Netherlands, Amsterdam

The Heart of Capitalism: Amsterdam and the Capitalist World, 1600-present

when 22 July 2017 - 5 August 2017
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 ECTS
fee EUR 1150

Capitalism does have a heart, at least in an economic and geographical sense. From 1600 onwards, for a long time that heart was Amsterdam. Today, Amsterdam still is a major player in the capitalist world. This course explores your host city’s role in the rise of capitalism and the relationship – then and now – between its economic fortunes and its spatial, social and cultural development.

Our framework is the new scholarship on capitalism and current debates about “global” and “creative” cities. Since the development of capitalism is now considered part of a wider web of social relations, power structures, belief systems and cultural practices, we cover several centuries and many aspects of history: social, economic, business, political, cultural and religious history as well as the history of emotions. As a long-established centre of capitalism, Amsterdam is the perfect place to study this innovative approach in situ. And to look in greater depth at the relationship between the development of capitalism and the urban environment.
How have the ups and downs of Amsterdam as a hotbed of capitalism affected the spatial, social and cultural development of the city? And how has the urban ambience influenced the role of Amsterdam in the capitalist world, especially in terms of city planning, social inequality and the role of cultural industries? By looking at these questions, we will engage with ongoing discussions among historians, social scientists and policy makers about ‘global’ and ‘creative’ cities. Active participation is an important aspect of this course, as you examine and critically assess key ideas, debates and methodologies in the field.

Course leader

Prof. Karel Davids, Prof. Inger Leemans, Dr Pepijn Brandon and guests

Target group

Advanced Bachelor’s/Master’s

Course aim

Learning objectives:
• You understand the long-term history of capitalism.
• You understand the relationship between large-scale economic changes and the social hierarchy, social tensions, creativity, consumer culture and spatial order in global cities.
• You are familiar with theoretical concepts and methodologies for the study of capitalism and urban developments.
• You are familiar with the interrelationships between the development of Amsterdam and the history of capitalism.

Credits info

45 contact hours

Fee info

EUR 1150: Included in the tuition fee are:

• Airport pick-up service
• Orientation programme
• Course excursions
• On-site support
• 24/7 emergency assistance
• Transcript of records


• Early bird discount of €150
• €250 discount for students from partner universities.
• 10 scholarships available that cover the full tuition fee of one course.
• Combine 2 courses: €100 discount.
• Combine 3 courses: €200 discount.

Register for this course
on course website