The Heart of Capitalism, Amsterdam from 1600 - Present

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Heart of Capitalism, Amsterdam from 1600 - Present

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Economics, European Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    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. 

    Advanced Bachelor

    The framework of this course 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, We will address questions such as  how the ups and downs of Amsterdam as a hotbed of capitalism affected the spatial, social and cultural development of the city   and  how the urban ambience influenced the role of Amsterdam in the capitalist world, especially in terms of city planning, social inequality, the role of cultural industries  In doing so, 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. Excursions to heritage sites related to Amsterdam’s history as the “heart of capitalism” will help you to place the subject in a historical and present-day context. 

    At the end of this course you will:

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

    Visits to Amsterdam Exchange and tours of the city centre.

    Interactive seminars, lectures, excursions

    Presentation, short paper

    Primarily students of Humanities and Social Sciences, but interested participants from other backgrounds are also welcome. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students with a wide variety of backgrounds.