Universiteit Leiden

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Netherlands Institute Morocco

Morocco and the Netherlands have a strong bond. The modern community of Dutch people with Moroccan roots is part of a shared history spanning four centuries of social and academic exchange. As an institution that functions at the heart of Moroccan society and the university system, the Netherlands Institute Morocco (NIMAR) in Rabat is an essential resource for students and researchers who want to get to know Morocco better.

Research-intensive education

NIMAR aims to promote collaboration and build networks. To achieve that goal, it is always seeking out ways to create connections between education and research. Students are trusted with research as soon as possible: they are given their own small projects, under intensive supervision, and have the chance to experience excursions and work placements.

More and more students from the Netherlands are finding their way to the institute in Rabat. Every autumn, the institute offers the ‘Culture and society in Morocco’ minor, and in the spring the ‘Linguistic and cultural diversity in Morocco’ programme, which places more of an emphasis on language acquisition. The teaching is available to students from all over the Netherlands.

Creating research networks

The Institute builds research networks focused on collaboration between Dutch researchers and academic partners in Morocco and other countries. The high-quality facilities mean that NIMAR can benefit students, PhD candidates and researchers from different countries and academic backgrounds. The Institute supports and encourages them to collaborate with researchers from Morocco and other countries.

The Institute also promotes original academic research in three programme areas:

  • Migration
  • Urban Studies
  • Museum and Heritage Studies


Within the Migration research programme, researchers study the effects of migration on Morocco. The Netherlands now has a community of around 400,000 Dutch people with a Moroccan background, and in the past ten years Morocco itself has become a popular destination for migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a key link in the migration circuit in which many different political, legal and social questions are at play.

Urban Studies

With more and more Moroccans leaving the countryside to seek their fortune in cities, the country is in transition from rural to urban living. What effect do these demographic changes have on society? How can the new city dwellers find shared values and behaviours that make it possible to coexist in large cities? What initiatives are they taking in an effort to find more sustainable solutions? Moroccan, Dutch, French and Belgian researchers have developed a network for Urban Studies at NIMAR over the last few years.

Culture as soft power

In recent years, the Moroccan government has invested in museums, theatres and the restoration of monuments, and works of art have been loaned to institutes outside Morocco. The government is using culture as a soft power to build an image of Morocco as a modern nation that is willing and able to play an important role in Africa. NIMAR is planning to carry out more research in this area in the near future. This research will focus in particular on the link between teaching and research, for instance through the ‘Culture as Soft Power in Morocco’ honours class run by the Humanities Lab.

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