The Dutch are about as wealthy as Americans, but they drive only half as much -- and at the same time, they ride bikes for more than 25% of their trips, and enjoy world-class public transportation systems. Their traffic fatality rate is one third of the American rate, and nearly all middle school and high school students ride a bike to school. Learn how they design safe streets and ubiquitous bike paths, how they plan high quality public transportation (trains, trams, buses), and how they plan cities to support ABC (all-but-car) transportation. You'll ride a bike every day to get to / from class, on class field trips, and in your free time. You'll have a transit pass and enjoy riding their trains, trams, and buses on field trips as well as in your free time. We'll visit great examples of Dutch urban planning and bikeway / street design, including visits with city officials, planners, and consultants in Delft, the Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem, and other cities. You'll take lots of photos, make lots of measurements, and write blog posts explaining Dutch planning and design practice; you'll also do two design projects, applying what you've learned in Netherland to design great streets and spaces in the Boston area.

One field trip will be a bike ride touring the nearby countryside, includings a tour of a greenhouse with all the latest technology to be energy efficient and carbon neutral. We'll make two trips to the beach (traveling there once by bike, once by tram). We'll visit the home -- now a museum -- that was the headquarters of the Dutch resistance in Haarlem during WW2 and where many Jewish refugees were hid. We'll ride on electric and double-deck buses that provide "bus rapid transit" -- transit service as good as a metro, but using a bus. You'll ride on the most beautiful bike paths -- and when the class is over you won't want to say goodbye to your bike.

Group Flight Plan:

Application Procedure

  • Application Open: November 1, 2018
  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2019
Submit to GEO
  • GEO Application: All applicants must complete the GEO application. This is the first step for applying to any program.
  • $500 non-refundable deposit: Deposits must be paid through NUPay. Be sure to select the appropriate summer term.
  • Photocopy of Passport: This is to be given to your faculty leader after acceptance.
  • Essay Questions: Answer each question in 2-3 paragraphs (completed online via GEO application).
    • What are your personal and academic reasons for wishing to participate in this Dialogue of Civilizations program?
    • How will the program further your academic and career goals?
    • What is your previous travel and language experience, if any?
    • What courses have you taken which are directly relevant to the program?
    • 5. In what ways have you demonstrated an interest in urban transportation planning?

      6. Describe any significant volunteer service you’ve done.

Applications are not considered complete until deposit is received. This deposit will be applied to the full cost of the program.

Update My Travel Plans on myNortheastern
Once you have been accepted into the program and your the flight and accommodation details have been shared with you, you are required to create an entry in My Travel Plans for the trip. Please be sure to enter the following pieces of information:
  • Personal and Emergency Contact Info
  • HealthTravel Info: Dates, flight and accommodation details, etc.
  • Passport Details: Passport number, Expiration date, Passport Country of issue, etc.

Please refer to this step-by-step user’s guide for directions on how to navigate the My Travel Plans system.

Should you fail to complete this step as directed, you may be prevented from traveling, may not receive credit for courses, and/or may be excluded from participating in other Northeastern global programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Studying abroad requires a valid passport. You may also need a visa and/or other travel documents. It is your responsibility to ensure that all your documents are valid and appropriate to the nature of your program.

Minimum Requirements
  • Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.50
  • Minimum Semesters: Minimum of 2 completed Northeastern semesters at the time of program start date. NUin students are eligible to apply. Transfer and Global Pathways students contact GEO program coordinator for eligibility.
Other Requirements
  • Possible Student Challenges: You will be riding a bike daily. There is no need for exceptional fitness – we ride at a relaxed pace, and usually the distances are moderate, but some days, it can be tiring. It can rain often, and so we often have to ride in the rain; you’ll need to bring rain gear and a positive attitude. Students should be able to ride a bike confidently and be able to follow general traffic rules (e.g., keep to the right, yield when exiting from a driveway). Riding a bicycle carries some risk, of course, though much less in the Netherlands than in the US.


There is no better way to learn best practices in bikeway design, urban transportation planning, high quality transit planning, or safe street design than to see it where it’s on display, in Netherland. In the US, Netherland is known as the place with the most advanced urban planning, the best bikeway designs, and the safest / most pleasant street designs. American planners and transportation engineers all wish they could have a chance to visit and study the practices in Netherland — what you’ll get here will make you a really valualbe planner / engineer.

For non-engineers / non-planners, you’ll get to taste the fields of urban planning and transportation engineering (all majors are welcome because, after all, everybody is interested in urban transportation!). For those already in the field, you’ll get a whole new persepctive that will impact the rest of your career.

You’ll learn Dutch attitudes and priorities; you’ll learn about Dutch government (which is organized quite differently than American); and you’ll learn about general Dutch customs that will sometimes challenge your long-held customs.

Undergraduate Students
  • CIVE 4566 - Design for Sustainable Urban Transportation: European Perspectives : Examines how the design of Dutch transportation infrastructure promotes travel by foot, bicycle, and public transportation as opposed to private automobile, and how it promotes urban livability and traffic safety. Topics include bicycling infrastructure planning and design; “Vision Zero” traffic safety principles and design treatments for safe roads, intersections, and crossings; and high quality transit service planning and design. Through design projects, offers students an opportunity to apply lessons learned to the U.S. context. Taught in a study-abroad format in the Netherlands.
  • CIVE 4567 - Planning and Policy for Sustainable Transportation: European Perspectives : Taught in study-abroad format in the Netherlands or other European nation with exemplary bicycling and transit infrastructure. Examines how urban transportation planning in support of safe and sustainable transportation is practiced in the host country. Topics include route and network design for high quality transit operations, transit-oriented development including planning for large scale urban expansion, and developing car-free areas . Also examines policy regarding systematically safe road networks, including street and bikeway types and their role in enhancing livability and systematic safety.
Graduate Students
  • CIVE6566 - Sustainable Urban Transportation: Netherlands : Examines how Dutch communities and their transportation systems are planned and designed to promote ABC (all-but-car) transportation, traffic safety, and livability. Topics include design of urban bicycling infrastructure for the mainstream population; planning and service design for high quality public transportation; urban planning in support of transit, bicycle, and foot transportation, including both suburban development and urban redevelopment; Vision Zero/Systematic Safety policy and design for traffic safety and its application to urban areas. Taught in study-abroad format in the Netherlands.


Northeastern Tuition: $12,613
Dialogue of Civilizations Fee: $1,500
  • Northeastern Tuition and DOC Fee Includes: 8 Northeastern credits, international roundtrip airfare from Boston, accommodations for program duration, international security and emergency support, and program related expenses (local transportation, field trips, excursions and group meals)

Additional Estimated Expense: $1,341
  • Students should anticipate spending the following out of pocket expenses during the program:  $1,071 on meals and $270 on incidentals.

GEO offers scholarships and grants for students studying abroad on Dialogue of Civilizations programs. Please visit our Scholarships page for more info!


Additional Resources
  • Tentative Itinerary : This is a tentative itinerary for the DOC. A final itinerary will be provided to you by the professor in spring 2019.


Delft is a beautiful, historic town in which nearly 50% of all trips are made by bike. In a 10 minute bike ride from the center of Delft, you’ll be in the lovely Dutch countryside with canals, meadows, and (small) forests. Delft lies within the metropolitan area of the Hague and Rotterdam, both a 12 minute train ride away. The North Sea beach in The Hague, which we’ll visit twice, is a 1-hour tram ride (or bike ride) away.

The U.S. State Department lists travel advisories, local laws, alerts from the embassy, and other important information about the Netherlands here. Please review this information before applying.


  • Off-Campus through Program: You’ll stay in student housing in or near Delft. Classes will be held at Delft University; you’ll commute to/from class by bike. You’ll stay in university housing, meaning single rooms in a large building that may be in Delft or a neighboring city. There will either be a communal kitchen, or kitchen facilities in the room. There may be communal bath / toilet facilities, or private bath in the room. The building may house students from many universities. You’ll spend one night in a hostel when we visit Utrecht. Dorm room, communal bath.

Host University or Organization

Delft University is a large university; we’ll be hosted by the Transport & Planning department within the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geoscience.

Faculty Advisor