Netherlands Field School: Culture, Identity, and Migration

Students gathered for a group picture infront of three windmills

This field course explores, over five days of three hour seminars in Guelph and twelve days in the Netherlands, the themes of culture, identity, migration and integration in Europe as they are playing out in the Netherlands; and it takes place in Amsterdam and The Hague. The Netherlands is generally considered a tolerant, progressive, open, liberal society. Perhaps best known for its early legalization of cannabis, prostitution, and euthanasia, it also has strong protections of LGBTQ+ rights, and, in the late 1990s its generous immigration policies were thought to be a model for the rest of Europe. It has also been an ardent supporter of the post-nationalist European project of the European Union. Not surprisingly then, it has been a popular destination among those migrating across Europe from war-torn African and Middle Eastern countries. However, as in many other Western democracies, nationalism and xenophobia (fear of what is perceived to be foreign) are on the rise. In 2007 the Netherlands became the only country in the world to require that residents who have relocated to the Netherlands from countries outside the European Union past a test measuring whether they are sufficiently integrated into society within 3.5 years of their arrival. In the 2017 election, Gert Wilders’ anti-Muslimism, anti-immigration, anti-European Union Freedom Party was the second most popular. His commitment to shut down asylum centres, ban the Quran, close all mosques and Islamic schools, and forbid the wearing of the hijab in public places, along with his commitment to leave the European Union, appealed to a remarkable number of Dutch voters.  
This course takes as a starting point that identity is the product of unique systems of social, historical and political discourse and interpretation, and the course encourages students to identify how identity is contextual and constructed. Adopting a post-modern lens, students are encouraged to find answers to the following questions (which can be asked about any country and its identity politics): How has “Dutch” culture and identity been constructed over time, and has it changed dramatically, evolved gradually, or stayed more or less the same?  

Information Session


Monday, October 30, 2023
5:30 - 7:00 pm

UC 390 (take the South elevators)

Come in person, or follow the presentation virtually on Teams.
Click here to join the meeting

Field School Details

  • Instructor: Dr. Julie Simmons, Political Science
  • Offered: Summer 2024 (Previously: S19, S22, S23)
  • Prerequisite: 7.5 credits or permission of the instructor, 68% cumulative average
  • A (tentative) course outline can be found a the bottom of this page
  • If you have any questions about the program, please contact Dr. Simmons or Allison Broadbent, Study Abroad Manager.

Program Dates (tentative)

  • last week of April - virtual classes prior to departure
  • first two weeks of May - in the Netherlands


Students will be registered in 1.0 credits at the third year level. 

This international field school is open to students from all disciplines at the University of Guelph.


Students should budget for the following:

  • Round-trip airfare to the Netherlands (estimated $1500)
  • Tuition at the University of Guelph for 1.0 credits
  • The Netheralnds Field School fee: approximately $2800  (includes accommodations in hostels, field trips in Amsterdam and the Hague, and in-country travel). Amount is subject to change based on fluctuating exchange rate.
  • Meals estimated at $600
  • Mandatory travel health and emergency insurance through the company Guard Me ($1.65 / day)
  • Personal expenses (souvenirs, additional personal excursions, etc) 

Global Skills Opportunity LogoTravel Grants

Students participating in this Field School, who identify as an Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) student, a student registered with Student Accessibility Services, and/or have demonstrated financial need are eligible to apply for the GSO Travel Grant. There are also other University of Guelph travel grants available.  


Students applying for the program must have completed a total of 7.5 undergraduate credits by the time the program begins in May 2024 (or permission from the instructor), and must have a 68% cumulative average. 

The program is open to students from all disciplines at the University of Guelph, with a maximum of 14 students being accepted to the program. 

Application deadline: January 26, 2024

Apply to the Netherlands Field School

To apply for Field School programs you must complete CIP's online application. Step-by-step application instructions are outlined in the link below.

Application Instructions

A garden of tulips, the Huge, a student on a bicycle, and students looking out over a canal

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