The aim of this course is to develop an understanding of the ways The Netherlands, considered by many as "The Gateway to Europe", deals with economic, environmental, and settlement challenges. These challenges are to be placed in the context of increasing levels of globalization, the expected effects of the changing climate on water management and flood protection systems, as well as sustainability concerns related to increasing levels of mobility in general and car usage and ridership in particular - all of which seem to exercise even stronger impacts on the population of one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Dutch policies and practices of spatial, environmental and transportation planning are therefore included in almost all components of the course.
Three different parts in the course can be recognized:
- An acquaintance and settle-in weekend. Upon arrival in Groningen, participants are welcomed and introduced to the university, the city and their accommodation by Dutch students. Also, assistance is provided for the purchase of a high quality used bicycle.
- The course - an intensive 3 week period of teaching. Each week includes:
- 5 lectures of 1.5 hours each
- 1 tutorial meeting in order to supervise the paper assignment
- 3 excursions related to the classes
- social events
- A concluding workshop - participants present their supervised papers and receive feedback from faculty as well as other participants in the course.
The lectures include the following topics: "The City of Groningen - Society and Space", "Population Dynamics", "Physical Geography", "Cultural Geography", "Transportation and Mobility", "Regional Policies", "Sport and Space", "Spatial Planning", "Rural Areas", "Randstad Holland and the Green Heart", "Energy, Environment, and Space", "Foreign Direct Investments in the Netherlands", "Waste Management", "Water Management", "Dutch, Death, and Space".