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Culture and Society of the Netherlands: An Inside View


Admission requirements

Open to all international students.


When you choose to study in the Netherlands, this course will definitely be an enrichment of your Dutch experience. This series of lectures will give you a broad overview of Dutch history and contemporary society. Topics (among others): Dutch cities, history, geography, government and politics, economy, the people, the language, and art. A city trip and a film will also be part of the program. To stimulate students to see more of the Netherlands than just Leiden and Amsterdam, an individual fieldtrip to a Dutch town is part of the course. This assignment will be done in groups of four students and concluded with a vlog (10-15 minutes). You will share your video with the other students of the course on the digital platform Pitch2Peer and review the vlogs of others. This way you have the chance to discover a large part of the country in just a few weeks.
To extend your knowledge of the Dutch Culture, combine this course with another course: ‘Introduction to the History of the Netherlands’, (in the 2nd semester) or ‘Dutch Painting’ (in the 1st semester).

Course objectives

This course aims at giving a broad overview of today’s culture and society of the Netherlands, and its historical backgrounds.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures; Leiden University is doing its best to offer face-to-face teaching as soon as it is safe again, but if face-t0-face teaching in 2121 is not possible, this course will be offered online

  • Excursion

  • Literature study

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

City Report Vlog 30%
Participation 10%
Digital examination in the University Sport Centre, on class materials and required readings 60%
Students with a result lower than 5 for the exam, may resit the exam in


Students with a result for this exam lower than 5,5, may resit the exam in June.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Emmeline Besamusca en Jaap Verheul (eds.), Discovering the Dutch: On Culture and Society of the Netherlands. Amsterdam University Press, 2014.

  • Harry Mulisch: The Assault. Translated from the Dutch by Claire Nicolas White. Pantheon Books, New York. Also translated in many other languages.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in online

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Choose from the options below:

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


You can contact the lecturer Dr. J.E. Bosnak about the contents of the course, for other general and practical matters, turn to the student adviser, ms. I. Zagar and for administrative matters, for instance if you have problems with registering in usis, Reuvensplaats


Not applicable.