the results in 2018, being recognized again as an "excellent German School abroad".


In March 2018 we were handed over the official Seal of Excellence, signed by the then German Federal President, Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In 2019 DESM was officially recognized as a UNESCO school. This makes it part of a world-wide network of schools particularly committed to the UN targets of sustainability and global citizenship, as expressed in our school vision and mission.                                 

Heads of School at GSM/GESM​ and  milestones of school development since 1980


​1. Alexander Karamanlaki (1980/81 - 1982/83)  

  • 1980 Foundation of German School Manila José Rizal


2. Hermann Osewold (1983/84 - 1989/90)

  • 1985 First 10-graders leave school 

  • 1987 First 10-graders take final middle school exams 

3. Franz Janek (1990/91 - 1992/93)

  • 1992 Foundation of Eurocampus

4. Uwe Jens Gemba (1993/94 - 1998/99)

  • 1993 Support for German and Special Needs introduced (ZAP)

  • 1994 Pedagogical concept of Eurocampus

  • 1994 Organization of Eurocampus (Joint Committee) 

  • 1994 Introduction of Teacher Council

  • 1996 The Dutch leave the Campus, the British join

  • 1998 Joint School Conference

  • 1999 The British School leaves the Campus to BGC


5. Dietrich Schairer (1999/00 -  2004/05)

  • 2002 Foundation of EIS 2002

  • 2003 Introduction of IBDP

  • 2004 Accreditation of IBDP

  • 2004 Foundation of the International Section

6. Wolfgang Kollecker (2005/06 -  2010/11)

  • 2005 First IBDP generation gets their diploma: 5 students, 3 of them from GESM, 2 from LFM

  • 2008 School handbooks and basic rules and regulations, school logo 

  • 2008 Systematic filing order for all procedures and documents 

  • 2011 BLI 1.0, First Seal of Excellence 


7. Astrid Martínez López (2011/12 - 2014/15)

  • 2013 Masterplan to reconstruct and extend the school buildings

  • 2014 Interim Inspection ("Bilanzbesuch")

  • 2014/15 Introduction of DSD I

  • 2014/15 International Section fully established up to grade 10 (IGCSE)

  • First IGCSE exams spring 2015

  • 2015 Peer Review of DESM


8. Andreas Thiergen (2015/16 - 2017/18) 

  • 2016 Further extension and modernization of buildings and equipment 

  • 2017 BLI 2.0, Second Seal of Excellence

  • 2017 Foundation of the Senior Management Team (SMT) 

  • 2017/18 Renewal of School Strategy and Pedagogical Programme 

  • 2018 Introduction of DSD II 


9. Christoph-Boris Frank (2018/19 - present)

  • 2018 First DSD II exams 

  • 2018 Recognition of GESM as a UNESCO school 

  • 2019 Recognition as a CAMBRIDGE school 

  • 2019-21 Extension of GESM buildings

  • 2019-21 Restructuring of the International Branch 

  • 2021 Introduction of the IB Career-Related Programme

School Heads
bottom of page