Which impacts does tourism have on the social, cultural, environmental, and spatial characteristics of an area? How do tourists influence and are influenced by places and cultures?
How can tourism geography with its long tradition in researching human's activities, behaviours, and impacts in place, time, and space help in understanding the challenges that contemporary tourism is facing? You will tackle these questions and study the interactions between tourists, visitors, local communities, and the natural, and build environment in detail in the Tourism Geography and Planning track.
Tourism is a global phenomenon with important regional and local impacts. Due to a large number of tourist trips and the possible economic influences, tourism development is often seen by policymakers as an important strategy for regional development. As COVID-19 has shown, tourism is a fragile phenomenon: it can suddenly come to a grinding halt leaving communities that rely on tourism without means to sustain their livelihood. Moreover, before COVID-19, tourism had reached a level that threatened that same heritage (both human and natural) on which it depends.
The Tourism Geography and Planning track offers critical insights into the role of the tourism sector in such liveability and identity questions. It offers international, place-based, critical, and research-oriented approaches. In line with the teaching and research philosophy at RUG/Campus Fryslân, the track’s approach to tourism is transdisciplinary involving disciplines such as history, anthropology, psychology, spatial planning, and hospitality studies in the curriculum and dialogue with global and local actors in (sustainable) tourism development.
Through these theoretical perspectives, you will develop the capacity to understand, analyse, and evaluate complex problems related to (sustainable) tourism development and planning.
Why study this programme in Leeuwarden?
The University of Groningen is the only university in the Netherlands that offers a Master in Cultural Geography. It is one of the few masters taught in Campus Fryslân. Your compulsory courses are taught in Leeuwarden. Students are trained with the necessary critical, analytical, methodological and theoretical tools to contribute to place-related liveability in society. Career perspectives vary from governments, NGOs and corporate roles.
Fieldwork Cultural Geography (5 EC)
Place, Regions & Identities (5 EC)
Tourism and Culture (5 EC)
Nature, Landscape & Heritage (5 EC)
Tourism and Regional Development (5 EC)
Master's Thesis Cultural Geography (20 EC)
Qualitative Research Methods (5 EC)
Tourism Planning & Practice (5 EC)
Social Impact Assessment (5 EC)
Cultural Geography (graduation track)
Study abroad is unaccommodated
English on VWO level
IELTS overall band 6.5, no less than 6.5 on each section
Reading: 21 (19-23)
Listening: 21 (20-23)
Speaking: 21 (20-22)
Writing: 24 (24-26)
Cambridge English: Cambridge certificate C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency (formerly known as CAE/CPE)
Please note that TOEFL MyBest Scores are not considered in the Admissions procedure
An exemption can be given by the Admission Board.
Academic Bachelor degree in geography, social sciences or tourism studies, with some background knowledge in Geography, including at least 10 ECTS in statistics and research methods. Research Universities bachelor degrees in Social, Rural, Human Geography and Urban and Regional Planning; Tourism; Environment and Infrastructure Planning; Sociology; Social Psychology; Landscape Architecture; Cultural Anthropology; International Relations; Land Use Planning.
For international students: The programme is open to students with an academic bachelor degree in geography, or social sciences with some background knowledge in geography, including at least 10 ECTS in statistics and research methods.
After your studies
Graduates can apply their knowledge internationally and locally as:
Policy analysts in governmental offices
During the programme at the University of Groningen, we offer support for your career preparation.
The research at the Department of Cultural Geography is strongly embedded in the research programme of the Faculty of Campus Fryslân.
It is labelled ‘tWIST: Towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation’. Central in this research are experiences of local communities around the globe. The research in Cultural Geography focuses on place, identity and wellbeing and includes population decline and healthy ageing.
Topics of recent research projects are:
Ageing and wellbeing;
Innovation and rural transformation;
Socio-spatial consequences of population decline;
Heritage; the evolution of the historical landscape;
Nature and health;
Entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility;
Housing and the living environment of the different groups in society;
Social impact assessment;
Social aspects of new technologies;
Social aspects of agriculture;
Social aspects of natural resource management;
Tourism and (cross-border) regional development; film and music tourism.
The research projects deal with the relations between people and place. Knowing your own 'place' is of fundamental importance for the formation of human identity and well-being. Cultural expressions such as art, architecture, rituals and language, and our knowledge and appreciation of nature and landscape interact with the physical environment to form our life stories and the liveability of places. Therefore, the ways in which we construct space and place are physical manifestations of both our imagination and our self-awareness. This perspective allows you to understand and explain differences between places, communities and the spatial behaviour of humans.
Our research is strongly empirical. Students will become familiar with qualitative and quantitative research methods during the Master, applied to the topics of place attachment, identity and liveability. Innovative research methods such as visual methodologies and location-based applications (social or soft GIS) can be used for the Master Thesis.