Pre-University Honours Programme: History and Culture

For centuries, Amsterdam has been a global hub: from the United Provinces, to the glory of the Dutch Republic, the Dutch capital has been at the heart of many global movements. But what does it mean to be a global city, and how does one come into being? How has this city shaped and influenced events around the world?

Programme at a glance

Academic dates: 7 July - 18 July 2019*
Housing dates: 6 July - 19 July 2019*
Academic fee: € 1200
Housing fee: € 350 and € 75 deposit. For more information, see Housing and practical matters.
Who is this programme for? For current high school students (must be 16-18 during the programme) interested in urban studies, and the social and behavioural sciences.
Academic director: Benjamin Roberts

* These dates are tentative and subject to minor change: final changes will be anounced by 1 December.

Programme description

What worldview is embedded in a 16th Century Dutch map of the East Indies? What insights can we gain about daily life in Amsterdam by visiting Rembrandt’s The Night Watch? Participants will examine Amsterdam from local and global perspectives, linking specific locations in Amsterdam to the world, tracing global ideas back to Amsterdam. This course uses Amsterdam and its immense material and intellectual history to investigate the linkages between this city and the rest of the world by focusing on a series of historical highlights. Participants will leave Amsterdam with a map of their home region, produced in Amsterdam in the 16th Century.

This interdisciplinary programme will ask essential questions: what does it mean to be a global citizen, and when and where did our concept of the global arise? How are art, trade, politics and identity intimately interconnected in 17th Century Amsterdam? What parts of history and culture do we celebrate, and what parts do we disguise, hide, or purposely forget, and to what ends?

By the end of the programme, students will have an in-depth overview of the cultural history of Amsterdam in a global context. We will accomplish this by focusing on highlights from notable periods in the 16th-18th in Amsterdam. Through a combination of academic lectures, site visits, and city excursions, participants will leave the UvA with an understanding of important periods in Amsterdam’s and culture and history.

This programme is designed for high school students to experience studying in an international environment at the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the University of Amsterdam. The lectures and all course materials are in English. Participants in the course will develop study skills and become acquainted with learning methods that will give them an advantage as they continue their education at university.

Study load

The programme schedule from Monday to Friday includes:

  • Morning lecture (2.5 hours)
  • Lunch break (1 hour; provided by the University)  
  • Afternoon workshop (2.5 hours; includes film screenings, debates, and city excursions).

On Fridays, participants will have either an excursion to another city, or the final presentations for their programme.


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Conditions for admission
Language of instruction
Starts in
June, July

Published by  GSSS Summer Programmes Office