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Introduction to the History of the Netherlands


Admission requirements



The course covers the history of the Netherlands from the Middle Ages to the present. The main theme of this course is ‘Dutch and foreign’. What is the Dutch national identity? What foreign influences are present in Dutch history? What are the key issues in present-day multicultural Dutch society? Special attention is paid to the seventeenth century (The Golden Age), the creation of modern Dutch society during the nineteenth century, the Second World War (1940-1945) and modern Dutch politics: the political murders of Pim Fortuijn (2002) and Theo van Gogh (2004), the conflict of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and minister Rita Verdonk (the so-called ‘passport affair’, 2006) and the rise of Geert Wilders (2002-now).

Course objectives

The students will acquire knowledge of the outlines of Dutch history, its main events and development.


Wednesday 15.00-17.00.
Also consult the timetable of Dutch studies (available from June on)

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Written test with essay questions.


Yes, see Blackboard.

Reading list

P.J. Rietbergen: A Short History of the Netherlands. Amersfoort: Bekking & Blitz Uitgevers, 2008.


Via Usis&

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Dr. B.K. Ieven


This course is aimed at all international students except regular students of Dutch Studies. Students may extend their study load to 10 ec, please contact the teacher.