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German-Dutch Cooperation for Cross-border Academic Police Education

The German Police University and the Dutch Police Academy are driving forward cross-border academic higher education. During a two-week elective module, German and Dutch police officers studied together on the historic campus in Münster.

Dirk-jan de Groot (left) and Marcus Bramow on the campus of the German Police University

4. July 2024 "It was a match right from the start"

The focus topic was "Transformation of mobility – police and transport turnaround". Marcus Bramow, Lecturer for Special Tasks at DHPol, Unit Transportation Science and Traffic Psychology, and Dirk-jan de Groot, Coordinator in the team of lecturers at the Dutch Politieacademie, jointly led the course.

How did the cooperation between DHPol and Politieacademie come about?

Marcus Bramow: In October 2023, I approached our International Office and proposed the cooperation with the Dutch Police Academy. The advantages were obvious to me: first and foremost, we have a great deal of professional proximity. This applies to the subject of traffic, but also far beyond that. The location in Apeldoorn is also close to Münster, which has many practical advantages, and there is a certain cultural proximity. And so, Guido Kattert, Deputy Head of DHPol International Office, and I traveled to Apeldoorn for the first time around a year ago.

Dirk-jan de Groot: And it was a good match right from the start – professionally and personally! We have many topics in common. For example, we both face the question how we as police can deal with the traffic turnaround and make cities more inclusive, for example. In operational terms, there are numerous interfaces between Dutch and German police officers, particularly in the border regions. It therefore makes sense for us to also collaborate on selected topics from an academic perspective.

To what extent do students benefit from the joint elective module?

Marcus Bramow: The elective module has clearly shown how enriching different perspectives, experiences and approaches can be. On the one hand, there was the professional exchange between the students themselves, as well as the exchange during the lecture-free periods on campus. On the other hand, we had great speakers from both Germany and the Netherlands, such as Prof. Heather Kaths, Chair of Cycling, University of Wuppertal, who focused on cycling and Robert Hulshof from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, who addressed the strategic direction of cycling safety in the Netherlands. Further, the students were able to improve their language and intercultural skills.

Dirk-jan de Groot: The event was definitely challenging in the most positive sense of all, because teaching modules in English with colleagues from and in another country is not a matter of course. The good mix of students – police officers from large cities as well as more rural regions from the Netherlands and Germany – was also beneficial, as we were able to work on the topic from different angles and contribute our experiences. 

What are the plans for the future?

Marcus Bramow: We hope to repeat the module next year and, at best, make it a permanent part of our courses. The initial feedback from students has been very positive and I would be delighted if this module or similar courses were to become a natural part of the DHPol portfolio over the next few years. This pilot has shown: We have the knowledge, the infrastructure and great partners that such teaching formats work extremely well.

Dirk-jan de Groot: It was a very successful start to our German-Dutch cooperation for cross-border academic police education. The topic of transport transition and the police benefits enormously from scientific data and facts and we would do well to maintain the discourse across national borders.