Universiteit Leiden

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Dutch Studies (BA)

About the programme

This three-year programme offers students a unique chance to gain a specialised qualification in a rich, valuable area of knowledge, plus the freedom to tailor the programme to their own ambitions. And what better place to study than in Leiden, international centre of Dutch studies?

Programme overview

You can start the BA Dutch Studies as an absolute beginner with the Programme A for those with no Dutch knowledge. If you your Dutch is at an intermediate level, you can start with the Programme II for those with an advanced knowledge of Dutch. The programme offers international students a flexible route to academic-level Dutch fluency as well as broad and deep understanding of culture and history of the Netherlands.

Your level of Dutch determines much of your first year. No previous Dutch? Then you will work hard at learning to speak, write and understand Dutch. You attend lectures on Dutch culture, and gain the research, writing and presentation skills needed for your final written paper. You learn about the great historical impact of this small nation and gain insight into present-day Dutch society.

  • If your Dutch is more advanced you may be able to complete the programme in 2 years. For more information please contact the study advisor
  • Leiden also offers this year as a one-year programme in Dutch Studies.

In your second year you cross into true Dutch fluency, learning to recognise and understand the nuances of the language and culture. As you deepen your knowledge of Dutch history and literature and modern and historical linguistics, you will also learn how to conduct independent scientific research. The advantages of studying at Leiden University include being surrounded by Dutch every day, so you start to really accelerate in your ability to speak and interact with native speakers.

During the third year you have a lot of freedom to tailor your studies to your personal interests and ambitions via electives. You may choose to follow courses from other Leiden programmes; in this way you structure a minor period that reflects your interests and future academic or career goals. You conclude by writing a bachelor’s thesis (in Dutch). 

Examples of bachelor’s assignments:

Dutch Literature

  • Now tell me the truth: An autofictional game in the works of four recent Dutch female writers.
  • The image of evil: The representation of the SS in Dutch concentration camp literature.

Dutch Linguistics

  • The most difficult word in Dutch: Which reference particle 'er' is the most difficult for learners of Dutch as a second language?
  • The influence of a native language on the distinction between the perfect and imperfect learners of Dutch as a second language.
  • The acquisition of Dutch articles by Chinese and Hungarian speakers of Dutch as a second language: Has a native language played a role in the acquisition of Dutch articles?

Dutch History

  • Power to Widows! A comparison of the influences of Mary of Hungary, Catherine de Medici and Kösem Sultan after the death of their reigning husbands.
  • In the land of cheese and clogs: A research into the change in the lives of former Turkish migrant workers in the Netherlands between 1987 and 1991.

Dutch Art History

  • Vilmos Huszár (1884-1960), a Hungarian artist from the Dutch art movement: De Stijl.

Maybe you are interested in Dutch, but you do not want to spend three years at university. If so, then it is possible to take just the first year of  Dutch Studies at Leiden University. At the end of this first year you will be awarded a transcript and a so-called ‘propaedeuse’, a first-year diploma, if you complete all the first-year courses successfully in one year. It is good to know that with the ‘propaedeuse’ of Dutch Studies you get access to almost all bachelor programmes in Dutch.

Note however, that the one-year programme students will be regarded as regular first year students.

Laura Pereira

First year student

Laura Pereira

"I really like ‘Analyse van Nederland in Moderne Films’ (Analysis of The Netherlands in Modern Films). We’re learning about Dutch culture through analysing different films. Actually, it helps a lot in getting better in listening. In class we discuss different aspects of culture, so we need to formulate our opinions very clearly. We watched movies about the Second World War, about admiral Michiel de Ruyter and even some Romantic Comedies. It is a really good selection."

Liran Spiegel


Liran Spiegel

"The teachers are really supportive and try to push us more and more, but not in a harsh way of course. If I need to, I can always ask them questions and they will always give advice if asked for it. With my fellow students, the contact is really good. They come from all over the world. In the classroom, we’re trying to solve exercises together. I love the interaction we have."

Rick Honings


Rick Honings

"Dutch Studies is a multidisciplinary programme. This means that, as well as taking language acquisition classes, you will follow specialist courses in linguistics, literature, history and politics, and art history. Outside of the classroom you will visit some of the Netherlands’ world-famous galleries, museums and historical locations. The opportunity for an internship at an organisation will provide you with additional professional skills and experience."

Educational methods

As a Dutch Studies student, you can expect a full working week of about 40 hours. You will spend an average of 14 hours in-class, for example lectures or tutorials, and the rest of the time in independent study. You attend lectures focused upon a particular topic; the lectures are complemented by tutorials in which the material is discussed in greater depth and with more student input, for example in solo or group presentations, all of which help you to grasp Dutch quickly and with more fluency.

Student support

Do you need support during your study? We make sure to offer our students the support they need. A mentor will be at hand to offer the help or advice that you need.

Should you have any questions about the programme, our coordinator of studies is available to provide advice or help you make practical arrangements if needed.

Apart from study advice, we offer many more support services. Our Career Services can help you arrange a study abroad or find an internship position.

In case of psychological issues, a university psychologist can be consulted. In the event of chronic illness, dyslexia or a physical or psychological disability, you can contact the university’s Fenestra Disability Centre.

The POPcorner is an accessible study support point with locations in Leiden and The Hague, focused on creating an inclusive and diverse learning environment. As well as organising POPtalks on D&I related topics, the POPcorner helps students develop study skills through workshops, create social and support networks, establish personal and academic goals, and connect them with university resources and services.

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