The Making of Europe: From Middle Ages to Modernity

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
Course Level
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Taking the alluring city of Utrecht as a starting point, this course offers students the opportunity to step into history. This historical journey, which illuminates Europe from the Middle Ages to the end of the 19th century, will help course participants to understand the many social, historical, religious and cultural factors that came to shape modern Europe.

The visits so some of the museums, cathedrals and canals of Utrecht and Amsterdam, will show students some of the most breathtaking highlights of European history and culture.

One of the time periods that will be dealt with is the Dutch Golden Age: the era roughly spanning the 17th century. In this era the Dutch became one of the world’s greatest maritime, economic and artistic world powers after rebelling against their Spanish rulers. To obtain an impression of the significance of this era in Dutch and European history, several locations in Utrecht will be visited. This includes Utrecht’s Gothic Saint Martin’s Cathedral, the place where the Union of Utrecht was signed in 1579, signaling the Dutch hunger for independence; the wharfs and wealthy canal houses that still testify of the incredible economic success of Europe in the Golden Age; and the public parks and patrician houses, which attest to the rising bourgeoisie in the 19th century.

In this course students will have the opportunity to visit several historical museums in Utrecht, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the 13th century royal palace in The Hague where the Dutch government is seated today. After these two weeks in Utrecht, students will be able to analyze and discuss the role of the Netherlands in the making of Europe and have a firm understanding of the main political, religious and cultural developments that took place in Europe in this time period. During these two weeks, course participants will definitely be able to ‘experience’ history.

C55 The Making of Europe from Middle Ages to Modernity 2023.pdf
Course director
M. Paulusse

Target audience

This course has been designed for students with an interest in the social, cultural and political developments taking place in Europe from the Middle Ages until the end of the 19th century.

Aim of the course

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe and evaluate different theories and conceptualisations of the historic development of Europe, with specific attention for the Netherlands
  • Show an understanding of various historic monuments and their relation to historic developments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the European developments
  • Demonstrate this critical knowledge and understanding in written and verbal form.

Study load

This course consists of 12 to 16 hours of lectures per week; approximately 10 hours of fieldtrips; self-study.

Examination and grading: Students will be expected to hand in three minor written and oral tests. In addition, they are graded for their attendance and participation. These assignments make up 30% of the final grade. 70% of the final grade consists of a written final exam testing all reading and lecture materials.


Course fee:
Fee covers
Course + course materials
Housing fee:
Housing cost
Housing provider:
Utrecht Summer School

Contact details

Utrecht Summer School |


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline
01 June 2023