The Major Seminary of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam is the institute for priestly formation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is an ecclesiastical institute erected by the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam and arranged in conformity with the universal norms of the Roman Catholic Church for seminaries and priestly formation. As an ecclesiastical institute, it is not under the authority of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Ministerie van OCW), nor subsidized by this Ministry, but under the authority of the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam and the Congregation for the Catholic Education of the Holy See.
The Major Seminary of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam has the specific aim of the formation of priests. It offers a formation to men who want to be ordained (transient) deacon and priest in order to do pastoral work in the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam or in an ecclesiastical congregation or order. Thus the Major Seminary does not offer a general study of philosophy and theology, nor specific courses, nor a formation for ministries and functions as permanent deacon, pastoral worker, or religious teacher. It offers only a complete course of philosophy and theology to men who want to become a priest in order to work a number of years (at least five) or permanently in the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam.
The successfully completed formation gives to the foreign student the necessary knowledge and skills to do pastoral work as a priest in a parish of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam or in an ecclesiastical congregation or order. The Major Seminary also welcomes students for the priesthood, studying for other dioceses in the Netherlands.
Accreditation of the Philosophical-Theological Institute Saint Willibrord
The Major Seminary of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam is an accredited institute for priestly formation. The accreditation is not given by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), but by the affiliation with the Pontifical Lateran University (Pontificia Università Lateranense, PUL), Rome, in a comparable accreditation framework. The accreditation refers to the four-year theological curriculum of the Major Seminary, established by way of the Philosophical-Theological Institute Saint Willibrord. This institute provides the theological formation of the students of the Major Seminary of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam as well as of the students of the Diocesan Missionary Seminary “Redemptoris Mater”.
This four-year theology curriculum, in content, size, credit rating (ECTS), examination, teaching staff and supporting facilities, is in accordance with the standards of the Lateran University. The Lateran University verifies the quality of the formation. The four-year theology curriculum presupposes the two years philosophical formation according to the standard of priestly formation. This two year philosophical formation is also offered by the Major Seminary, but is not independently accredited.
On the basis of the completed two years of philosophy and the four years of theology along with the passed baccalaureate examination, the Lateran University grants the academic degree of ‘Baccalaureatus Sacrae Theologiae’ (Bacc.). This is the basic academic degree in theology at ecclesiastical faculties, giving access to the course of the licentiate and the doctorate. The baccalaureate is an ecclesiastical academic degree, recognized by all the ecclesiastical faculties, catholic universities, major seminaries and church institutes of higher education. It should not be confused with the academic degree of the ‘bachelor’. The academic degrees of ‘bachelor’ and ‘master’ in theology according to Dutch law cannot be acquired at the Major Seminary of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam.
Admission is possible for unmarried men, belonging to the Latin Catholic Church or an Oriental Catholic Church, who intend to become a Catholic priest. The foreign student can only ask for admission through an ecclesiastical authority or organization in his home country. He must have a written consignment or approval from the diocesan Bishop of his home diocese or from the Superior of his religious congregation, order, community or ecclesiastical movement. A certain level of preparatory education is also necessary, as well as a diploma that gives access to studies at a College or University in the country of origin. A foreign student can be admitted either for the complete course of two years of philosophy and four years of theology or only for the four-year theology curriculum if he already completed the two year philosophical curriculum at another seminary or faculty. If an admission is refused, the foreign student receives in writing the motivation of the refusal and an indication how to meet the requirements.
Because of the later pastoral work in the Netherlands, all courses, lectures and practical exercises at the Major Seminary are given in the Dutch language. That is why the foreign student starts with a Dutch language course of at least one year. The language course should be terminated at the minimum level of European Framework of Reference A2 Waystage. If in the preparatory education Latin and old Greek were not included, the Major Seminary offers a course in both languages. The knowledge of at least two modern languages is required.
Establishment of the formation
During the whole period of the formation the seminarian lives and studies in a community with other priest students and formators, in which he receives, along with his academic formation, a liturgical, spiritual, human, social and pastoral formation. In total, the formation comprises the preparatory year(s) of the Dutch language course, two years in which predominantly philosophy is studied, four years of theology, one year of pastoral courses and the diaconate stage. During almost all years of formation there are practical pastoral stages.
The accreditation of the theological curriculum of the Major Seminary of the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam, established by way of the Institute Saint Willibrord is the basis for the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) to give the foreign student, after the registration at the Major Seminary, an entry visa and a residence permit for study. The foreign student does not himself contact the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service to obtain the entry visa and the residence permit. The Major Seminary provides this service after the admission and registration of the student.
The Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service only gives a residence permit for study up to a maximum of ten years to finish the formation. In case the foreign student decides to stop the study or does not successfully complete the preparatory year of language course or cannot handle the level of academic study or does not show the satisfactory progress of 75% of the nominal study load for an academic year, then the Major Seminary finishes the registration of the foreign student. The Major Seminary has to notify this fact within a month to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service. In that case the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service finishes the residence permit for study and the Major Seminary provides the return of the foreign student to his home country. The admitted student will be requested to agree in writing with this procedure. After the successful completion of the accredited study, the residence permit for study ends and, after ordination to the priesthood, the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam will apply for a residence permit for priestly work in the Diocese.
For a foreign student the Major Seminary of the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam takes over the financial costs for the entry visa, the residence permit, the language course, the lectures, the pastoral stages and the costs of living in the seminary. For this purpose the foreign student receives a scholarship from an ecclesiastical fund.
Study and Examination Regulations
The Study and Examinations Regulations document can be downloaded here (pdf).
The Major Seminary of the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam values a good, fair and transparent conduct regarding students and prospective students, in accordance with the above mentioned framework. It is always possible to file a complaint with the rector of the seminary (see below) or with the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam (Postbus 1053, 2001 BB Haarlem).
The Bishop’s conference of the Roman-Catholic Church in the Netherlands has established a code of conduct as well as a website containing further information, including a complaints procedure.
Furthermore, the National Commission for the Code of Conduct for Higher Education has a complaints procedure available on its website which states: “Any party concerned, believing that a higher education institution has not acted in accordance with the Code of Conduct, can lodge a petition with the National Commission in writing. Prior to lodging a petition with the Commission, the petitioner first must submit the complaint to the competent authority of the higher education institution.” The competent authority in our case is, as mentioned above, the rector of the seminary (see below) and the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam. On the same website a format for filing a complaint can be downloaded.
Information, Contact and Registration
Rector J.C.J. de Wit
Adres Hoogeweg 65, 1851 PJ Heiloo, The Netherlands
Telephone 072 – 505 5964