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The tuition for this course is € 1,150.

Tuition includes an opening reception, seminars with BESS faculty, required readings, and an excursion in Amsterdam.

The excursion is coordinated with Black Heritage Amsterdam Tours.

Tuition does not include housing, food, or travel to and from Amsterdam.


All students who attend and successfully complete the Black Europe Summer School will receive a certificate of attendance.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Program


Now in its 16th year, the overall goal of this intensive two-week course is to examine the contemporary circumstances of the African Diaspora in Europe. We explore the origins of Black Europe and investigate the impact of the historical and colonial legacies of European countries on policies, practices, and legislation today. Our primary point of departure is to evaluate the experiences and activities of Black people in Europe as citizens, in opposition to the assumptions made by most governments, universities, and policymakers in Europe.


This course addresses the dimensions of race and ethnic relations that are unique to Europe, examining the ways that conceptions of the “other” are institutionalized and reproduced: the rise of xenophobia in various EU countries; issues such as global racisms, everyday racism, and epistemic racism; the legal definitions and discourse surrounding the conceptualized “other”; and the ways each country has dealt with issues of race and national identity. We foreground the actions, activities, and mobilization of Black people and community organizations in Black Europe. The interactions of race, class, gender, and sexuality on the lives of Black people in Europe are central analytics. Students and scholars from the social sciences and humanities, policymakers and community activists, and those active in Black and multiracial organisations and NGOs working against racism and xenophobia in Europe are encouraged to apply.


The format of the course includes lectures by a range of academic experts on various aspects of Black Europe, as well as presentations by local community activists, educators and organizers. We also include a visit to a local Black community organization and a trip on the Black Heritage Amsterdam Tour. You will have the opportunity to meet a range of people researching, teaching or actively involved in community organizations across the continent.

1) Organization

BESS is an institutionally independent program, which means that we do not receive any funding from any universities, foundations, or other organizations. The program is entirely self-funded through participant tuition payments. This puts significant constraints on what we are able to offer.

2) Location

The location of the summer school in Amsterdam is:


International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE)

Lombokstraat 40

1094 AL Amsterdam

The Netherlands


T +31 (0) 20 671 72 63


This area is a safe, multicultural neighbourhood with many stores that sell food, electronics, and other supplies less than a few hundred yards from IIRE.

3) Tuition Fees

The tuition for BESS is 1150 Euros. This fee includes, lectures, an excursion with the Black History Amsterdam Heritage Tour, and administrative costs.


Once participants have paid and received a BESS Welcome Letter, the tuition fee is non- refundable.  If they are unable to attend, then participants can defer their tuition payment to a future year. Participants can also transfer their fee to pay for a different participant.

4) Scholarships

Unfortunately, BESS does not have the funds to offer scholarships for participants. We encourage participants to explore all the options available in their home countries and home institutions to secure funds.

5) Excursion

The BESS excursion is organized in collaboration with Black Heritage Amsterdam Tours (BHAT), whose director is the inimitable Jennifer Tosch—a native of California and graduate of UC Berkeley whose mother is from Suriname. Jennifer took part in BESS in 2013 and decided to stay in Amsterdam, where she has lived ever since. Her tours began in 2013 and have been attended by thousands of people, including such prominent names as Dr. Angela Davis, Lonnie Bunch (director of the  National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.), Professor Catherine Hall, and many others. But you don’t have to be a luminary to take part in the excursion. Hundreds of BESS participants have done so since the tours first began.


6) Certificate

BESS participants receive a formal certificate at the completion of the course.

7) Health Matters

BESS participants are responsible for arranging their own health insurance and related matters. When you arrive in Amsterdam, BESS will provide information on the location of nearby doctors, drugstores, pharmacies, and hospitals in Amsterdam.

8) International Travel

BESS participants are responsible for their travel arrangements, including tickets and visas (if applicable).


You can get to IIRE from the airport easily by train (see:, and tram/bus (see:, or airport shuttle (see: You can also take a taxi or rideshare but this will cost at least 60 Euros each way.

9) Local Travel

BESS will provide information on local transportation system and network.


Local travel in Amsterdam is quite easy, since Amsterdam has a very efficient public transport system with buses, trains, and trams. Another possibility is to buy or rent a bicycle and bike your way through the city. This a very good option, because Amsterdam is very bicycle friendly and has bike paths running throughout the city. You can rent a bike at different locations including:


For further information on public transportation, you can check:


10) Housing

BESS does not provide housing directly. But the location of BESS (IIRE) has a hostel facility with quadruple rooms for up to 20 people. BESS will serve as an intermediary, registering those BESS participants who want to stay at IIRE hostel and passing on the housing list to IIRE. But participants will have to pay their housing fees directly to IIRE.


BESS participants are responsible for identifying and obtaining their own housing. There is a wide range of housing available in Amsterdam, but prices vary a great deal depending on location and can be quite high—especially during the summertime, when the program takes place. As a courtesy, several options are offered here to get you started. BESS does not officially endorse any of the housing options suggested here.


  • Internal housing at International Institute for Research and Development

The price for a bed in a four-person room is € 400-500 for the complete duration of the summer school. These are 12 or 13 nights depending on your arrival date (either the 24th in the afternoon or the 25th in the morning). If you want to come earlier and/or stay longer, the remaining costs are not included in the price but we can try to reserve the room for the complete duration of your stay. The price includes free wireless internet and bed sheets. Breakfast is excluded, but you can buy breakfast at the hostel next door or a nearby café. Towels are also excluded, but you can buy them for € 4,50 at the hostel. The advantage of this option is that you do not have to travel, and you will be located in a central part of Amsterdam. Please note, however, that there are no private rooms available in the IIRE building. You can contact IIRE directly at:


  • StayOkay Amsterdam Zeeburg Hostel

This is a hostel adjacent to IIRE, located at:

Timorplein 21

1094 CC Amsterdam

T: (+31) (0)20 551 31 90


  • Student-to-student Housing Portal

You can also find a room within your own price range using the student-to-student housing portal. This portal is specifically meant for exchange and internship students. Their website is:


  • Craigslist

The third option is to find a place to stay through this U.S. website ( Dutch students do not typically look for rooms in Amsterdam on this site, so you will have a fair chance of find accommodation. Also, you are assured that the person who offers their room has experience with international, English-speaking people and students. Just like the website, you have the possibility of finding your own housing within your own price range.


  • Other Housing Websites


The advantage of these housing websites is that you can decide where you want to stay and how much you are willing to spend. However, the location of your room may be far from the IIRE building, and you are responsible in the event that something goes wrong. You should also be extremely cautious when using Craigslist or similar websites. While most advertisers are legitimate, many scammers use such websites as well. You should particularly be wary with responses to ads you placed yourself. Please do not sign any contracts or pay money before you see the room in question. Additionally, please do not deal with people who claim to be acting on behalf of the owner (who is likely said to be abroad) and do not provide personal banking details.

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