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Imagining the Dutch: Themes Dutch History Social Sciences & Humanities Program Spring 2025 Semester - Amsterdam

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Imagining the Dutch: Themes Dutch History

Imagining the Dutch: Themes Dutch History Course Overview


CEA CAPA Partner Institution: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Primary Subject Area: Cultural Studies
Instruction in: English
Course Code: L_GCBAALG003
Transcript Source: Partner Institution
Course Details: Level 200
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 84


The perception of the Netherlands at home and abroad includes several stereotypes. It is a country of cheese and herring, of windmills and coffeeshops, of clogs and canals. It is also a country characterized by tolerance, a consensus democracy and pillarization. Historically, the small nation of the Dutch Republic has experienced a Golden Age in the seventeenth century, during which time it was a 'world power', leading to economic prosperity, but it was also a time in which the foundations were laid for a colonial system that persisted until the twentieth century. Perceptions and images of the Netherlands by foreigners and Dutch citizens themselves tell a story of the Netherlands, as they are informed by both past and contemporary experiences. In different time periods, stereotypes and ideas about 'the Dutch' and 'Dutchness' have been invoked to consider the Netherlands as an example to follow, but they have also been questioned about their truthfulness. Who were/are 'the Dutch'? What is 'typically Dutch' about the Dutch from an international perspective? What are the differences between how the Dutch themselves and how foreigners have imagined the Netherlands? And how should we deal with these images from an academic perspective? These questions form the starting point on this English-language introductory course on Dutch history.

The lectures of the course focus on a variety of relevant themes in different time periods and cover a wide range of topics. Some of the themes that will be discussed are
- The historical reasons for the extraordinary economic growth and cultural richness of the Netherlands in the 17th century
- The further development of the Dutch as a maritime nation and colonial nation in the 18th century
- The rise of democracy in the 19th and 20th centuries
- The Dutch experience of WWII ? Recent debates about the colonial past and immigration Discussion among students about the content of the lectures and the course literature is part of this course, which is specifically designed to connect history with contemporary issues.

Contact hours listed under a course description may vary due to the combination of lecture-based and independent work required for each course therefore, CEA's recommended credits are based on the ECTS credits assigned by VU Amsterdam. 1 ECTS equals 28 contact hours assigned by VU Amsterdam.

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