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Dutch Culture: Society and Current Issues

Organizing institution
Utrecht University, Faculty of Humanities (UU)
Course code
Course fee (incl. housing)
€ 1075
Bachelor level

This course will explore the question of Dutch culture and identity by focussing on both its society and its present-day and future issues and placing them in a global perspective. You will learn about typically Dutch characteristics as the poldermodel, mobile flood barriers and windmills and you will be taught by prominent Utrecht lecturers on subjects such as Dutch economy, religious diversity, (im)migration and secularization. An excursion is included in which we will take you, among others, to The Hague to visit the Binnenhof; the square that forms the very heart of Dutch government.

To offer you a clear cut programme, this course will be devoted to two specific themes:
Theme 1: Society
During the course lecturers will discuss the most characteristic institutions and arrangements of Dutch society such as the welfare state and the polder model. Since the Dutch live in a small geographical space, environmental planning and engineering always have been of vital importance to them. Also water management is a crucial feature of Dutch planning. 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 2: 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 Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court.

You will experience various lectures and seminar groups during which you are expected to participate in discussions on Dutch society and to work on assignments.

This course includes a full day excursion to The Hague, including a visit amongst others to the Dutch Parliamentary building (Binnenhof).

Tags: national identity, culture, religion, immigration, multiculturalism, tolerance, polder model, populism, coalition government, water management

» 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 course 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:
7 lectures: 120 minutes
4 seminars: 90 minutes
1 day excursion
1 exam
1 certificate ceremony


• € 1075 - Course + course materials + housing
• € 725 - 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: 01 July 2017

Application closed