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European Cultures and Identities

Utrecht University, Utrecht (the Netherlands)
2017-07-03 - 2017-07-14
Course Fee
1.175 Euro (course fees + course materials + housing)
4 ECTS & Certificate of Attendance
Bachelor level
Course description

Ever wondered what makes Europeans ‘European’? During this course you will uncover the answers while staying at the beautiful medieval city of Utrecht. You will not only uncover Europe’s cultural pluralism, but also its varied identities that still exist today; despite the fact that the majority of the European countries are progressively collaborating on an economic and political level. Each of Europe’s countries and peoples still carry their own distinctive cultures, languages, political views, religions, and traditions. Thus this course offers an introduction to Europe, a continent of great diversity.

The topics we will study during your stay in Utrecht, will help you to understand the complicated structure of Europe and may shed some light on the motives for integration as well as the obstacles on the way to European unity. You will engage with topics such as the emergence and construction of national identities, national identity versus European identity, the cultural heritage of Europe, and the processes of globalization and transnational collaboration. Lectures will focus on the history, social and economic structures, culture, and current political and social debates within the wider European community. In light of these last topics we will organize a field trip to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the European Parliament in Brussels. All in all, a thought-provoking and inspiring course.

You will experience an intensive two-week programme with lectures and seminar groups. Together with other students you are expected to work on group presentations and assignments.

Student profile/target group

Students – especially those coming from countries outside Europe - of the social sciences, including economics and business, political sciences, European studies, history, culture studies and sociology, the sciences and engineering at senior undergraduate level with an interest in culture, society and politics. A wide range of interests will help, but no specific expertise is required.



Course aim

The aim of this course is to introduce the participants to the social and cultural aspects of the nations within the European Community. The course will study both the development towards a united Europe and the enduring diversity of national cultures and identities within Europe.

Course language


Course structure

A minimum of:

7 lectures (120 minutes)

4 seminars (90 minutes)

1 day excursion

1 exam

1 certificate ceremony

This course can be combined with


For more information

Required application documents


Application deadline

       1 June 2017

Course director / Lecturers

  • Pic Verheul
    Dr. Jaap Verheul

    Dr. Jaap Verheul is associate professor of cultural history and director of the American Studies program at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He is coordinator of the minor in Atlantic Europe. He was Fulbright scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught at UCLA and other American universities. He has published on American, Dutch and transatlantic cultural history. He edited Dreams of Paradise, Visions of Apocalypse: Utopia and Dystopia in American Culture (2004) and co-edited American Multiculturalism After 9/11: Transatlantic Perspectives. (2009) and Discovering the Dutch: On Culture and Society of the Netherlands (2010).  His current research interest is in American perceptions of Europe. 

Course schedule
July 01, 2017

12.00 - 18.00   Arrival and Key pick up

July 02, 2017

12.00 - 18.00   Arrival and Key pick up

July 03, 2017

10.00-10.45  Welcome

11.00-12.00  Morning Lecture#1: What makes Europe European?

13.00-16.00  Afternoon Seminar #1: Introduction to European cultures

July 04, 2017

10.00- 12.00 Morning Lecture #2: Religion in Europe

July 05, 2017

10.00-12.00 Morning Lecture # 3: European cultures and identity: a historical perspective

July 06, 2017

10.00-12.00 Morning Lecture #4: European Art and Culture: two key concepts

13.00- 16.00 Afternoon Seminar # 2:  Europe and the Parliamentary Democracy

July 07, 2017

All day excursion to Amsterdam

10.30 - 15.30  Visit to the Rijksmuseum, Visit to Hermitage

July 10, 2017

10.00-12.00 Morning Lecture # 5: Art and Power in Europe

13.00- 16.00 Afternoon Seminar #3:  Europe: Dual State or Unified Power ?

July 11, 2017

10.00-12.00 Morning Lecture # 6: European Cultural Diversity

Afternoon Self-study

July 12, 2017

10.00-12.00 Morning Lecture # 7: American Cultural Infuence in Europe

13.00-16.00 Afternoon Seminar # 4:National Identity vs. European Identity

July 13, 2017

13.00-15.00 Final Exam

July 14, 2017

10.00-12.00  Presentation of Certificates

12.00-13.00 Farewell Drink


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