Utrecht, Netherlands

Dutch Culture in a European Context

when 8 July 2024 - 16 August 2024
language English
duration 6 weeks
credits 12 EC
fee EUR 2250

This special track offers you the opportunity to study European and Dutch culture from one of the oldest and most beautiful cities of The Netherlands; the city of Utrecht. Excursions will take you from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the European Parliament in Brussels, to The Hague and Amsterdam where you will visit the seat of the Dutch government and study paintings by Rembrandt and Van Gogh up close.

During the first two weeks you will analyse Europe’s cultural pluralism and its varied identities that still exist today. The topics you will study will help you to understand the complicated structure of Europe. We will shed some light on the motives for integration as well as the obstacles on the way to European unity. Lectures will focus on the history, social and economic structures, culture, and current political and social debates within the wider European community. In light of these last topics you will go on a field trip to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the European Parliament in Brussels.

After the first two weeks you will focus more specifically on the Netherlands and Dutch identity. Each week will have its own theme, the first of which is Dutch identity and history. The lectures will give you insight in the distinctive historical periods of Dutch history. Topics that will be discussed include: development of the Netherlands during the Middle Ages, the Dutch religious landscape and the prints and cartography of the Dutch Golden Age.

The second theme focuses on the historical context of the preceding topics, and you will be introduced to the cultural expressions and traditions that support the Dutch in their claim to international fame as a cultural nation. During excursions you will visit some of the most world-renowned paintings by Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

You will then proceed with the third theme, society. Lecturers will discuss the most characteristic institutions and arrangements of Dutch society such as the welfare state and the polder model. You will learn about the real role of the windmills and about other factors that contributed to the economic success and international orientation of the Netherlands.

Finally, we will end with the theme ‘contemporary Issues’. This topic explores public debates in Dutch society at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Topics discussed are religious diversity and secularization, immigration and integration and Dutch traditions of cooperation reflected in the presence of the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. There will be a full day excursion to The Hague which includes a visit to the Dutch Parliamentary building (Binnenhof).

Together, these 6 weeks provide you with new and extensive insight into European and Dutch culture, from both inside and outside of the classroom!

Course leader


Target group

Students with interest in Dutch and European culture and history.

Course aim

This course introduces participants to the social and cultural aspects of the nations within the European Community. It goes deeper into Dutch culture and identity by introducing participants to its history, society, art and culture. By studying the development of a united europe and Dutch society, art and culture in an international context, you will be offered an incentive to reflect anew on your own culture and society in an international atmosphere.

Fee info

EUR 2250: Course + course materials
EUR 1250: Housing fee (optional)

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