Wetenschap - 28 september 1995

Dutch history for foreign students

Dutch history for foreign students

Mr Jan Bieleman of the department of Agricultural History relates enthusiastically: I can imagine that foreign students would like to get a grip on this funny country where they have landed." Bieleman and his colleague Schuurman are trying introduce a new subject in the MSc programmes: Dutch history. Apart from the fact that every department seeks to expand its educational programme, Bieleman regards such a topic as an essential part of the courses. The educational content of courses at WAU is not something which just drops out of the sky. It is the result of a long process, closely related to historical developments in the Netherlands," Bieleman argues. The whole idea, however, is still on the negotiation table and, although the reactions are positive, the chance of it being introduced already in next year's programmes is minimal.

The structure and contents of the subject have already been more or less finalized. Starting point of the course would be the present position of the Netherlands within the European perspective. Attention will also be paid to general historical developments in Dutch society, including the role of the Church, urbanisation, population growth and industrial development. At least a third of the syllabus will deal with the history of agriculture and, related to that, the variety of landscapes which have evolved. Bieleman adds: We also plan to include one day excursions throughout the Netherlands. There will definitely be a trip to the Open Air Museum in Arnhem, where many features of our own past can be seen in reconstruction: Dutch history in a nutshell."

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