Graduate School of Social Sciences

Programme information

The Urban Food Experience

As the course takes place in Amsterdam, we use the city both as a case to investigate, and as a laboratory to experiment in; part of this course consists in conducting ethnographic research, where students are stimulated to present their results in innovative ways. Amongst other things, we will explore in this course how we can use the performance of eating a meal to explore the meaning of food and foodways in the city.

The course is structured along two lines. The first is a  spatial-temporal axis, in which the relationship between cities and food is studied from a global and historical perspective in the first week, and zooms in to the scale of the person and the body in the final week. The second is  thematic: each meeting discusses food and the city from a different thematic starting point, such as entrepreneurship, or policy, whereby each successive week cuts across more and more ‘scales’ as we zero in on our present position on the spatial-temporal axis. 

Summer School studenten op dak Nemo

Photo: Maartje Strijbis

Study Load

The academic dates for the programme for the summer of 2018 will be announced. The programme schedule from Monday to Thursday includes:

morning lecture (2.5 hours)

lunch break (1 hour; provided by the University)  

afternoon workshop (2.5 hours; includes film screenings, debates, and city excursions).

On Fridays, participants will conduct independent research.


Included in the tuition price are thematic excursions that illustrate the current food experience in Amsterdam. During discussions in class with the lecturers and fellow students, parallels can be drawn and comparisons will be made to the students’ home countries. Site visits include:

  1. Film screenings
  2. Food Hallen
  3. Restaurants in and around Amsterdam
  4. Ethnic food shops/neighborhoods
  5. Amsterdam City Hall
  6. Urban Garden
  7. Rijksmuseum


For this programme, it is recommended that students rent a bike for the duration of their time in Amsterdam. The Urban Food Experience will take you to various locations across the city, and getting around by bike is the simplest way to navigate. Not an advanced cyclist? No worries: our alumna, Vanessa (2017) shares her experience.

"I was a little nervous when I found out that biking would be the main form of transportation, but in the end, I really enjoyed it! Everything is so close in Amsterdam that using a bike is usually faster than public transit, and the weather is so beautiful that it allowed me to really take in my surroundings. Biking is a huge part of daily life in Amsterdam, and its a great way to immerse yourself in the culture - biking is efficient, fun, and makes you feel like a local."


As a Summer Institute student you receive a participation certificate with an official seal from the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Students who wish to earn credits receive an official transcript stating the courses taken, credits earned and grades obtained. The programme is the equivalent of a 6 European Credits (or 3 American credits) module. Students are responsible for ensuring that their home university will accept the credits and final credit conversions need to be made by the home university.

Published by  GSSS Summer Programmes Office

8 November 2017