(The child with the top hat)



The story



In the Land of Esta a rumour is going on in the city of Pals. On the bridge across the Volderia-river there’s the statue of the Child with the top hat. When you’re not asleep by midnight, it was believed to come to life and take you with him to have exiting adventures. Three children decide one day to stay awake until midnight and the statue really comes to life and takes them with him to the Mysterious House. In a room they find lots of cloths to dress up and the children immediately want to do so, but the Child with the High Hat warns them: “Be aware, because you’ll become what you put on!”. When they have dressed up, they instantaneously are somewhere else and have exiting adventures.


Hilde Rozemarijn dresses up like a princess and arrives in the Royal palace during a Royal ball. She is sent away, because she stepped on the toes of the king during a dance. She has to go to her father, but in real life she hasn’t got a father at all! Jeroen puts on a pirates costume and opens his eyes on the ship “de ouwe Oen”. As a pirate he has exiting adventures both on land and at sea.

Deng Poe Ha puts on cooks clothes and is immediately a scullion in the kitchens of the Royal palace. He leaves the palace at the same time as Hilde Rozemarijn is sent away.

Eventually they all meet at the house of the father of Hilde Rozemarijn. And then they wake up in their own beds.




As more and more groups had age groups from both boys and girls from 7 to 10 years, Scouting Nederland decided to start a new age group, the Estas. They played in the Land of Esta from the story “Het Kind met de Hoge Hoed” (The Child with the High Hat) especially written for Scouting by Simone Schell. The story is also published as a normal children book.

The Land of Esta has, besides Pals and the sea, no map or predetermined towns, areas of cities, like Bambilië or the Jungle. This land is filled by your own imagination. The Land of Esta has its own secret language though.



Characteristics of the land of Esta



‘You’ll become whatever you put on” is the central theme at the Estas. No pretending: when you dress up, you’ll step into a different reality. At the Estas there are no special characters or places to do specific things. Everything depends on what you put on and where you’re going.


Opening en closing song


Wij als Esta's gaan op reis

Naar het verre Esta-land

Want wij missen voor geen prijs

Deze avontuurlijke reis

Geef je hand, Ga maar mee

Over land, Over zee

Blijf maar heel dicht bij elkaar

Want dan is er geen gevaar


Het is weer om, het is voorbij

We gaan nu in een lange rij

Stap voor stap naar huisje toe

Raar maar waar, we zijn nog niet moe

Zwaai je hand, Esta-land

Ik wil je zien en misschien

Volgend keer doe ik weer mee

Nu naar huis, dag land dag zee.





(English translation)



As Estas we travel along

To the far away Land of Esta

‘Cause we won’t miss a thing

Of this adventurous trip

Give your hand, go along

Over land, Over sea

Stick together very close

Then there will be no danger


Time has gone, it’s over now

We will return in a long long row

Step by step to our house

Weird but true, we aren’t tired

Wave your hand, Esta-land

I want to see, and maybe

Next time I’ll be back again

Now back home, bye land, bye sea


Law en promise


The law:

An Esta plays together with others in the Land of Esta.

He or she is honest, friendly, maintains and takes care of nature.


The promise:

I promise to do my best (with the aid of God) to be a good Esta, to help everyone where I can and to follow the Law of Esta. You can count on me.





The Estas wore a green blouse and a green cap. This wasn’t an ordinary cap, but a flap with some kind of triangle cloth attached to it. You could wear this cap with cloth like an ordinary cap, but you could also roll the cloth to a band around your head, with the flap on the front off course. The age group sign was a round badge with on it a picture of the Child with the High Hat and under it Scouting. The subgroup signs were square badges with a feather on it like those on the hat of the Child with the High Hat. These signs were in 6 different colors.



Other information


The entire Group of estas was called an estar and the subgroups were called stellen. The leader of a stel was called a steller. Names of leaders were formed by a part of their own name and a part of the word ‘esta’.




Merit badges were dark green triangles with a red banner with in it a picture in three colors (red, yellow and blue) that had something to do with the skill.

There were also special cards for installation or crossing over. They were in A-5 format with on every card a different picture and text relating to the installation or crossing over. There was also a postcard with Scouty on it, the mascot of Scouting Nederland.

This age group was officially stopped in 2010 when Scouting Nederland reviewed their age groups in the context of 100 years Scouting in the Netherlands.


The museum is always interested in "old" Dutch scouting stuff.
Are you considering removing your old stuff, please contact us.