Dutch Estate organisation starts International Summer School

Middachten Castle, Netherlands
Middachten Castle, Netherlands Image: Kasteel Middachten Netherlands

The first edition of the sKBL International Summer School will start in 2020. Many associate England, France and Germany with beautiful castles and stretched-out rural estates. Within Europe, the Netherlands is not as often associated with this, even though contains hundreds of special castles, historic country houses and rural estates. The sKBL International Summer School wants to change this by focusing on this versatile Dutch monumental heritage with knowledgable participants of various nationalities. The organisation also aspires to create an international network of connoisseurs and professionals, which can be of great use to Dutch castles, country houses and rural estates.

The 2020 edition, which will be held from 3 to 11 July, is open for participants outside the Netherlands who are conducting professional research on topics that relate to the preservation and conservation of monumental heritage. It is important that we establish interaction between not only the participants, but also the owners of the domains to be visited. This way, knowledge, science and stories come together, and we can learn and enrich ourselves.

This (pilot) 2020 edition focuses on the historic country houses that have been built in large numbers in the area around Amsterdam in earlier centuries by merchants and aristocrats. This study programme will bring the participants to Amsterdam and to country houses in Kennemerland, the Beemster Polder, ‘s-Graveland and the Vechtstreek. Dutch experts and researchers will contribute with lectures and guided tours. Future editions may relate to the noble rural estates in Gelderland, the Noordelijke Lustwarande, castles in Limburg, the manors of Overijssel, and so forth. Furthermore, our organisation is searching for cooperation with Belgium, so that their monumental heritage can become part of this curriculum as well.

Practical points
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 August 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.

Due to the preparatory stage all costs are not yet fully clear, and the participation fee will be definitively announced on 1 August 2019, but will likely be around € 2,400.- and will comprise supervision, entrance fees, lectures, overnight stays, transport during the programme and most meals. The programme will start with a welcome cocktail and dinner on 3 July 2020 and ends on 11 July 2020 after breakfast.

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 for the sKBL Summer School 2020:
• 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 a motivation letter (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.

Applications can be sent to: sKBL International Summer School Board of Governors Attn. Mr. René W.Chr. Dessing Veerpoortdijk 105 6981 LA DOESBURG The Netherlands or by e-mail: rdessing@skbl.nl stating ‘application sKBL Intl. Summer School 2020’