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From Middle Dutch wetenschap. Equivalent to weten +‎ -schap.


  • IPA(key): /ˈʋeːtənˌsxɑp/
  • Audio:(file)
  • Hyphenation: we‧ten‧schap



wetenschap f (plural wetenschappen)

  1. (uncountable) knowledge
    Hoe kan ik hieraan meedoen in de wetenschap dat het uiteindelijk toch voor niets zal zijn?
    How can I participate in this knowing that it will ultimately be for nought?
  2. science, scholarly knowledge, scholarship (collective discipline of learning acquired through any scholarly method; totality of knowledge)
  3. any academic discipline; in general, the sciences and humanities taken as a whole

Usage notes


Wetenschap has a much broader meaning than the English word science. The English word science refers to systematically acquired, objective knowledge obtained through a particular methodology (such as the scientific method), and includes only natural sciences, social sciences, and formal sciences. In contrast, wetenschap also includes the humanities and philosophy and refers to learning and knowledge in general, whether obtained through scientific or non-scientific means. For example, writing a scholarly book about an author's life and works is wetenschap but not science and, in a different meaning, knowledge of some general facts is wetenschap but not scholarship.

Derived terms



  • Afrikaans: wetenskap
  • Negerhollands: wetenskap
  • Indonesian: ilmu pengetahuan (semantic loan)