Common Ground by Erin Elizabeth Wilson

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Art History in the Netherlands

Art History study abroad in the Netherlands
Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam; photo by Steve Bunn
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There are few countries that can boast an art tradition as rich as the Netherlands. Who has not heard of the art of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh? This 9-week study abroad opportunity will offer the study of Dutch art in cultural context, from early Netherlandish artists, such as Van Eyck, to the present day, including architecture, urban planning and design. The program will be based in Amsterdam, branch out to different cities in the country (The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem, among others), and end with a week in Belgium to study early Netherlandish and Flemish art in Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges and Ghent. We are recruiting students from a variety of disciplines and levels who wish to see the art and culture of the Netherlands come to life by experiencing it firsthand.

Lectures will be regularly held on the University of Amsterdam campus to provide training in both the content and methods of art history, but much of the learning and discovering will take place in the museums, along the canals, and in front of the monuments of Amsterdam and other cities of the Netherlands. Students will research and present topics based on their own interests. Guest lectures, bike tours, city walks, and research days will be scheduled during the week, leaving ample free time to explore. Using the rich traditions of Amsterdam and the Low Countries, this program will introduce participants to exciting modes of thinking about and looking at art, architecture, and Dutch culture.


Amsterdam, The Netherlands and various sites in Belgium.
Students will be housed in shared student dorms near the University of Amsterdam-ISHSS, located very near the city’s center, at the Funenpark.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

Although the program is based in art history and will serve mainly undergraduate students with interest in art history, the study of Dutch art in cultural context allows for a rich set of questions coming from other disciplines as well, be they visual culture studies, anthropology, sociology or interdisciplinary programs, such as CHID. For example, Dutch art often partook in debates surrounding religious, social, and political tolerance, both in the 17th-century “Golden Age” and in today’s broad dialogue on Dutch identity in the light of recent waves of immigrants.

There are no language requirements. There will be a good amount of walking, and students are expected to be able to walk and stand comfortably for upwards of three hours in warm or rainy conditions in busy urban settings and in crowded museums. Also, because of the bike-friendly nature of the Netherlands, we intend to experience some of the architecture and urbanism excursions by bicycle.


Students will earn 15 credits for successful completion of the program.

ART H 309 or 400: Dutch Art, 1400–present (5 Credits)

An overview of art from the Low Countries from about 1400 to the present day. Students will study highlights of Dutch and Flemish art, architecture, and design in museums and at other sites in the Netherlands and Belgium, from Jan van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch to Rembrandt and Vermeer, from Van Gogh to Piet Mondrian to Rem Koolhaas. Beginning art history students should register for Art H 309, and more advanced art history majors should register for Art H 400.

Study Abroad: Art History Individual Projects (10 Credits)

This course combines in-depth examination of the topics and issues relating to art, architecture, and design in the Netherlands. Students will research and prepare presentations and participate in seminar discussions.

Program Expenses

Estimated $6,200 Program Fee. This does not include the UW Study Abroad Fee ($300), airfare ($1,600*), food (about $41/day), Study Abroad Insurance ($40/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket.

Program Dates

June 20 – August 19, 2016

Application Process

Application for the Summer 2016 program.

The application includes a Personal Statement, 3 short answer questions, 2 Faculty recommendations and electronic signature documents related to University policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.

Application deadline is January 29, 2016.

Program Leaders

Marek K. Wieczorek, Art History,
Steven Bunn, Art History,

Art History
Program Type: 
Quarter-long Programs
Program Status: