BA p24 Dutch Studies
Dutch Studies

Leiden is the only place where international students can follow a full academic programme in Dutch Studies. Dutch Studies offers you the opportunity to develop specialised knowledge of Dutch language, culture and society. The programme consists of five different sections:

  1. Language acquisition and language proficiency: after the first term of the first year you will be able to follow the lectures and participate in tutorials in Dutch. At the end of your third year you will write your bachelor’s thesis in Dutch.
  2. Linguistics: You will explore questions like: ‘Why is learning a foreign language much more difficult than learning your first language?’ ‘Does a ‘knack for languages’ really exist?’
  3. Literature: The courses on Dutch literature will give you an overview of Dutch literature in the past as well as the present. You will also study the influence of Dutch literature on society.
  4. History and Politics: During these classes you will examine Dutch history from a modern perspective, exploring questions such as: How is it possible that the Netherlands' first king was a Frenchman? And a connection between Netherlands' founding father Willem of Oranje and today's populist politician Geert Wilders.
  5. Art History: You will focus on understanding the phenomenon and impact of famous artists, such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh. What is it that makes their work so recognisable? In which way does their work reflect the period in which they lived?
BA p25 Testimonial Laura Pereira

Laura Pereira
First-year student

‘This programme exceeds my expectations. I could not imagine before starting that I would follow classes only in Dutch after the first semester. I literally knew five words before I came here. It’s really cool to be able to understand Dutch after a few months. We have to do a lot of exercises together. It’s really helpful: the best way to learn a language is to talk. The programme is a good balance between writing, language acquisition, speaking and listening at the one hand, and culture at the other.’

Curriculum: BA Dutch Studies

Dutch Studies Engels 2023 vs 1

Why study Dutch Studies in Leiden?

  • You will rapidly develop your proficiency in the Dutch language. From the second term onwards, all courses will be taught in Dutch. This language acquisition component is embedded in a broad, interdisciplinary programme, which will familiarise you with many aspects of Dutch history, culture and society.

  • Since we are a small department, you may expect intensive, personal guidance from your first year right up to graduation.

  • Leiden is the the international centre for Dutch Studies. Our lecturers give guest lectures at Dutch language departments all over the world, from Jakarta to Wroclaw.

Starting at 3 different levels

Our programme is suitable for students with
no previous knowledge of Dutch, while students with elementary and students with advanced knowledge of Dutch are also welcome. Your level of proficiency will be tested in the week prior to the first semester. We offer 3 starting levels:

  • Programme I-A
    This programme is the same as the regular first year of the 3-year programme and is suitable for absolute beginners.
  • Programme I-B
    This programme is for students with an elementary knowledge of Dutch. The programme is a combination of first- and second-year courses. It will only be offered if there are enough participants.
  • Programme II
    If your Dutch is of an advanced level, you can join the second-year language acquisition classes, combined with other classes such as Dutch Painting 1400 - 1950 from the first year. Students starting at this level of the programme, can obtain the bachelor’s degree in Dutch Studies within two years.


Maybe you are interested in Dutch, while you do not want to spend three years on the bachelor’s programme of Dutch Studies. If so, it is possible to take Dutch Studies for a period of one year. At the end of the 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. It is good to know that with the ‘propaedeuse’ of Dutch Studies you get access to almost all Leiden's bachelor’s programmes in Dutch.

Your future career

Where do Leiden’s graduates of Dutch Studies work?

  • In education and teaching Dutch in their home countries
  • In multinational companies, (both in the Netherlands and in their home countries)
  • At embassies or in government (as policy staff or consular assistants)
  • In the academic world (as a researcher)
  • In the private sector as freelance translators and journalists
Dutch Studies cover foto

Location: Leiden


year programme, 180 ECTS


English-taught programme established




largest lecture size


maximum tutorial size