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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 and specialist 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 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. They also write a BA-thesis on a Dutch Studies topic. Students who started the new program in 2020-2021 will also have to take compulsory in-depth modules in their third year, depending on their specialization.

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 Representation of the Netherlands in Movies and Literature. 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

Beginners Course 1A - Language Acquisition I 15
Dutch Painting 1400 – 1950: Introduction to the Art History of the Netherlands, Cultuurwetenschap I 5
Dutch Debates – Topical Questions in Dutch Society, Culture I 5
Culture and Society of the Netherlands: An Inside View 5
Academic Skills (Dutch Studies) 0

Tweede semester

Speaking/Listening 1B - Language Acquisition I 5
Reading/Vocabulary 1B - Language Acquisition I 5
Writing/Grammar 1B - Language Acquisition I 5
Inleiding Nederlandse taalkunde 5
Core: Philosophy of science 5
Representation of The Netherlands in Film and Literature 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

Eerste semester

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

Tweede semester

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

Kies een van de twee vakken, afhankelijk van je specialisatie

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

Third year

Apart from a required courses Academic writing, Oral Exam on the Departmental Reading List and a Bachelor’s Thesis with a seminar, 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. In the third year the students are also required to take a Core Curriculum course, depending on their specialisation, in order to obtain the general knowledge on a particular specialisation field. Students also follow an in-depth specialisation course in the second term.

From 2022-2023, the official specializations in Dutch Linguistics, Dutch Literature, and Dutch Art History will expire. From that year on, students can choose between two tracks (unofficial specializations): Linguistics and Culture.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Eerste semester

Keuzeruimte (Dutch Studies) 15
Academic Writing 5
Oral Examination on the Departmental Reading List 5

Kerncurriculumvak (afhankelijk van de specialisatie)

Core Curriculum: Introduction to Linguistics 5
Core curriculum: Introduction Literary Theory 5
World Art Studies 5
Introduction to the Historical Discipline 5

Tweede semester

Keuzeruimte (Dutch Studies) 15
Thesis seminar 0
Bachelor’s Thesis Dutch Studies 10

Verdiepingsmodule (afhankelijk van de specialisatie)

Specialisatie Taalkunde

Language in the City 5

Specialisatie Letterkunde (kies één vak)

Contemporary novels 5
Van Psalm tot popsong 5

Specialisatie kunstgeschiedenis

Topical Course: Artists' Writings 5

Specialisatie geschiedenis

Eighty Years of War. New perspectives on the Dutch Revolt 5

Keuzevakken specialisatie taalkunde, aangeboden door Nederlandkunde/Dutch Studies

Introduction Second Language Acquisition 5
Tweedetaalverwerving: de invloed van moedertaal en taalaanleg 5
Tweedetaalverwerving: didactiek en toetsing 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
Introduction to the History of the Netherlands 5

More info

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


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, speaking and writing, graduates have acquired a B2 level or higher. For more information on these levels, see the descritpion online.

Achievement Levels

I. Graduates of the programme have attained the following achievement levels:

a. knowledge and understanding of the nature and scope of the discipline of Dutch Language, Culture and Studies, and thus

  • the foundation and historical development of the Dutch language,

  • an overview of writers, movements and works of Dutch literature,

  • an overview of the history of the Netherlands and of Dutch art and cultural history, and

  • aspects of contemporary Dutch culture and society;

b. knowledge and understanding of the key terms, instruments, research methods and techniques of the history of the Netherlands, Dutch linguistics, literary studies, art history and cultural history;

c. the ability to use the acquired knowledge and understanding to form a well-reasoned opinion on a topic in the discipline of Dutch, Language, Culture and Society that they have not yet covered.

II. This means that graduates in the field of literary studies:

a. have knowledge and understanding of a limited but representative body of primary texts from the Middle Ages to the present day;

b. are able to apply the knowledge and understanding they have acquired by placing the most important writers, texts and movements in a literary-historical context;

c. are able to analyze a literary text in a scholarly way and report on this.

III. This means that graduates in the field of linguistics:

a. have knowledge of basic Dutch phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics;

b. are able to apply the knowledge and understanding acquired through the most important research questions, research methods, theories and findings to the field of second language acquisition;

c. are able to analyze spoken and written language in a scholarly way and report on this.

IV. This means that graduates in the field of art history:

a. have knowledge of aspects of visual arts in the Netherlands from the Middle Ages to the present day, and have an understanding of the most important approaches in the discipline;

b. are able to apply the knowledge and understanding they have acquired by placing the most important Dutch works of art and movements, the influence of Dutch art abroad or the interaction between Dutch and foreign artists in an historical and cultural context;

c. are able to analyze the above art-history topics in a scholarly way and report on this.

V. This means that in the field of history graduates:

a. have knowledge of aspects of the history of the Netherlands from prehistory down to the present day;

b. are able to apply the knowledge and understanding they have acquired by placing the most important events and developments in a historical and cultural context

c. are able to analyze a historical topic in a scholarly way and report on this.

VI. Aims and objectives from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

**Reference Propedeuse Bachelor’s **

Listening B1/B2 C1
Reading B1/B2 C1
Spoken interaction B1 B2
Spoken production B1 B2
Writing B1 B2

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 Literature and 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. 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. Students are also required to write a Bachelor’s Thesis Dutch Studies worth 10 EC-credits, follow a Thesis seminar and sit the Oral Examination on the Departmental Reading List.

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:


For students who have started the programme before 2019-2020, there are 4 specializations:
Dutch Linguistics,
Dutch Literature,
Dutch Art History
Dutch History.

Students who started with the bachelor programme in 2019-2020 or later, have 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 coordinator of studies Irena Zagar.


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