New Europe - Cities in Transition - Project Internship



The student:

  1. Can conduct applied research for a client (Pakhuis de Zwijger) and present the data in accordance with the wishes of the client.
  2. Show in conference calls and a final presentation that he/she has knowledge of the transition in your EU city of exchange: the changing relation between the local authorities and its citizens and thereby understand the state of transition of shared ownership, social innovation and democratic renewal in the city of exchange;
  3. Has insight in the views of a range of disciplines on the subject (and for FGw, FMG, FdR and FEB students, apply theories of his/her own discipline).


As a participant you get:

  1. An extended network in your city of exchange (i.e. formal institutions like the embassy, NGO’s or grassroot movements);
  2. A look behind the institutional scenes in your city of exchange;
  3. The chance to present your results at Pakhuis de Zwijger for your fellow students the client and city makers.


This course is designed for bachelor students participating in an Erasmus exchange programme in a EU capital city. Students from all disciplines are welcome. For this course students will execute assignments for the Cultural organization Pakhuis de Zwijger ( Students are asked to act as ‘foreign reporter’ by generating data for the platform New Europe – cities in transition.

Everywhere in cities in The Netherlands, Europe and around the world small-scale initiatives arise. Initiatives that were invented by citizens who are formulating a local answer to questions concerning them as a community. This may lead to citizens engaged in reshaping health care in an alternative way, developing an area in the city in a cooperative way, creating employment in the neighbourhood, designing a street or square together and realizing local food production. And although apparently different birds of a feather, the transitional movement this illuminates could be brought back to questions around democratic renewal: who owns the city? Which actors are allowed to shape its appearance? How are participatory processes executed? And how do top-down institutions relate to the civic participation movement and social entrepreneurs?

Central question

The central question evolves around the relation between bottom-up City Makers and surrounding institutions within the city studied. How is active citizenship articulated, and against which institutional backdrop does it come about?

Assignment: Interviews with City Makers

Students will interview 4 City Makers that are actively involved in a citizen-driven initiative within the domains of the Smart, Sustainable, Makers, People and/or Physical City.

City Report

Students will participate in a public conference and present their findings based on the basic information and the interviews with City Makers. The investigation is commissioned by Pakhuis de Zwijger and their platform ‘Nieuw Amsterdam – Stad in transitie’ ( The UvA and Pakhuis de Zwijger will give you a head start by sharing all their relevant contacts and a kick-off lecture for all participating students before leaving for your exchange programme.

Preferably, students will further expand the network of City Makers and help to map more initiatives within the city studied.


UvA students can enroll from June 16 th onwards using the course code 5512NECI3Y in SIS. Register preferably before the 30 th of july.


Kick-off lecture organized by Pakhuis de Zwijger.

Pre-leaving lecture in which the first interviews will be discussed.

Online sessions with UvA exchange students in other European cities, moderated by the UvA and Pakhuis de Zwijger.


Conference presentation, participation in online sessions, interviews City Makers.


NB. Due to its practical character this course is not assed with the use of a grade scale. Students who successfully complete all course components will obtain 3 EC with the classification: fulfilled all obligations (‘AVV’).

Conditions for admission
Preliminary training necessary
3 ECTS, 6 months
Language of instruction
Starts in
January, September

Published by  Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies