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Discovering the Dutch: Dutch Culture and Society

Organizing institution
Utrecht University, Faculty of Humanities (UU)
Course code
Course fee (incl. housing)
€ 1895
Bachelor level

This special track will explore the question of Dutch identity by placing the history of the Netherlands and Dutch art in a wider European and transatlantic perspective. Students will be introduced to the rich cultural traditions that the Netherlands developed from the Dutch Golden Age to the present day in such artistic fields as painting, literature, poetry and filmmaking. Students will also analyse internationally debated issues in Dutch society in the past and present. These include traditions of literacy, cosmopolitanism, and tolerance as well as more practical issues such as euthanasia and the internationally well-known drugs policy.

A special track consists out of a number of courses, which have been successfully combined in the past. Registering for a special track is more convenient than for each course separately and it also often results to substantial discount.

Every week will be devoted to a specific theme:

Theme 1: Dutch Identity and History
Lectures will discuss distinctive periods in Dutch history such as the productive Golden Age of the 17th Century. You will explore Dutch traditions of literacy, cosmopolitanism, tolerance and accommodation, and the challenges it met during periods of war and upheaval.

Theme 2: History of Art, Literature and Learning
Within the historical context of the preceding week, students will be introduced to the cultural expressions and traditions that support the Dutch in their claim to international fame as a cultural nation. Lectures will discuss Dutch architecture, literature, academic learning and famous painters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh and Mondrian.

Theme 3: Society
Lectures discuss the most characteristic institutions and arrangements of Dutch society such as the welfare state. Since the Dutch live in a small geographical space, environmental planning and engineering always have been of vital importance to them. You will learn about the real role of the windmills, but also about other factors that contributed to the economical success and international orientation of the Netherlands.

Theme 4: Contemporary Issues
The last week of this course explores public debates in Dutch society at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Topics discussed are religious diversity and secularization, immigration and integration, permissiveness and Dutch law in action and the traditions of cooperation and international law reflected in the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court.

More information...

Location first day July 17th.

Drift 25 3512 BR Utrecht


Room number D25 003

Welcome and Introduction to the Course starts at 10.00am

Tags: national identity, the netherlands, religion, immigration multiculturalism, tolerance, discovering the dutch, dutch art, populism, coalition government

» Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

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dr. Jaap Verheul


The programme is open for students from all disciplines, although the course will focus on the humanities and social sciences.


This special track introduces participants to the history, society and culture of the Netherlands. By studying Dutch society 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.


A minimum of:
14 Lectures (120 minutes)
8 (seminars 90 minutes)
2 day excursions
2 exams
1 Certificate ceremony


• € 1895 - Course + course materials + housing
• € 1245 - Course + course materials


» Overview of all available discounts


Utrecht Summer School doesn't offer scholarships for this course.


Utrecht Summer School
+31 30 253 4400

» Contact Utrecht Summer School


Deadline for registration: 30 June 2017

Application closed