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Detail from Frans Hals, Banquet of the Officers of the St George Civic Guard (c.1624-7)
Detail from Frans Hals, Banquet of the Officers of the St George Civic Guard (c.1624-7)

About Dutch history at UCL

Pieter Geyl, first incumbant of the Chair for Low Countries history at UCL (1919-1935)

The study of Dutch History at UCL has a long and distinguished past. It began in 1919 with the founding of a Chair of Dutch History and the establishment of a Department of Dutch. Since then, UCL’s Chair of Dutch History has enjoyed a series of eminent occupants, including the world-famous historians Pieter Geyl, Ernst Kossmann, and Jonathan Israel.

The Chair has played an important role in Anglo-Dutch relations. It has fostered the close integration that exists between London and the scholarly and cultural world of the Low Countries. And its occupants have played a crucial role in organising and inspiring Low Countries Studies in London, making the city the premiere centre for such studies in the English-speaking world.

UCL’s Chair in Dutch History is the only chair in the UK in the field of Low Countries history. UCL’s Department of Dutch is equally unique. The Department is an acknowledged centre of excellence in the field of Dutch and Flemish language and culture. It is the editorial home of Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies . It is also a pioneer in distance learning and the use of new technologies in education. Among the electronic resources it has developed for the study of Dutch history is an interactive Timeline of Anglo-Dutch Relations, a Study Pack on the Dutch Revolt, and a Course in Early Modern Dutch.

The work of UCL’s scholars is fully supported by the UCL Library, which holds the most comprehensive Dutch collection of any university in the English speaking world, comprising over 12,000 volumes covering all aspects of Dutch Studies.

2009 marked the 90th anniversary of UCL’s Chair and Department, and in 2019 we hope to celebrate their centenary.