Narratives of the past play a fundamental role in how cities are perceived and represented. Port cities like Rotterdam always have been places of cultural transfer and have witnessed a continuous flow of a wide variety of migrants, both temporary and permanent. The past decades have shown an increasing diversity in ethnic and religious groups, but also in socio-economic statuses among inhabitants with a migration background. Rotterdam hosts so many ‘minority’ migrants that it is now considered a superdiverse city. This superdiverse Rotterdam is put to test to demonstrate how to become an inclusive city. For Paul van de Laar, history professor, the challenge is to link Rotterdam’s migration narrative of the past to a convincing inclusive narrative of the contemporary city. What is the best way to reach that goal? Research has shown that musical engagement may have a positive impact on social inclusion. This is what the Summer School wants to explore.

The idea of this Summer School is based on the working-experience of Dr. Emese von Bόné (Erasmus School of Law) in Law and Opera combining the legal aspects in Opera (such as in the Carmen mootcourt performed with students of Erasmus School of Law & students of theater Hofplein). These musical performances have proven to be an ideal setting to experience dilemma’s which deal with injustice, (in)equality and diversity. For this Summer School we have chosen the West Side Story. This musical deals with diversity and inclusion but also with the social issues and economic circumstances. West Side Story was successfully screened in film theaters in 1961.The film is based on the play of Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim with music of Leonard Bernstein. The West Side Story is based on the love story of Romeo and Juliet (1595/96) of William Shakespeare and Bellini’s Opera I Capuleti e I Montecchi (1830). The relation between law and opera and a justified city which is more and more divers has been taken as an example: “West Side Story” portrays some of the problems our nation faces due to disparities in school funding, lack of equal educational and employment opportunities, and our willingness to turn our backs on countless children and their parents, most of whom are doing their best to make it with limited resources.”

Who can participate?

25 students of the EUR (Erasmus School of Law/Erasmus School of Economics/ESHCC/ESPHIL) will be selected for this Summer School. Workshops will be held, students will write their own narrative on the theme of the West Side Story, excursion to the Worldmuseum/Maritime Museum in Rotterdam, citytour (by bike or by foot) and social events will be organized. The Summer School is free and open for students from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Students starting Bachelor 3/Master can send a motivation-letter (with name, email, phone number, (year of) study, why you want to join the Summer School and when do you think the Summer School is for you a success?) to attend the Summer School before 30 June to [email protected] and [email protected].


Students of the Summer School will preside the sessions.

Thursday 26th of August @ Sanders-001 

09.15 Opening Summer School, Professor Semiha Denktas, Chief Diversity.

09.30-10.15 Paul van de Laar, Professor History of Rotterdam ESHCC, Rotterdam a superdiverse city.

10.15-11.00 Emese von Bόné, Assistant Professor Erasmus School of Law, The ‘West Side Story’ of Rotterdam in legal perspective.

11.15-1200: Gijsbert Oonk, Professor Social History ESHCC, Constitution of ‘Utopia’: case studies about inclusiveness and diversity (dilemma-game).


13.00-16.30: West Side Story/Workshop ♫♪♪♫♪♪♫♪♪

16.30: Campus: drinks and inclusive pastries from all over the world.

Friday 27th of August: social, cultural, legal & economic aspects of the ‘Rotterdam’- West Side Story

09.30- 10.15: Robert Dur, Professor of Economics of Incentives and Performance Erasmus School of Economics, Economics of inclusion and diversity with applications to the labor market.

10.15-11.00: Ayla Ekiz, prosecutor, district court Rotterdam: case study Rotterdam.

11.00-11.45: Sigrid Hemels, Professor Taxation Erasmus School of Law: Inclusive taxation or gender bias?

11.45-12.30: Wilma Franchimon, president board Codarts: Creative sector and the inclusive city.


13.30-15.30 Arlon Luijten, artdirector Codarts: Setup of the West Side Story & writing a libretto:

15.30-16.30 Writing a ‘prelude’ about the diversity in Rotterdam in the spirit of the West Side Story.

Inspiration: New York City (remake) “But I do think that young people in “New York today face different challenges. I think for West Side Story to matter, beyond being a period piece, it has to reflect the constant turmoil that shapes our lives here, now. Economic inequalities are far more extreme today than in the 1950s, and Manhattan is not as dominant in the vision of New York as it once was. Those physical and demographic changes might infuse a re-imagined current-day West Side Story placed in Jamaica, Queens or the South Bronx with young people trying to pay rent, find jobs, love and live boldly, in a wildly inequitable city.”

16.30-17.15 Poster-presentations

Closing Summer School by West Side Story/R’damHatten music band. ♫♪♪♫♪♪♫♪♪

Saturday 28th of August: Excursions

10.00 Campus EUR: city tour (by bike) in Rotterdam from the Northbank to Southbank.


14.00 Excursion Worldmuseum Rotterdam/Maritime Museum Rotterdam.