Since 1996 Comenius has been organising, together with leading universities and research institutes from Europe, America and China, courses that are rooted in the academic tradition of research and dialogue. The courses draw on the classic sources of wisdom and are inspired by the seven liberal arts or septem artes liberales

Comenius Courses are intended for executives: experienced directors and managers from the public and private sectors such as chief executives and executive board members, supervisory board members, (staff) executives, senior partners and business unit managers.

To be eligible for a Comenius Course, an academic level of professional and educational experience is required.

Participants who have successfully completed a Comenius Course will join the alumni network: the Comenius Academy. Exclusive activities and lectures ensure that the inspiration, reflection and insights which have been acquired during a Comenius Course stay vital and relevant.

The Comenius alumni or ‘Comenians’ are strong people with a clear vision. They share a strong ambition and drive; they have an open and enquiring mind and a broad perspective. Together they are free thinkers, who ‘want to explore everything’.

Comenius is affiliated with the University of Groningen and is accordingly also a member of the Coimbra Group, an association of Europe‘s best, multi-disciplinary universities. The Coimbra Group provides access to the League of European Research Universities.

The AOG Foundation (for Groningen Academic Courses), which was founded in 1988 by the Board of the University of Groningen, supervises the academic quality of the Comenius courses.

Comenius was founded in 1996 and is affiliated with the University of Groningen.
Besides the National Comenius Course, Comenius also developed the European Course in 2000. For this Course, Comenius has been collaborating intensively with Europe’s most prestigious universities such as the Catholic University of Leuven, University of Cambridge, University of Bologna, Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and Charles University in Prague.
In 2003 Comenius expanded with the development of the American Comenius Course, through which Comenius now closely collaborates with Harvard University, Yale University, University of Stanford and the University of California in Berkeley.
The year 2008 saw the introduction of the Chinese Comenius Course. For this, a strong collaboration has evolved with leading professors from Peking University and Tsinghua University in Peking and Fudan University in Shanghai.
In 2012 the Comenius Course 'Wisdom in Leadership’ started. ‘Wisdom in Leadership’ provides a solid foundation, using the rich academic tradition as well as the search for personal fundamental principles. Sources of inspiration and teachers provide anchors on the path towards learning to listen to the inner voice and to learning to discover new personal space.

Jan Amos Komensky: Comenius

The collaborative and cross-disciplinary approach of Comenius Courses is inspired by the thinking and writing of the great European uomo universale and teacher Jan Amos Komensky (1592-1670). He believed inspirational leadership to be vital, especially in times of chaos and disorder. He called on leaders to see the interconnectedness of separate problems and to collectively strive towards solutions through oversight and vision. In this regard he stated that there is nothing on earth that man with the gift of his senses and mind wouldn’t be able to do.

Comenius, who was born in 1592 in what is known today as the Czech Republic, was himself the classic example of the ‘homo universalis’: the founder of modern pedagogy. His educational ideas are still used throughout the world and form the foundation of the Comenius Courses.

When Komensky wrote his masterpiece Labyrinth of the World in 1623, he imagined the world as a city whose streets represent the different streams in society. Although the separate streams seemed clear and unambiguous in their behaviour, disorder and alienation prevailed in the city; the people at street level just could not see the other streams. Comenius advised his readers to climb a tower and to observe from there the chaos and folly, but also the interconnectedness of the different streams.

These observations are according to Comenius the basis for science, wisdom and effective decision-making. The ability to first see and observe and think inductively, to interpret and subsequently understand is essential to Comenius’ vision and legacy. This ability is the only thing, he states, that can lead our intellect to wisdom and insight.


Confucius once wrote that knowledge is not true wisdom: “True wisdom goes beyond knowledge”. This is a sharply defined statement, yet it’s not clear-cut. But it is something that we recognise.

More and more executives notice that wise and experienced leadership also requires reflection in addition to knowledge and analytical ability, and that distance and the courage to suspend the forming of an opinion or judgement is also required. And this is also about the willingness to think across the disciplines.

They see that giving space to others and to different views sharpens one’s own vision, bolsters support and optimises achieving results. Looking with an open mind at the other side of the coin and the interconnectedness of things is fundamental in this respect. The same as the willingness to see vision, strategy and realisation as parts of an evolutionary process: never static or absolute, but flowing and dynamic.

Comenius will be happy to guide you during this process of exploration and enquiry. We will do this with attention and dedication and by providing high-quality academic courses. For these courses we have put together a faculty with excellent and inspired researchers, from the Netherlands and abroad. We have moderators who have the required expertise and who will provide personal attention in facilitating your learning path.

Comenius pays a lot of attention to how the groups are put together. For this we bring together people from different backgrounds in the public and private domains, who have an academic level in their thinking and work and who have a more or less similar attitude or mindset. Comenius sees its groups as a 'micro-cosmos' which reflects the complexity and interactivity of society (‘macro-cosmos').

The traditional focus of the classic university is on:

  1. The development of cross-disciplinary and fundamental knowledge;
  2. Multi-faceted education (and therefore not only 'cold', intellectual development);
  3. Orientation on fundamental questions which yield ground-breaking insights;
  4. A learning environment in which learning from each other is important.

Central ingredients in the development of vision and leadership in the Comenius Courses are:

  1. Paradigms and paradigmatic changes. The ability to critically examine and redefine contexts as a basic feature of leadership;
  2. Diversity, complexity and cohesion. Insight into the connectedness between different knowledge areas, observations and ‘truths’ as a prerequisite for leadership;
  3. 'Universitas'. Considering the different insights and experiences between participants as the building block of methodical experience and learning.


Comenius invites reflection on one’s own leadership, on contemporizing this and expanding the repertoire of 'modes' that are required for leadership and vision in leading positions. To do this Comenius chooses a method 'from within', strives to touch you and make you look at the world in a different way.

Unlike other business schools, which mostly operate from business-economic principles, Comenius is based on principles of the classic, cross-disciplinary university. The university traditionally stimulates the development of interdisciplinary and fundamental knowledge, multi-faceted education, orientation on fundamental questions which yield ground-breaking insights, and a learning environment within which learning from each other is also important. Comenius sees this academic tradition as a source of inspiration and innovation.

Leading academics give thought-provoking lectures which stimulate self-reflection and invite you to review trusted views. Philosophers train you in the Socratic dialogue, in which quick judgements are replaced by listening, interpretation and analysis.

Experienced moderators facilitate the learning process of the participant. They also foster interaction among the participants and create a trusted, safe and open atmosphere: that of an inspirational haven. For the European leadership course, the Chinese leadership course and the Santa Fe Institute leadership course there is also a 'module coordinator' besides the moderator. The module coordinator is an authority in the relevant knowledge area, who positions the different speakers and who monitors the academic quality of the course.

Leadership Courses

Wisdom in Leadership

Head and heart, wonder and introspection.

  • Acting from a state of tranquillity and balance
  • Trusting your inner voice
  • Connecting with those around you

The Wisdom in Leadership course connects the head to the heart, focusing on the key concepts of tranquillity and balance, wonder and introspection.

This unique course offers you the opportunity to step inside and reach your true self. Inside, that is where you find the real potential to allow your natural leadership to grow. By combining the academic world with personal themes, you learn to listen to your inner voice and ‘rethink your thinking’.

National Leadership Course

Inspire, reflect, act
  • Step outside the prevalent mindset
  • Be the force behind fundamental change
  • Fine tune contexts and strategy design

Based on their personal vision and life experience, top academics couple new insights and ethical dilemmas with challenging reflections on people, society and the future. Applying this method, the National Leadership Course both challenges and offers more depth, strengthening your ability to think flexibly, make nuanced judgements and act prudently, to move beyond the accepted horizon. This is the ‘classic’ Comenius course. It is an ‘academy’ in the classic sense of the word, a sanctuary for learning, in this case for executives who want to take their leadership a notch higher.

European Leadership Course

Vision and leadership in an international perspective
  • Distinguished researchers from across Europe
  • Seven leading universities
  • Astute reflections on the future, society and organisations

The European Leadership Course is an international executive programme that enriches and inspires leaders to take a creative, innovative approach to change by applying an integrated vision of management and entrepreneurship.

Leading researchers at the universities of Bologna, Cambridge, Groningen, Heidelberg, Istanbul, Leuven and Prague challenge you to engage your perceptivity and reflective thinking. Inspiration is once again given its rightful place, as the force behind thinking and acting.

Experiencing being a part of the university, visiting vibrant cities full of life and bustling with students, feeling the passion of lecturers; this is what makes the European Leadership Course an intense, unforgettable experience.

Chinese Leadership Course

Resolute, reflective leadership
  • Expand your perspective
  • Boost your capacity to innovate
  • Bring about fundamental change
  • Developing vision and leadership

China is increasingly setting the international agenda and, accordingly, shaping the Dutch reality too. It is no longer the question whether China will be a world power — the question now is, what does this mean for us and how do we deal with this? China is expanding the current transport routes and increasing its influence in Southern and Eastern Europe.

China has gained a controlling stake in the Port of Piraeus in Greece and is developing it rapidly. This has immediate consequences for the Port of Rotterdam and for the Dutch economy. Football club ADO Den Haag may be seen as the pride of The Hague, but these days it is in the hands of a Chinese company. We need to learn to relate to China, in all its complexity and with all its paradoxes — only then will we really be able to understand this country.

Santa Fe Institute Leadership Course

Complexity Science
  • Transdisciplinary thinking
  • Autonomous processes, organisms and phenomena
  • Santa Fe Institute & Business Network, New Mexico (USA)

The Santa Fe Institute (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA) is the international centre for ‘Complexity Science, interdisciplinary research into seemingly autonomous processes, organisms and phenomena. Here, top researchers come together and expand boundaries. During this course, they will discuss in detail their ground-breaking results, their doubts and their failures. The Santa Fe Institute Leadership Course will sharpen your view on how the world develops and functions and your responsibility in all of this.

Middle East Leadership Course

Wise, people-centred leadership
  • Knowledge, context and interpretation
  • Courage and daring
  • Reflection on politics, culture and religion
  • Spirituality and poetry
  • Leadership that unites

This new international executive programme, which focuses on wise and people-centred leadership, comprises three multi-day modules held abroad and four 1-day reflection meetings in the Netherlands. The foreign modules will take place in Jerusalem, Amman and Teheran.

Participants in the Middle East Leadership Course will explore the 'hearts and minds' of the Middle East and examine the multi-faceted political, cultural and religious reality of the region. Reflection on the West’s view of the East and vice versa is a crucial element in this course. This course provides depth and context to current issues connected to the cradle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.



dr. Eric van der Vet

dr. Ineke van Halsema

dr. Ronald Elte

drs. Charles van Megen

drs. Cock Aquarius

drs. Eric Verwaal

drs. Frank van den Ende

drs. Fred Veerman

drs. Henk Schildkamp

drs. Ivo Korte

drs. Jos van Deursen

ir. Kick Visser

mr. Jan Willem Weck

mr. Pim Perquin

Collaboration between universities

Comenius is affiliated with the University of Groningen and is also part of the Coimbra Group, an association of thirty-seven European multi-disciplinary universities. The Coimbra Group gives Comenius access to the League of European Research Universities.

In its courses Comenius collaborates with leading universities and research universities. For the European leadership course these are the universities of Bologna, Cambridge, Groningen, Heidelberg, Istanbul, Leuven and Prague. Partners in the Chinese leadership course are Peking University and Tsinghua University in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai. Partners in the American leadership course are the Ivy League universities Yale and Harvard and the universities of Stanford and Berkeley. Since 2011 Comenius has worked closely with the Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe (New Mexico, USA). Each year during the first week of November, the Institute together with Comenius organises an intensive course which focuses on Complexity Science.

Comenius works together with:




Pieter-Matthijs Gijsbers

Managing Director

Monica Bakker

Program Developer

Martijn Mandey

Program Developer

Jurgen van Nimwegen

Program Developer

Margriet van Ast

Program Developer

Yassine M'Rabti

(Online) Marketing Strategist

Cathelijn Hoekstra

Communication Manager

Clara Smits

Advisor Comenius Courses

Ingrid Kabout

Program Coordinator

Juliette Lugt

Senior Program Coordinator

Tamara van der Noll

Program Coordinator


At the moment there are no vacancies.

Comenius is always looking for talent. An open application control is therefore always possible.
We want to know who wants to work with us and why. Initiative, we appreciate it.
Interested? Sends your data Thanks for your comment.



Buitenplaats De Heiligenberg
Heiligenbergerweg 5
3833 AC Leusden


T: 088 - 556 11 60


Clara Smits
T: 033 - 422 99 29


voor wie alles al denkt te weten