Dutch Culture and Identity
Full course description
This course helps students discover the history and culture of the country in which they are now staying: The Netherlands. Zooming in on this flat land, during this course we will explore how and when the Netherlands grew to be the country it now is. When did the Netherlands become a Republic and how come that it now also has a King? How did a country that emerged out of religious wars end up among the most ‘progressive’ where it comes to ethical questions such as birth control and euthanasia? Why does this small country on the international scene often present itself as a moral leader? How has living below the sea level influenced political cooperativeness and social egalitarianism? How tolerant was and is Dutch society? And how ‘Golden’ was the Golden Age that brought the country its famous painters, but also built on colonial profits?
Analysing the past to make sense of the present, the course will not only explore the most relevant parts of Dutch history, but also critically reflect on the concepts and categories often used to relate these to present issues. Can we speak of ‘a’ Dutch identity, and if so, what does it mean? What are the (inter)national images of Dutch culture, and when and why were they constructed? Paintings, songs, literature and other sources will be used to research Dutch national stereotypes in their national context.
The course will take place over periods 1 & 2 and will involve one tutorial per week and a fieldtrip. The number of credits earned after successfully concluding this course is the equivalent of 3 ECTS according to Maastricht University’s guidelines.
The course has the following objectives:
- Students will gain introductory knowledge and understanding of important concepts and categories used to analyse culture and identity.
- Students will learn to apply these concepts and categories to discuss and evaluate elements of Dutch culture and identity.
- Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the most ‘distinctive’ features, facts and aspects of what is referred to as ‘the culture and mentality’ of the Dutch, as well as of Dutch history.
- Besamusca, Emmeline, & Verheul, Jaap. (2014). Discovering the Dutch: On Culture and Society of the Netherlands. Amsterdam University Press.
- Wielenga, Friso. (2015). A history of the Netherlands: From the sixteenth century to the present day. Bloomsbury Academic.
- H.M.S. Timmermans
- M.P.P.M. Bastings