Netherlands, Amsterdam

Pre-university Honours Programme: Sustainable Cities

when 19 July 2020 - 30 July 2020
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 6 EC
fee EUR 1300

[Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this programme has been cancelled for summer 2020. If you are interested, please visit the programme website and send us an email. We will keep you posted about online alternatives, other developments and summer 2021].

This programme introduces high-school students to sustainability within urban studies, and more specifically, within the context of the cities in which we live. We live in a crucial moment when the transition to sustainability is more important than ever: we will delve into environment and economic sustainability, as well as investigate sustainable lifestyles in our complex and ever-growing cities, with examples from urban farming to behavioral psychology.

Sustainability means satisfying the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Young people today have grown up in a world where sustainability is one of the most pressing issues. But aside from its definition, what does it really mean, and how do we implement best practices in order to ensure a livable future for ourselves and the generations that will follow?

In an urban environment, sustainability is practiced and planned for in many ways. This programme will begin by framing the topic in the varied forms that it takes within a city. We will begin with the most pressing questions of environmental sustainability, and branch out from there to discuss social and economic sustainability more broadly, and investigate key developments in these fields. Amsterdam, and the Netherlands in general, is the perfect place to study this topic. Over the last decade, Amsterdam and other Dutch cities have been at the forefront of sustainable development in many fields. We will use Amsterdam as a living laboratory to delve into topics such as:

- Sustainability from the Dutch perspective: Water management, and planning for climate crisis. We will ask students to reflect on adaptation models for climate change, and discuss and share examples from their home contexts.
- Neighbourhood transformation: From gentrification and affordability to social sustainability and ageing populations, neighbourhood change is one of the most pressing topics in urban studies today.
- Sustainable lifestyles: How can we use not only clean technology, but also mobilize behavioural psychology to implement wide-spread change?
- Mobility: Amsterdam is often called the cycling capital of the world, and in general, mobility is an important topic for urban studies, from cycling to public transit and car-shares.
- Urban agriculture: We will make an excursion to Rotterdam to investigate ongoing urban agriculture projects, from rooftop farming to citizen-led initiatives.
- Waste management: Achieving a sustainable city also requires rethinking our waste-management systems.
- A new urban economy: (How) should an economic system be changed with sustainable principles in mind? Examples include commons, and sharing/circular economies.

Course leader

Daniel Bossuyt & Afra Foli

Target group

High School students (16+ at the start of the programme).

Course aim

This programme is designed for high school students to experience studying in a competitive, international environment at the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the University of Amsterdam. The lectures and all course materials are in English. Participants in the course will develop study skills and become acquainted with learning methods that will give them an advantage as they continue their education at University.

Credits info

6 EC
Official Certificate of Participation.

Fee info

EUR 1300: The tuition fee includes:
lunch on class days;
public transportation card;
welcome and farewell events;
excursions and site visits;
certificate of attendance.
EUR 400: Housing fee (optional).


Please see our website for scholarship opportunities.