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Dutch Studies

The Bachelor programme Dutch Studies is a three year programme for non-native speakers of Dutch with a special interest in the Dutch language, culture and society. Approximately one third of the programme is dedicated to language acquisition, the rest of the curriculum are introductory courses on Dutch linguistics, literature, history and art history. The language of instruction in the first term of the first year is English, from the second term of the first year on, the language of instruction is Dutch, except for the course Philosophy of Science.

The first and second year consist of compulsory courses. In the second term of the second year students chose their specialization: Culture or Linguistics. In the third year students have 30 EC of Elective Credits to spend on courses outside of the programme. There are different options to choose from: minor, internship or an individual selection of courses. Students also need to follow 3 in-depth subjects, depending on their specialization. Finally, they write a BA-thesis on a Dutch Studies topic, either about Dutch culture or language

Students who started the Dutch Studies programme before 2020-2021 could finish the programme ‘old style’ until September 1 2023.

First year

The first year of Dutch Studies consists mainly of language acquisition courses. In the first semester English is used as a language of instruction; in the second semester all courses, except Philosophy of Science, are in Dutch. Apart from Dutch language acquisition, the first year consists of courses of Dutch Painting, Culture and Society of the Netherlands: An Inside View, Dutch Debates, Introduction to the Dutch Linguistics, and Dutch Society Represented in Dutch Movies. This last course is an obligatory BSA course (please see the information on BSA online).

The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

During the first year the following activities are planned:

  • Introduction day, 4 hrs

  • introduction session about the Binding Study Advice (BSA), 2 hrs

  • introduction session about uSIs, Brightspace, website, online prospectus, 2 hrs

  • introduction session about the second term, 1 hour

  • introduction session about the second year and study plan, 2 hrs

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Eerste semester

Language Acquisition 15 ec: registration for all 4 activities is mandatory.

Beginners Course 1A - Language Acquisition I 0
Speaking/Listening1A, Language Acquisition I 5
Reading/Vocabulary 1A, Language Acquisition I 5
Writing/Grammar 1A, Language Acquisition I 5

Other courses 15 ec

Culture and society of the Netherlands: An inside view 5
Dutch Debates – Topical Questions in Dutch Society, Culture I 5
Dutch Painting 1400 – 1950: Introduction to the Art History of the Netherlands, Cultuurwetenschap I 5

Tweede semester

Core Curriculum: Philosophy of Science 5
The Netherlands in Dutch Feature Films, Cultuurwetenschap I 5
Inleiding Nederlandse taalkunde 5
Reading/Vocabulary 1B - Language Acquisition I 5
Writing/Grammar 1B - Language Acquisition I 5
Speaking/Listening 1B - Language Acquisition I 5

Second year

In the second year, in addition to language proficiency courses, students also take introductory courses in Dutch linguistics, literature and history. The courses Fifteen Centuries of Dutch and Introduction to Second Language Acquisition are also offered in this year. Almost all courses in the second year are compulsory. In the second semester, students have to make a choice between the specialization in Linguistics or Culture. Depending on their specialization, they choose between the Literary Theory course (Culture specialization) or the Digital Text and Data Analysis course.

My Timetable.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Verplichte vakken

Eerste semester

Second Language Acquisition: Introduction 5
Mondeling presenteren over taal, Taalvaardigheid II 5
Nederlandse geschiedenis 1: Van Prehistorie tot Patriottentijd 5
Nederlandse letterkunde 1: Van Middeleeuwen tot Verlichting, Cultuurwetenschap II 5
Stumbling Blocks in Dutch as a Second Language 5
Schrijven over cultuur, Taalvaardigheid II 5

Tweede semester

Analyse van poëzie en proza, Cultuurwetenschap II 5
Nederlandse geschiedenis 2: Van Napoleon tot Wilders, Cultuurwetenschap II 5
Nederlandse letterkunde 2: Van Romantiek tot heden, Cultuurwetenschap II 5
Schrijven over Taal, Taalvaardigheid II 5
Vijftien eeuwen Nederlands, Taalwetenschap II 5

Kies een van de twee vakken, afhankelijk van je specialisatie

Core Curriculum: Introduction to Literary Theory 5
Digital Text and Data Analysis 5

Third year

In the third year, students need to follow a required course Academic writing, and 3 in-depth modules, depending on their specialization. Students also have 30 EC of Elective Credits to spend on courses outside of the programme. There are different options to choose from: minor, internship or an individual selection of courses. In this last year students also write their bachelor thesis and follow a bachelor thesis seminar.

Students who started the Dutch Studies programme before 2020-2021 can finish the programme ‘old style’ with the specializations in Dutch literature, linguistics, history or art history until September 1 2023. From September 1 on, students can complete the studies according the new programme, with the accent on linguistic or culture.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Verplichte vakken

Eerste semester

Academic Writing 5


Specialisatie Taalkunde

Drie verdiepingsmodules Taalkunde, 2 in het eerste en 1 in het tweede semester: naast Language in the City moeten er nog twee vakken uit het aanbod van Taalwetenschap, Nederlandse taal en cultuur of Digital Humanities worden aangewezen.

Gebonden keuzevakken

Taal en communicatie 5
The Dutch language as a cognitive system 5
Sociolinguïstiek, straattaal, tussentaal, social media en meer 5
Syntax 1 5
Language Policy and Multilingualism 5
Oral Examination on the Departmental Reading List 5
Tweedetaalverwerving: Didactiek 5
Tweedetaalverwerving: Verdieping 5

Specialisatie Letterkunde

Specialisatie Letterkunde (Cultuur): drie verdiepingsmodules, 2 in het eerste en 1 in het tweede semester waarvan Benaderingen van de literatuur verplicht zijn. Verder kunnen studenten kiezen uit het aanbod van letterkundige werkgroepen van de opleiding Nederlandse taal en cultuur

Approaches to Literature 5

Gebonden keuzevakken

Echo, Influence or Plagiarism? Productive Reception in Dutch literature 5
Auteur en media 5
Contemporary novels 5

Bachelor Eindwerkstuk

BA-eindwerkstuk Nederlandkunde/Dutch Studies 10
Thesis seminar 0

Keuzeruimte bachelor

Keuzeruimte (Dutch Studies) 15

Non-curriculaire vakken

Tweedetaalverwerving: Didactiek 5
Tweedetaalverwerving: Verdieping 5

Discretionary Space

Due of the overlap with the courses in the regular BA-programme, the Discretionary Space course may be only followed extracurriculair by the regular Dutch Studies students.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Tweedetaalverwerving: Didactiek 5
Tweedetaalverwerving: Verdieping 5
Introduction to the History of the Netherlands 5

More info

Objectives Binding Study Advice (BSA): additional requirements Programme Follow-on master’s programme

Learning Objectives

The Dutch Studies programme trains non-native speakers of Dutch to become experts on the Netherlands and the Dutch language. Students acquire extended knowledge of the language and culture of the Netherlands. They also acquire the ability to tackle theoretical and practical problems in a manner consistent with the practice in this field of study. Most of all, students learn to independently reflect on the literature of the field.

Graduates have acquired a command of Dutch at C1 level for reading and listening skills. For spoken interaction, spoken production and writing, graduates have acquired a B2/C1 level or higher. For more information on these levels, see the descritpion online.

Achievement Levels

A. Knowledge and understanding
Students have:
a) knowledge and understanding of the content and scope of the discipline of Dutch language, culture and society, and thus:

  • of the systematics, foundation and historical development of the Dutch language;

  • of the main Dutch writers, works, genres and literary movements;

  • of the history and art history of the Netherlands;

  • of aspects of contemporary Dutch culture and society.
    b) knowledge and understanding of the key terms and most important instruments, research methods, techniques and theory that are used in the field of Dutch language and culture.
    c) further knowledge and insight into either Language or Culture:

  • knowledge and understanding of the key terms of Dutch syntax, phonology, morphology, semantics, sociolinguistics and the historical developments of Dutch. Culture:

  • knowledge and understanding of a representative body of literary authors, texts and genres and artistic movements from the Middle Ages to the present day and of the most important literary histories, theory and approaches in the field of Dutch Studies;

  • a global overview of the art history and history of the Netherlands.

B. Applying knowledge and understanding
Students have the ability:
a) to apply acquired knowledge and insights in the discipline of Dutch Language and Culture, and to construct arguments in this context, as well as to undertake problem-solving activities;
b) to use acquired knowledge and insights to form an opinion related to recent topics in the discipline of Dutch Language and Culture, while including relevant academic and, where applicable, social and ethical aspects;
c) to analyse and evaluate scholarly articles and book chapters and to report on this.
d) to apply the knowledge and understanding, either of the most important research questions, methods, theories and findings to the field of linguistics and second language acquisition, or by placing texts and other cultural artifacts, authors, genres and movements in a historical context.

C. Judgement
Students have the ability:
a) using the acquired knowledge and understanding, to independently form a well-reasoned opinion on a topic in the discipline of Dutch language, culture and society that they have not yet covered, including the reflection on relevant scientific and, if applicable, social and ethical issues.
b) to compose a relevant academic research question, either to analyse spoken and written language in a scholarly way, or to analyse and interpret a literary or cultural topic, and to report on this.

D. Communication
Students have the ability:
to explain the knowledge and insights acquired, in clear terms and supported by sound arguments, in a verbal and written report that meets the criteria set by the Dutch Studies discipline.

E. Learning Skills
Students have:
a) the ability to be self-critical, in particular the ability to put culturally instilled attitudes into perspective and to reflect on that;
b) the ability to work both individually and in a group on assignments (including peer-review), that is: to plan and work result-oriented;
c) the learning skills that are required to follow a relevant master’s programme.

**Reference Propedeuse Bachelor’s **

Skill Propaedeuse Bachelor
Listening B2 C1
Reading B2 C1
Spoken interaction B1 B2/C1
Spoken production B1 B2/C1
Writing B1 B2/C1

Furthermore, each Humanities programme at Leiden University trains the students in general academic skills formulated by the Faculty.

Binding Study Advice (BSA): additional requirements

Besides the general requirements students also have to complete the course Representation of the Netherlands in Dutch Feature Films to obtain the positive binding study advice.



The focus of the Bachelor’s programme in Dutch Studies lies on Dutch language and culture. The first (propedeuse) and the second year of the Bachelor’s programme consist of compulsory courses. English will be used as the language of instruction only in the first semester of the first year, except for the Philosophy of Science course held in the second term of the first year. In the third year, there is room for subsidiary subjects worth a total of 30 EC-credits, 15 EC-credits per semester.

First and second year

Teaching in the first two years concentrates on language acquisition: language acquisition courses represent half the credits in the first year and one third of the credits in the second year. In the first two years, special attention is also paid to the study of language from a scientific perspective. In addition, the first year includes courses like Dutch Debates, Dutch Painting and Dutch Culture and Society and Dutch Linguistics, while the second year includes introductions to Literature and History. There is also a course on prose and poetry analysis and on theory on second language acquisition. From the first year onwards, students are trained in research methods and techniques. In the second term of the second year students need to choose their specialization: culture or linguistics.

Third year

The third year consists of advanced language training. An important part of the third year is a minor and a specialization in-depth modules on culture (literature) and linguistics. Students are also required to write a Bachelor’s Thesis Dutch Studies worth 10 EC-credits and follow a Thesis seminar.

Discretionary space

In addition to the main subjects and in-depth specialization courses, the third year offers students room for subsidiary subjects worth 30 EC-credits. They can choose for a minor, internship or an individual selection of courses. Consult the general information on discretionary space.

Full time of part time

The bachelor programme Dutch Studies is offered as a full time study only.

BA Thesis and requirements for graduation

To graduate, you must have passed the programme of 180 EC, met the requirements for the elective credits and successfully completed your bachelor’s thesis.

The bachelor’s thesis is a paper worth 10 EC. The supervisor then helps you write a thesis proposal, which you submit to the Board of Examiners. The Board of Examiners uses the thesis application form to evaluate your proposal and appoints a second reader. Then you attend a compulsory thesis seminar. For more information, see the course description for the third year.

The regulations and important deadlines for the BA thesis can be found at:


Dutch Studies has no official specializations. Students can choose between the Linguistics or Culture track.

Programme specific regulation

Seminar/tutorial attendance is compulsory. You may miss a maximum of two of the 13 meetings per subject (if you have a valid reason and provided you notify the lecturer and the study coordinator before the seminar/tutorial that you will miss). If you have not prepared, do not participate and/or fail to bring the course material for a particular week, this may also count as absence.

If you miss more than two seminars, you must contact the study coordinator. If the study coordinator believes there are special circumstances, they may decide that the maximum two absences do not apply. The study coordinator will consult your lecturer(s) and inform you and your lecturer(s) of their decision.

Follow on master’s programme

The graduates of the bachelor programme Dutch Studies can continue their studies with the Masterprogramme Dutch Studies, specialisation Dutch Language, Culture and Society. Depending on the subjects chosen in their third year, they can also join the specialisation Dutch Modern Literature or Dutch Linguistics.
Bachelor graduates Dutch Studies can also chose to continue their studies at another master, e.g. Literary Studies or Linguistics, after completing a pre-master programme.

More information is available online.

Career Preparation

Career Preparation in Dutch Studies

The programme

The curriculum the Dutch Stuides programme is characterised by learning Dutch and deepening your knowledge on Dutch linguistics, literature, politics, history in particular and the Dutch culture and society in general.

How can you use this knowledge and the skills that you acquire? Which specialisation should you choose within your study programme and why? What skills do you already have, and what further skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you would like to do after graduation?

These questions and more will be discussed at various times during your study programme. You may already have spoken about them with your study coordinator, the Humanities Career Service or other students, or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’.


You will be notified via the Humanities website, your study programme website and email about further activities in the area of job market preparation. The following activities will help you to thoroughly explore your options, so we advise you to take careful note of them:

First year

Second year

Third year

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation and innovation; intrapersonal skills, such as flexibility, initiative, appreciating diversity and metacognition; and interpersonal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.

It is therefore important that during your study programme you not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also are aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the Prospectus of Dutch Studies programme include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.

The skills you may encounter in the various courses are:

  • Collaboration

  • Persuasion

  • Research

  • Self-directed learning

  • Creative thinking

Courses of Dutch Studies

Courses of the study programme obviously help to prepare you for the job market. As a study programme, we aim to cover this topic either directly or less directly in each semester. Within Dutch Studies, this takes place within the following courses:

First year

Second year

Third year


If you have any questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to make an appointment with the career adviser of the the Humanities Career Service 071-5272235, or with your study adviser.


These modules are only available for students from our partner universities: Nagasaki University, Beijing Foreign Studies University and Shanghai International Studies University with a specific agreement in the field of Dutch Studies. Other students won’t be admitted / taken into consideration.

if you have any questions, please refer to

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Exchange courses Dutch Studies 30 ec 30
Exchange courses Dutch Studies 60 ec 60

Set of electives for non-Dutch Studies students

This is a 30-ec set of electives for non-Dutch Studies students. This selection of courses is only suitable for non-native speakers of Dutch without previous knowledge of Dutch.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Writing/Grammar 1A, Language Acquisition I 5