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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools


Revitalization of the Dutch countryside

Unfortunately, this summer school has been cancelled and applications will no longer be accepted.

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Can walking be a radical activity?

The interdisciplinary summer school Walkscapes sets out in the Dutch countryside, and challenges walking as a radical research practice to think critically about the spatial visions for its sustainable future and revitalization.

The countryside is rapidly transforming all around the world. The North of the Netherlands showcases an exciting case by providing a particular landscape with water-land relations, the interlinkages between urban and rural settlements, and agricultural production, and demonstrating typical challenges of climate change, sea level rise, biodiversity loss, and migration.

The Abe Bonnema chair of the Faculty of Arts will host Walkscapes at Wongema, a one-of-a-kind meeting location at the Northern edge of the Groningen region and the Wadden Sea World Heritage. The core of the summer school program revolves around multiple walks in the region, offering kaleidoscopic perspectives of the countryside and diverse experiences from pilgrim routes to mudflat hiking. Additionally, participants will gain insights through expert lectures to learn and local narratives. The program also includes daily hands-on workshops for translating observations and stories into spatial discoveries.

Over the course of one week, you will use walking as a method to understand, connect, and engage with the Dutch countryside. Walking will act as a catalyst for a total sensory immersion in experiencing the landscape, places, and pathways. You and your fellow participants will look at the past and present, collect, learn, and observe encounters, stories, phenomena, and conditions related to the region's heritage geography and local culture, and think, reflect, and discuss its spatial future.

This summer school is linked to the Master History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism.

Practical information

30 June - 6 July 2024
Hornhuizen, The Netherlands

BA (Final year), MA, PhD


€800 / €950 (accommodation included)

The fee covers registration, lectures, six nights accommodation, meals and soft drinks, and excursion costs. It does not cover travel costs to/from the Netherlands, local transport, and personal expenses.

The two different fees are based on selecting different room arrangements, i.e., in the shared “attic” or a double room (limited availability) at Wongema in Hornhuizen.

Academic coordinators

Zef Hemel (Faculty of Arts, RUG)

Gamze Saygi-Woering (Faculty of Arts, RUG)

Harry den Hartog (Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment, TU Delft)




This interdisciplinary summer school is developed for the final year bachelor students and postgraduate students at (research) master and PhD levels who are interested in sustainability, countryside, and spatiality. The target group includes but is not limited to, students from disciplines such as spatial planning, urbanism, architecture, history, heritage, landscape studies, and human geography.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Course schedule

Preliminary Schedule

DAY 1, June 30, Sunday 

  • Afternoon: Arrival

  • Welcome drinks and an ice-breaking game

  • Dinner and invited talk by Ineke Noordhoff on the history of the Wadden region – narratives as lived experience.

DAY 2, July 1, Monday

  • Morning: Day walk to the West. Walking to the Westpolder and from Lauwersoog along Lauwersmeer National Park, the natural border between the provinces of Groningen and Friesland.

  • Meet (former) landowners

  • Meet with Patty Wageman, director of Groningen Historic Churches Foundation and discuss recreational walking and pilgrimage routes, particularly the pilot of Ziltepad.

DAY 3, July 2, Tuesday

  • Morning: Workshop: landscape sketching and planning

  • Day walk to the East, inland. Walking and sketching, including a visit to Verhildersum Estate Leens

  • Evening: Dinner and talk by Harry den Hartog on the walking countryside in China

DAY 4, July 3, Wednesday

  • Morning: Day walk to the South, pilgrimage experience, Pieterpad from Winsum to Groningen. Walking back to the past with digital maps and creative mapping

  • Evening: City tour or scavenger hunt in Groningen from 5 pm to 7 pm

DAY 5, July 4, Thursday

  • Morning Walking along the salt marshes by the Wadden Sea

  • Afternoon: Mudflat hiking (around 10km) starting at 2 pm, direction to the Negenboerenpolder

  • Evening Dinner and movie screening

DAY 6, July 5, Friday

Daylong group study, working on storytelling in a chosen creative medium based on the observations, recordings, encounters, and thinking, reflecting, and discussing ideas on the revitalization of the countryside.

DAY 7, July 6, Saturday

  • Morning: Group presentations, discussion, evaluation.

  • Midday Closure

This schedule may be subject to change.

Learning outcomes

After this course you will be able to:

1. Understand the spatial challenges related to sustainability in the countryside – outside the metropolitan regions

2. Recognize the values, qualities, and characteristics of the Dutch landscape

3. Discuss problems and potentials for revitalization at different spatial levels


Preliminary reading assignments: 8 hours
Walkshops and lectures: 40 hours
Presentations: 8 hours

Upon successfully completing the program, the Summer School offers a Certificate of Attendance that mentions the workload of 56 hours (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions; therefore, the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

Application procedure

Unfortunately, this summer school has been cancelled and applications will no longer be accepted.

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form. Please note that you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
  • Motivation letter, clearly stating why you want to join this summer school, what you will bring to the school and what you hope to learn (max. 1 page)

The deadline for application is 15 April 2024. Selected applicants will be informed by 22 April 2024. Please keep in mind that there are only 15 places available for this summer school.

Last modified:01 May 2024 2.49 p.m.