Netherlands Belgium
Berkeley Summer Abroad

Netherlands and Belgium: History, Art, and Identity in Europe

  • Summary

    Introduce yourself to the cultural and political identity of the Low Countries—the Netherlands and Belgium, two contrasting monarchies in the heart of Europe. This program will trace important cultural, historical, and political developments in European history and culture.

    Begin in Amsterdam, the world's most liberal city, with two weeks of exploration in the Netherlands, from the 17th century (Golden Age) to present-day society.
    Travel to Antwerp and visit Flanders, Belgium's Dutch-speaking region, exploring medieval cities, the traces of World War I and II, and the EU capital.


    "The Low Countries offer an opportunity to learn about an incredible history, political systems of three countries and the European Union, and an amazing sense of culture is in everything you do."

    —Jenneke Olson, participant


    Dates: July 1 – July 28, 2018
    All dates are subject to change.

    Units: 6 units

    Language of Instruction: English

    DUTCH 177: The Amsterdam-Brussels Connection: History, Art and Identity in the Heart of Europe (6 units)


    • At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    • 2.0 GPA or higher


    • Application opens February 1, 2018
    • Space is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    • Deadline to apply is March 9, 2018

  • Courses

    Course: Dutch 177
    Title: The Amsterdam-Brussels Connection: History, Art, and Identity in the Heart of Europe
    Dates: July 1 – July 28, 2018
    Instructor: Esmée van der Hoeven
    Units: 6 units
    Prerequisites: None

    Introduce yourself to the cultural and political identity of the Low Countries: the Netherlands and Belgium. The course begins in Amsterdam, the world’s most liberal city, from where we explore the Netherlands. After spending more than two weeks in the Netherlands, we will continue our journey in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium, where we will be based in the city of Antwerp. On our way, we will trace important cultural, historical and political developments in European history and culture from medieval Flanders, the Dutch Golden Age, World War I and II up to contemporary multilingual, social and European identity of Belgium and the Netherlands. Daily field trips take us to The Hague, Utrecht, Delft, Rotterdam, Middelburg, Brussels, Ghent, Leuven, Bruges and many other places, where we will visit a range of world-famous art museums, churches, and historical sites. Guided visits to the Dutch House of Representatives in The Hague and the European Parliament in Brussels are also included.

    This course satisfies the L&S Arts & Literature, Historical Studies, or International Studies breadth requirement. It is also part of the Dutch Studies major. Please note that academic requirements may change. Consult with your college/major advisor to see which degree requirements this course may fulfill.

    Summer Abroad staff will enroll you in courses after your acceptance to the program. Please make sure there are no active blocks on your student account that may impact your course enrollment.

  • Costs


    Tuition and Program Fee

    The fees to participate in this program are broken down into 1) tuition and 2) program fees, which are applied to your student billing account as follows:

    2018 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition $2,526 $3,300
    Program Fee $2,272 $2,272
    Total Cost $4,798 $5,572

    Fees are subject to change. All non-Berkeley students must pay an additional Document Management Fee of $56.


    Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses

    In addition to the fees outlined above, Berkeley Study Abroad has estimated costs for out-of-pocket expenses. These amounts are used to calculate financial aid packages for eligible students. Actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.

    Estimated Expenses Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $1,700
    Additional Meals $364
    Books $222
    Personal Expenses (i.e., phone, passport, visas, etc.) $571
    Total Estimated Out-Of-Pocket Expenses $2,857


    Financial Aid

    Financial aid is available for Berkeley students who are enrolled in at least six units during the summer. All other students should contact the financial aid office at their home institution for more information.


    Explanation of Fees

    Tuition is based on a per unit cost:

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $421 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    The program fee* includes the following items:

    • Student housing in hostels in Amsterdam, Brussels, Ostend, and Leuven
    • Excursions such as a guided tour of the Dutch House of Representatives and the European Parliament, and more.
    • On-site orientation activities including an introduction to all the various cities on the itinerary, etc.
    • Travel insurance to cover accident/sickness medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, security extraction, and other travel assistance services
    • Other program-related costs including fees for museum admissions, group transportation, local guides, etc.
    • The initial non-refundable deposit of $400, which is due at the time of application and is applied to the program fee

    *Please note that the list of items included in the program fee is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.

    The following items are excluded from the program fee:

    • International airfare
    • Personal expenses (souvenirs, routine medical expenses, toiletries, etc.)
    • Course materials (textbooks and readers)
    • Other travel expenses (passport, visa, etc.)
    • Additional meals
    • Commuting costs for daily travel to and from classes

  • Timeline
    Application opens February 1, 2018
    Application closes March 9, 2018
    Applicants notified of selection March 23, 2018
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit April 6, 2018
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    Arrive in Netherlands July 1, 2018
    Last day of program July 28, 2018

    * These events take place on the Berkeley campus. If you are not on campus during this time, we will schedule a meeting via phone or Skype.

    All dates are subject to change.

  • Instructors

    Esmée van der Hoeven
    Program Director

    Esmée van der Hoeven is a native of the Netherlands and works since 2015 as Lecturer Dutch in the Department of German & Dutch Studies at UC Berkeley, where she teaches Dutch language courses on all levels. Since 2016 she teaches the long-standing Travel/Study Summer Abroad course The Amsterdam-Brussels Connection: History, Art, and Identity in the Heart of Europe. She holds an M.A. degree in Language and Culture Studies from Utrecht University as well as a degree in teaching Dutch as a foreign language from VU University Amsterdam.

    Jeroen Dewulf
    Local Program Assistant

    Jeroen Dewulf is a native of Belgium and is since 2007 director of the Dutch Studies Program at UC Berkeley. He is also the director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of European Studies. Since 2008, he has been teaching the Travel/Study Summer Abroad course The Amsterdam-Brussels Connection: History, Art, and Identity in the Heart of Europe. He holds a BA degree from Ghent University in Belgium and a Ph.D. from the University of Bern in Switzerland.

    Aagje van der Meer
    Local Program Assistant

    Aagje is a native of the Netherlands. She graduated from Cal in 2014 and taught in the Dutch Studies Program before moving back to the Netherlands. She served as Local Program Assistant in the summer of 2016 and is looking forward to welcoming a new group in 2018.