Universiteit Leiden

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PhD Defence

From guilds to ROC. History of vocational education in the city of Leiden

  • Anneke Boot
Tuesday 10 December 2019
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

How have young people through the ages learned their craft? How was vocational education organised and who were responsible? And what was the difference from an educational perspective between public and private vocational schools? These are the core questions of this dissertation, in which the national development of vocational education serves as a background for a local study about the city of Leiden.
It is a longitudinal study divided in three periods. The first period describes the Middle Ages and pre-modern times, during which vocational education was mainly in the hands of the guilds. The ban on guilds formed the transition to the second period, the nineteenth century, during which vocational schools were founded by private citizens. It wasn't until the twentieth century that the central government took responsibility for vocational education, the third period in this studies.
The vocational schools in Leiden have been extensively portrayed, based on newly available archive materials. For each period we take a look at who provided vocational education and to what end. The craft-guilds were responsible for their own education: masters taught apprentices. After the ban on guilds, vocational schools, such as the 'Practische Ambachtsschool' , were founded by private citizens. The Dutch government only took responsibility for vocational education during the twentieth century. Since the end of the last century the professional field has also been invited to play an important role. The current undervaluation of vocational education is placed in a historical perspective.
The dissertation can also be seen as a plea in favour of the revaluation of craftsmanship which makes it appealing to a wider audience. Which is why it is being published in an elaborately illustrated public version.

Abstract [Dutch only]

PhD Supervisors


  • Prof.dr. W. Otterspeer
  • Prof.dr. S. Karsten



  • Dr. Pieter Slaman

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