Wrapping It All Up in a Dutch Ethnography


Only dyslexics can truly appreciate this spelling (Amsterdam Public Library).


Learning about how the Dutch teach sex ed at NEMO Museum, Amsterdam.


Finding all kinds of interesting items, foods, and people at the Albert Cuyptmarkt, Amsterdam.


When in Holland…


M.C. Escher Museum, The Hague

Another great week has included class day in Amsterdam, group swim in a Dutch community pool, and great excursion to The Hague.  Now the work is in the students’ hands as they prepare their individual research topics relating to the Dutch body into a final group ethnography to be presented tomorrow afternoon.  From there, it’s time to pack up and enjoy our final group dinner at an Indonesian restaurant where we will enjoy a traditional “rijstafel” (rice table). P1100973 P1100991 P1110002 P1110047


Going Dutch


Students enjoying the sun while waiting to hop on the row boats (just steps away from Rembrandt’s birthplace coincidentally on his 407th birthday!).

The students have acclimated to life in Leiden.  This week each student is narrowing their anthropological focus in preparation for the final ethnography project.  Dr. Peg has created great opportunities for the students to apply some of their new tools as anthropologists:  participatory observation and interviewing.  Below you’ll see some photos of their cultural explorations.


We biked to the North Sea to compare Dutch beaches to the US beaches.


Here Peg is explaining the unique landscape of Dutch polders on our way to visit a “volkstuin” (peoples garden).


Nicole and Lydia are well-prepared to interview a Dutch graphic designer and Dutch chef.

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Week One


Dr. Peg Alden teaching the students what tools ethnographers use to study culture.

We have had a wonderfully full first week in Leiden.  Peg and the students spend mornings in the classroom learning about anthropology and afternoons steeped in Dutch culture.

Wednesday we took the train north of Leiden to Enkhuizen to visit the open air Zuiderzee Museum.  Afterwards we headed to Amsterdam for a walking tour and group dinner at a lovely grand cafe.


Recess time!


Inside Pieterskerk where many of the original English settlers are buried who died in Leiden and never made it to new land of America.


Nolan and Ben observe the communal water pump shared by the poor residents who lived inside the almshouses in the 1600’s.


Leiden’s “Wall Poems” are scattered throughout the city in all languages. Here, Tyler recited William Shakespeare’s Sonnet.

Students are recording their anthropological observations in their daily journal entries.  Later in the week, we visited many almshouses hidden away in the peaceful courtyards throughout Leiden.  The almshouses exemplify the egalitarian aspect of Dutch culture.  Along the almhouse tour, we visited the Pieterskerk (Peter’s Church) neighborhood where John Robinson and the Pilgrim Fathers lived for 12 years before setting sail on the Mayflower to find a new way of life.


The train makes a great place to study. Here we are heading north to Enkhuizen.


Tyler reads the textbook, “The Low Sky” while riding the train under the low sky.


“Wave everyone!”….waiting for the ferry to take us to the Zuiderzee Museum to gain a historical perspective of Dutch life.


Peg encourages everyone to try smoked eel at the Ziuderzee Museum.


Nicole–taking in a restful moment along the canal.


Ben orients himself with a map during an independent assignment at Zuiderzee Museum.


Typical bridge in Amsterdam as Peg leads the group through the Red Light District.


The women note the thousands of bikes outside Amsterdam Central Train Station.


Students see first-hand how Dutch culture differs from American culture in the streets of Amsterdam.

Getting to Know Leiden

  • We arrived safe, sound, and a bit blurry-eyed yesterday, but we hit the ground running.  After a traditional Dutch meal Sunday evening, Peg got the students learning about anthropology in today’s first class.  After an introduction to Cultural Anthropology and  a ‘micro-mapping’ exercise, students had a lovely tour of the city by a Dutch student.  See some pics of our journey thus far.Amazing view from atop of The Burcht.Wonderful tour of Leiden by a Dutch student.Group dinner next to Pieterskerk.