Historical Memory of Service-Learning in European Higher Education
Service-Learning in Netherlands
In the early 2000s, service-learning programs were not offered in the Netherlands. This changed in the academic year 2003-2004 when staff at the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University) introduced the first service-learning initiatives to their business students. Judith van der Voort, Lucas Meijs and Gail Whiteman grasped an opportunity to introduce service-learning in the Netherlands when they were invited to do a research on ‘can a USA educational approach involving nonprofit organizations also work in a different non-profit regime’. A course was developed and a research was conducted to show that the (perceived) USA concept of service-learning would also be valid and of value in a different institutional context. Interviews were conducted to evaluate the perceptions of Dutch students about this new form of education after participating in one of three different initiatives. The initiatives varied in degree of intensity, to find out if the perception changes when involvement increases. Fortunately, the result supported our expectations. Since that time, Rotterdam School of Management has offered service-learning courses every year. Recently, other faculties and universities in the Netherlands have started to introduce service-learning courses as well.