Discovering the Dutch: Dutch Culture and Society - Track

Organizing institution
Utrecht University - Faculty of Humanities
Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
€ 1250
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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.

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.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Dr. Jaap Verheul

Target audience

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


€ 1250
Housing € 650 , through Utrecht Summer School

More information

Utrecht Summer School info@utrechtsummerschool.nl +31 30 253 4400


Application deadline: 15 June 2018