sKBL International Summer School – general information

The Dutch Castles, historic Country Houses & Rural Estates Foundation (sKBL) is pleased to announce the first edition of the sKBL International Summer School 2020. This Summer School takes place from Friday, the 3rd to Saturday, the 11th of July 2020 and focuses on the many country houses in the Amsterdam region.

Although many people may not associate the Netherlands with beautiful castles, historic country houses and large-scale rural estates, hundreds of these are scattered throughout the Dutch landscape. sKBL was founded in 2014 to contribute to the preservation of this valuable heritage and the (international) exchange of knowledge about these monuments. sKBL also aspires to create an international network of connoisseurs and professionals, which can be of great value to Dutch castles, country houses and rural estates.

The sKBL Summer School 2020 is open for participants from outside the Netherlands who do research on topics that relate to the preservation and conservation of monumental heritage. Students are welcome as well. The (pilot) 2020 edition focuses on the historic country houses that were built between the 17th and 19th century around Amsterdam by many wealthy merchants and some aristocrats. The relationship between city and country will also be discussed. Participants will visit the city of Amsterdam and its country houses in Kennemerland, the Beemster Polder,
‘s-Graveland and the area around the river Vecht.

A range of Dutch scholars, experts and researchers will contribute with lectures and guidance during the tours. Participants will acquire knowledge on the 17th and 19th century metropolis of Amsterdam and the rise of Dutch country house culture. They will also gain an in-depth understanding of the connection and interaction between Amsterdam and the historical parks and houses in the surrounding area. The program offers ample opportunities for discussion and reflection.


The language used during the Summer School is English. We aim to attract as many foreign participants as possible, therefore the number of Dutch participants will be limited. In the admission assessment, the Board of Governors will ensure that the composition of the group will be well-balanced. Students are also welcome. The substantive programme also offers opportunities for discussions and reflection. The programme may be changed due to circumstances. The organisation of the Summer School does not (yet) have scholarships.

A minimum of 25 and a maximum of 40 people can participate in the Summer School. You can sign up from 1 September list t 2019. The application period closes on 1 April 2020. All registered participants will be notified whether or not they have been admitted before 30 April 2020. The participation fee must be paid before 31 May 2020. After 1 June 2020, free cancellation is only possible if a participant on a (possible) waiting list is willing to take a vacant place. The Board of Governors has the decisive vote in this. We do not communicate about admissions and rejections of candidates.

We will send a literature list to all participants for preparation purposes in advance. However, considering the fact that this monumental heritage is relatively unknown outside of the Netherlands, titles and articles are limited.

Participation of the sKBL International Summer School amounts to € 2.450,- and the surcharge for the use of a single room amounts to € 250,-. The organization will make a room layout based on the same sex. It includes the accommodation with breakfast, most lunches and dinners (excluding drinks), transfers by private coach, lectures and all entrance fees. Personal drinks during meals, travel guides and all other expenses during your hotel stay are at your own expense. The programme will start with a welcome cocktail and dinner on 3 July 2020 and ends on 11 July 2020 after breakfast with a transfer to Amsterdam. 

The Board of Governors regards this 2020 edition as an opportunity to gain experience. In doing so we can change or improve the admission requirements and/or future programmes. After the programme all participants are asked to fill out an evaluation before 30 September 2020.  

Admission requirements

  • Every participant is required to have a demonstrable professional involvement in fields that relate to the preservation or maintenance of castles, historic country houses and rural estates. This may be a scientific or other similarly professional or intellectual engagement. Other relevant (work) experience may also lead to admission. The Board of Governors of the sKBL Summer School will assess the admissions for the 2020 edition.
  • All participants are required to submit a curriculum vitae with both a motivation letter and letters of recommendation (in English).
  • Every participant must be able to demonstrate that they speak English.
  • Every participant must have completed, or must be currently enrolled in, higher professional education, academic education or a similar education. The Board of Governors reserves the right to deviate from this rule.
  • Participants must be physically able to join this intensive programme.
  • The sKBL Summer School is not in any way responsible for accidents or theft during this programme. We advise every participant to take an individual travel or cancellation insurance.

Although we try our very best to organise this programme in the best possible way, both in terms of content and organisation, we ask for your understanding that this will be the first edition of the sKBL International Summer School. 

Contact information

If you have any further questions on the study programme or any other practical questions, please send an e-mail to Lenneke Berkhout;