Conference organisation

WALS 2019 is organised by WALS and the Dutch host organisations VU Amsterdam, University of Groningen, and University Utrecht in collaboration with Leids Congres Bureau.


Three outstanding universities 

Leading organizing university is VU Amsterdam. Ever since it was founded in 1880, VU Amsterdam has been known for its distinctive approach to knowledge. VU is an open organization, strongly linked to people and society. What matters is not just the acquisition of a greater depth of knowledge, but also a wider one. We ask and expect our students, researchers, PhD candidates and employees to look further – to look further than their own interests and their own field, and further than what is familiar and further than the here and now. Academic research and education at VU is characterized by a high level of ambition, and encourages free and open communications and ideas. VU stands for universal university values such as academic freedom and independence, which is reflected in our name (‘VU’ is the Dutch abbreviation for ‘free university’): free from the church, state and any commercial interest. The basic philosophy of VU is expressed in three core values: responsible, open, and personally engaged. The teacher training institute of VU Amsterdam is LEARN!, a multidisciplinary institute, that comprises both pedagogical, neuropsychological as well as applied educational studies. Many research projects are carried out in direct collaboration with societal partners (e.g. schools, universities of applied sciences, educational industry and others). The institute carries out both pure and applied research. LEARN! Academy has developed the first Lesson Study facilitator course in the Netherlands and carries out research on how to develop need-supportive teaching strategies for both academics and behaviour by collaboratively designing differentiated lessons.

The University of Groningen is an ambitious international research university with strong roots in the northern part of the Netherlands. With an academic tradition dating back to 1614 and a rich heritage, this university is a unique academic community with a strong sense of belonging and a culture of innovative education and research. Many very talented people in a variety of disciplines have studied or worked at the university during the 400 years of its existence, including four Nobel Prize winners, the first female university student in the Netherlands and the first female lecturer, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Bank. The department of Teacher Education is part of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (FBSS) where students coming from almost all faculties (17 subject matters) are trained to become fully qualified teachers in the Dutch upper secondary educational system. The department has a special interest in the professional development of beginning and experienced teachers. Research on Lesson Study focuses on its effectiveness in the Dutch context (schools and teacher education), the role of the facilitator, and the organization of Lesson Study in schools. Together, these different strands of research investigate the pedagogy and effective development of teacher learning.


Established in 1636, Utrecht University is the second largest university in the Netherlands. With seven faculties, 6,700 staff members among whom more than 600 full professors and a yearly budget of 810 million euros, Utrecht University serves a community of over 30,000 students. As a broad university, Utrecht University is working to contribute to a better world. Our graduates have the knowledge and skills to make a substantial contribution to society. Our research is ground-breaking and focused on solving major global issues. Our collaborative culture fosters innovation, new insights and societal impact. The core values of ambition, inspiration, commitment and independence form the basis of our university community. The Freudenthal Institute, part of the science faculty of Utrecht University, specializes in mathematics and science education. Its research focusses on teaching and learning mathematics and science, with a focus on the development of higher order thinking and reasoning skills and scientific literacy and citizenship. Together with the University’s Graduate School of Teaching, the Freudenthal Institute is responsible for the education of teachers in mathematics and science. In its master program Science Education and Communication, the focus is on educating research-oriented teachers who have an inquiry stance towards the process of teaching and learning. In this program, Lesson Study is one of the main instruments to develop this inquiry stance. In its Teaching and Learning Lab, the Freudenthal Institute has an advanced facility to experiment with educational innovation.