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Introduction to Dutch Studies


Admission requirements

This course is open to all foreign students. It is compulsory for students in the BA programme Dutch Studies.


Language acquisition is one of the main objectives in the first year of the Dutch Studies curriculum. However, learning a language is far more interesting when you study the culture in the same time. The Department of Dutch Studies uses a broad definition of the notion ‘Culture’, and therefore a wide range of subjects are studied in our BA-program: linguistics, literature and (art) history.
This course aims at giving a first introduction to Dutch culture and society. It also offers a first taste of what it is like to study Dutch Studies. Many different subjects will pass in review: Geography – History – Population – Economics – the Multi-Cultural Society – the History of Dutch Language – Dutch as a World Language – Second Language Research – Dutch Literature.
To stimulate students to see more of the Netherlands than just Leiden and Amsterdam, an individual fieldtrip, rounded off with a City Report (2000 words), is part of the course.
Total Study load is 140 hours:

  • 25 class meeting (incl. test)

  • 35 class preparation

  • 25 individual field trip and city report

  • 55 preparation for the test

Exchange students or Study Abroad Students may extend their study load to 10 ec by reading an additional reading list on one of the following subjects: ‘The Dutch Golden Age and its Paintings’ or ‘The Second World War in Dutch Literature’. This option is not open to BA students of Dutch Studies.

Course objectives

After this course, students

  • have basic knowledge of various topics of Dutch Culture and Society

  • have a first impression of the field of research of Dutch Language and Literature

  • have basic knowledge of the city they visit for their City Report

  • are able to write a report


Friday from 11:00 till 13:00 hrs. Consult the timetable of the Dutch Studies Department. (available from June on)

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

City Report 25% (15% if you take this course for 10 ec).
Written test with essay questions 75%.
For the additional Reading List: written open book test. with 3 or 4 longer essay questions.


Blackboard is used in this course to:

  • give general and detailed information on the course

  • put course materials at student’s disposal

  • give sample questions for the test

  • communicate with students if necessary

Please enroll in Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Reader Introduction to Dutch Studies available via
    Slides will be available on Blackboard after each lecture

  • Harry Mulisch, The Assault (novel, translated in many languages).

Additional reading list for students who wish to take this course for 10 ec (this option is not open for students in the BA program Dutch Studies):
1 – The Golden Age and its Paintings

Maarten Prak, The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century: A Golden Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Mariët Westermann, The Art of the Dutch Republic, 1585-1718. London, The Everyman Art Library, 1996.

Klaske Muizelaar and Derek Phillips, Inside the Homes of the Wealthy: The Conditions for Viewing Paintings’ and ‘Christ, the Virgin Mary, Venus, and other Religious and Mythological Figures’. Chapters 2 and 4 from: Picturing Men and Women in the Dutch Golden Age, Paintings and People in Historical Perspective. Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2003. p.37-63 and p.87-112.

Julie Berger Hochstrasser, ‘Domestic Commodities’. Chapter 2 from: Still Life and Trade in the Dutch Golden Age. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007. p.23-59.

2 – World War II in Dutch Literature

Background from Wikipedia: History of the Netherlands (1939–1945) History of the Jews in the Netherlands (parts on the shoah) Dutch Resistance Japanese occupation of Indonesia
Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place (1974)

Marga Minco, Bitter Herbs (1957)
W.F.Hermans, The Darkroom of Damocles ( 1958) (use the translation of 2007)
Jona Oberski, A Childhood (1978)
Jeroen Brouwers, Sunken Red (1981)
Harry Mulisch, The Assault (1982)


Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions or problems, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272233 or mail:

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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


Secretary’s office Dutch Studies, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272233; mail:
Student advisor: Mw. I. Zagar, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 305B; mail: