Research Seminars

Forthcoming Series (2019-20 onwards)

  • Please view our Events page and filter by 'Dutch Studies'

Past Series


Activism Now and Then: Climate, Protest and May 1968 (3 May 2019)

An evening with Prof. Dr. Geert Buelens and Dr Laurence Scott


Geert Buelens is professor of Modern Dutch and Flemish Literature at the University of Utrecht and Guest Professor at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa). He has published extensively on the poetry of Paul van Ostaijen and on avant-garde culture. In 2008, his book Everything to nothing. The Poetry of the Great War, Revolution and the Transformation of Europe won the ABN AMRO Prize for Best Non Fiction. It has been translated into English (Verso), German and Serbian. His most recent book is De jaren zestig (2018), a cultural history of the global Sixties. He is editor of the Journal of Dutch Literature and of Avant-Garde Critical Studies, and his columns appear regularly in Belgian and Dutch newspapers. He also published three volumes of poetry; his poems have been translated into English, German, French, Polish and Czech.

Laurence Scott is the author of two books: The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World, which was named the Sunday Times Thought Book of the Year, and Picnic Comma Lightning: In Search of a New Reality, which was serialised on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week. His writing has appeared in the Financial Times, NewYorker.com, the Guardian, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. He is a presenter of BBC Radio 3’s arts and ideas programme, Free Thinking, and is a Lecturer in Writing at New York University in London.

The event is free but registration required.

Organised in collaboration with the Dutch Language Department of the University of Sheffield, the Centre for Dutch and Flemish Studies in the North and the Association of Low Countries Studies.


Subtext: an evening with Lisa Weeda (5 March 2019)

28 February 2019


Please join us and the Comparative Literature students of Subtext for an evening with the Dutch writer-in-residence Lisa Weeda on Tuesday 5 March at 6:30 pm in Gordon Street 25 - 105 Public Cluster.

Lisa and Subtext editors & contributors will be reading from their work, which will be followed by a discussion on themes related to home, belonging and the creative process. Refreshments will be available throughout the event. A conversation between Subtext and Lisa can already be found here

This event also marks the start of a list of events that will celebrate 100 years of Dutch Studies in London.

Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal

14 February 2019


The UCL Department of Dutch is hosting the Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal (CNaVT) exams in May 2019 (1-15 May). These exams are set and marked by an external institution, under the auspices of the Nederlandse Taalunie. They are open to both UCL students and Dutch language learners from outside the college, who would like to obtain an official qualification.

The exams cater for different language levels and areas of interest; they cover all skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and are quite extensive. If you pass, you receive a certificate that is widely recognised by Dutch and Flemish organisations and educational institutions.

The exam is offered on five levels / domains, based on the CEFR levels (Common European Framework for Languages – for a self-assessment grid, click here)

INFOmaatschappelijk informeel; tourist and informal profile = CEFR level A2 (suitable for UCL BA Dutch first year) FORM: maatschappelijk formeel; more formal social profile =  CEFR level B1 (very manageable for UCL BA Dutch second year) PROF: zakelijk professioneel; professional profile = CEFR level B2 (challenging but attainable for UCL BA Dutch second year) STRT: educatief startbekwaam; intermediate educational level =  CEFR level B2 (challenging but attainable for UCL BA Dutch second year) EDUPeducatief professioneel; advanced educational level =  CEFR LEVEL C1 (UCL BA Dutch final year)



November 2018. Our recent graduate Selena Geerts was awarded this year's Essay Prize by the Anglo-Netherlands Society. The ceremony, also for the runners up, took place last month on the roof terrace of the ABN AMRO Bank in the City of London.

Because Selena could not be there, Paul Dimond from the ANS extra came to UCL to extend the Society's congratulations. As apparent from the picture, Jeremy Bentham, and the Dutch department joined Paul in congratulating Selena.

The essay prize is run annually by the Anglo-Netherlands Society, an association bringing Britons and Nederlanders together in London since 1919/20.

More information in English can be found on the CNaVT website, where you can also access sample exams.

If you would like to enrol, please let us know before 06/03/19 so we can process all the paperwork. There is a fee of £75 for UCL students (incl. CLIE students), £85 for people outside UCL, which needs to be paid before 25/03/2019. Payment information will be sent upon enrolment.

We will announce the dates at the end of March, when the UCL exam table has been announced, so we can work around it. For reasons of fairness, all people taking the same level need to take the exam at the same time. 

Please don't hesitate to contact Christine Sas if you have any questions.


Book launch: Swallows and Floating Horses. An anthology of Frisian literature

7 February 2019

Swallows and Floating Horses: An anthology of Frisian literature.


Introduced by Reinier Salverda (UCL) and David McKay
(translator). With readings by poets and translators in
Frisian and English + discussion and Q&A 

7–10pm Monday 11 March 2019

University College London
Haldane Room, Wilkins Building (via UCL Main
entrance and Front yard) Gower Street, WC1E 6BT

FREE but booking essential: Please e-mail



1 February 2019


5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, 06 March 2019

This presentation uses computational techniques developed by social network scientists to reconstruct and analyse the epistolary relations between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century. The lively epistolary exchange between these two societies allows for a comprehensive view on the transconfessional Republic of Letters, providing a framework to study the ways in which early modern scholars capitalised on opportunities in the social structure to which they were connected. Specifically, the differences between these two societies might have influenced the decisions Italian and Dutch scholars had to make in the formation of their network, as well as the strategies they adopted to secure their position therein.

On the one hand, they needed to have access to innovative information and resources. This means that they needed to become involved with scholars from outside their own circle of trust, reaching out to others who could provide them with new information and recently published books. On the other hand, they needed to guarantee that their network was secure and trustworthy – especially in light of the many tensions imposed by the Inquisition. Hence, they needed to strategically negotiate between openness and closure in their network.

It is the intent of this lecture to illustrate how to model historical networks to shed light on these dynamics of openness and closure. As the number of online letter archives keeps growing, it is time to take full advantage of this ever-extending database and to discover how computational approaches can advance the study of early modern correspondence. Ingeborg will first explain how we can transform these datasets into a model that we can use to run algorithms on. In particular, we will see a network modelled by using two digital repositories, the Catalogus Epistularum Neerlandicarum (a national union catalogue of letters held in various Dutch libraries) and the Catalogo dei Carteggi, which includes the basic metadata for a large portion of the holdings of the National Library of Florence. Following that, Ingeborg will present how the data can be visualised and studied using social network analysis. Based on this approach, we will see how individuals moved between open and closed circles in the early modern scholarly network.

All are welcome and there will be drinks and discussion after the presentations. Attendance is free but we kindly ask that you register for the event.

This event is organised by UCLDH, which is part of the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies.

Ingeborg van Vugt

PhD candidate at Scuola Normale Superiore

Her PhD project is focused on the development of networks and strategies in response to contrasting political and religious realities within early modern society.


Book Launch: Leonard Nolens, An English Anthology

31 January 2019


Please join us for the launch of An English Anthology by Leonard Nolens, in English translation by Paul Vincenthonorary Senior Lecturer at UCL Dutch, which is published by Carcanet Press. The evening will include readings by both Leonard and Paul, followed by a Q&A which will be chaired by Carcanet’s founder and managing director, Michael Schmidt.

‘I was born in Belgium, I’m Belgian. / But Belgium was never born in me.’ So writes Leonard Nolens in ‘Place and Date’, which captures a mood of political and social disillusionment amid a generation of Dutch-speaking Belgians. And throughout this selection we encounter a poet engaged with the question of national identity. Frequently the poet moves into that risky terrain, the firstperson plural, in which he speaks as and for a generation of Flemings, embodying an attitude towards artistic and political commitment that he considers its defining mark.

‘We curled up dejectedly in the spare wheel of May sixtyeight’, he writes in the selection’s central sequence ‘Breach’. Nolens’ poetry is haunted by giants of twentieth-century European lyricism, by Rilke, Valéry, Neruda, Mandelstam and Celan, with whom he has arguably more affinity than with much poetry from the Dutch-language canon.

Leonard Nolens (born 1947) is an Antwerp-based poet and diarist. He has published some 25 collections, for which he has received both critical and reader acclaim. His work has been awarded many literary prizes, most recently the prestigious Prize of Dutch Letters in 2012.

Paul Vincent studied at Cambridge and Amsterdam, and after teaching Dutch at the University of London for over twenty years became a full-time translator in 1989. Since then he has published a wide variety of translated poetry, non-fiction and fiction, including work by Achterberg, Claus, Couperus, Mulisch and Van den Brink. He was awarded the Vondel Prize and jointly awarded the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize. He is Honorary Senior Lecturer in Dutch at UCL.

Founded in 1969, Carcanet is an outstanding literary publisher with a comprehensive list of modern and classic poetry in English and translation, inventive fiction and non-fiction. A live backlist of some 1000 titles includes literature from 37 languages and 50 nations and celebrated authors include Nobel Prize-winners and many outstanding discoveries from around the world. Poets range from Ovid to Gillian Clarke, Robert Graves to Eavan Boland and Mervyn Peake to Kei Miller. www.carcarnet.co.uk

Refreshments will be served on the night, and there will also be the opportunity to purchase the new collection.

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-english-anthology-by-leonard-nolens-tickets-54638738939


2018 Essay Prize by the Anglo-Netherlands Society

5 November 2018


November 2018. Our recent graduate Selena Geerts was awarded this year's Essay Prize by the Anglo-Netherlands Society. The ceremony, also for the runners up, took place last month on the roof terrace of the ABN AMRO Bank in the City of London.

Because Selena could not be there, Paul Dimond from the ANS extra came to UCL to extend the Society's congratulations. As apparent from the picture, Jeremy Bentham, and the Dutch department joined Paul in congratulating Selena.

The essay prize is run annually by the Anglo-Netherlands Society, an association bringing Britons and Nederlanders together in London since 1919/20.

Low Countries History Seminars 2018-19

13 August 2018


Convenors: Liesbeth Corens (Queen Mary), Anne Goldgar (King’s College London), Ben Kaplan (UCL), Ulrich Tiedau (UCL), Joanna Woodall (Courtauld)

Meetings: Fridays at 5:15 pm at the Institute for Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. All meetings except 28 September will be held in Wolfson Room I, in the basement.


Autumn Term

28   September Gary Waite (New Brunswick), ‘Jews and Muslims in Seventeenth-Century Discourse: From Religious Enemies to Allies and Friends’ – to be held in Seminar Room N304, on third floor of IHR.

19 October Jonas Roelens (Ghent), ‘Citizens & Sodomites. Perception and Persecution of Sodomy in the Southern Low Countries (1400–1700)’

2 November Esther van Raamsdonk (Exeter), ‘Seventeenth-Century Anglo-Dutch Imagology’

30 November Janet Dickinson (Oxford), ‘Drowned books and their histories: making sense of the remarkable cargo of a seventeenth-century shipwreck discovered off the Texel islands’

Spring Term

25 January David Trim (Andrews), ‘The Sea Beggars and their Huguenot and English allies: Transnational Calvinist maritime cooperation, 1568–1577’

8 February Matthew Champion (Birkbeck), ‘Chronological Devotions in the Fifteenth-Century Low Countries’

22 February Suze Zijlstra (Leiden), ‘Anglo-Dutch Americas: migration and labor in New Netherland and Suriname’

8 March Marisa Bass (Yale), ‘Monuments and the Making of History in the Dutch Republic’

Summer Term

3 May Sietske Fransen (Cambridge), ‘Antoni van Leeuwenhoek: microscopist and draughtsman’

17 May Matthew Laube (Cambridge), ‘The Acoustics of Violence in the Dutch Revolt’

We are grateful for generous support from the General Representation of the Government of Flanders in the United Kingdom.

Poets of the New Millennium: Gender, Desire, Community, Earth


9 January 2018


Join the Centre for Low Countries Studies for a poetry evening with three contemporary poets from Flanders and the Netherlands:

Annemarie Estor

Els Moors

Xavier Roelens

Their work addresses the contemporary experience of living within a globalized world and tackles issues as climate change, gender and desire, and a search for community within a world of billions of anonymous others. The event will be introduced by Kila van der Starre and be accessible to an English-speaking audience.

Time: Wednesday 17 January, 7pm
Location: Bloomsbury Studio, 15 Gordon St, London, WC1H 0AH

UCL Low Countries Studies — Annual Lecture 2018

9 January 2018

The Cruelty of Freedom A Dutch Republican Baroque and its Political Implications A lecture by Frans-Willem Korsten


Join us for the 2018 CLCS annual lecture which will be given by Frans-Willem Korsten. He will present his latest book, A Dutch Republican Baroque: Theatricality, Dramatization, Moment and Event (UAP, 2017). Korsten will discuss how two aesthetic formal modes, theatre and drama, were dynamically related to two political concepts, event and moment. This will lead to a new historical perspective on the Baroque as a specifically Dutch republican one, while at the same time demonstrating the relevance of analysing early modern literature by means of 20th century philosophy. Frans-Willem Korsten is a professor of literary studies at Leiden University. His books include Lessons in Literature (2005) and Sovereignty as Inviolability (2009).

Date: Thursday 11 January, 6pm
Location: Haldane Room / Wilkins Building / UCL / Gower Street, WC1E 6BT

Second Postgraduate Colloquium in Low Countries Studies (London, 6-7 July 2017)

16 April 2017

In just under two weeks postgraduate students of Dutch and Flemish history, literature, translation studies and sociology will come together for the second edition of the ALCS Postgraduate Colloquium. This international meeting is designed to foster links between British and Irish Low Countries Studies and scholars from other countries, and to support the next generation of researchers in our field. The conference will take place in the medium of English and we welcome anyone with a curiosity about the Netherlands and Flanders or any of the topics up for discussion. This year’s papers are particularly exciting, with strong themes of identity, ideology and transnationality emerging. The keynote will be given by our chair, Henriette Louwerse (University of Sheffield). The conference fee of £15 is payable by those receiving research funding or in full-time work, all students and unwaged researchers are welcome to join free of charge. If you would like to attend, please email pglowcountriesstudies@gmail.com so that we can factor you into our catering arrangements. Details of excursions and dinner plans to follow.

ALCS Postgraduate Colloqium Senate House, London

Thursday 6th July

09.30-10.00: Arrival and Registration
10.00 – 11.00:  Keynote Henriette Louwerse (University of Sheffield): ‘Multicultural Present and Colonial Past: The Case of the Netherlands’

11.00 – 11.30: COFFEE

11.30 – 13.00 Panel 1 Chair: Nick Piercey (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Rianti D. Manullang (University of Leiden): ‘The Stories of Indigenous Bataks in Sumatra through the “Imperial Eyes“ of the Colonial Travelers’

Paola Gentile (KU Leuven): ‘The Image of the Netherlands in Italian Literary Translation – A Socio-imagological Approach’

13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH

14.00 – 15.00 Panel 2 Chair: Marja Kingma (British Library)

Zsuzsa Toth (University of Debrecen): ‘The Reception of Jo van Ammers-Küller by the Hungarian Press in the First Half of the 20th Century’

Cristina Peligra (Newcastle University): ‘Re-presenting Identity and Colonial Legacy. Comparing English and Italian translations of Hella Haasse’s “Indische Romans”’

15.00 – 15.30 Research Training and Q&A Introduction to the British Library Dutch Collections by Marja Kingma

15.30-15.45 COFFEE

15.45 – 16.45 Panel 3 Chair: Henriette Louwerse

Cyd Sturgess (University of Sheffield): ‘Fashioning queer femininities in Josine Reulin’s Terug naar het eiland (1937)’

Joske van de Vis (University of Leiden): ‘The Bakhtian Analysis of Tonnus Oosterhoff’s Digital Poems’


Friday 7th July

Carmen Verhoeven (Utrecht University): ‘Divided by Mars, united by Rhetorica: Concord and discord on the Mechelen rhetorician contest of 1620’

Marion Prinse: ‘Processes of Radicalisation in pre-WWI Flemish Nationalist Literature’


13.30 – 14.30 Panel 6 Chair: Cyd Sturgess (University of Sheffield)

Karen van Hove (KU Leuven): ‘Pornography, yes or no? – Literary and pornographic interactions’

Jenny Watson (University of Sheffield): ‘Father literature – a transnational trend, a trans-temporal phenomenon?’

14.30 – 16.00 Workshop/postgrad training Questioning the Canon, Building the Discipline.

BelgoLab 2017 – Belgian Translations (6–7 March 2017)

16 January 2017


Translation plays a major role in Belgian culture, both domestically – by enabling readers to access work produced in a different language community – and internationally, by disseminating work to wider audiences. Accordingly, BeLgoLab 2017 is devoted to translations of different kinds. It combines formal papers and discussions with practical workshops, where published English translations are

compared with the originals (guidance materials supplied for non-specialists). The event is aimed at researchers and postgraduates in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, as well as those in French and Dutch studies.

Monday 6 March 2017

Eliot Room, British Library Knowledge Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

1330 – 1400 Registration

1400 – 1410 Welcome Adrian Armstrong (Queen Mary University of London), Marja Kingma (British Library)

1410 – 1525 Workshop on translation: Amélie Nothomb, ‘Fear and Trembling’ (‘Stupeur et tremblements’) Adrian Armstrong

Materials (from the published translation and the original) will be distributed on the day

1545 – 1700 Workshop on translation: Paul van Ostaijen, ‘Occupied City’ (‘Bezette Stad’) Jane Fenoulhet (University College London)

Materials (from the published translation and the original) will be distributed on the day

1700 – 1800 Reception, kindly supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in London.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Institute for Modern Languages Research (SAS, UoL) Senate House G35

Bookings for this session via www.sas.ac.uk/events/event/7189

0900 – 0915 Welcome Adrian Armstrong, Marja Kingma

0915 – 0945 Translator’s choices in the literary field: Alex Brotherton’s translation of Gerard Walschap’s ‘Marriage/Ordeal’ (‘Trouwen’, ‘Celibaat’), Irving Wolters (University College London)

0945 – 1015 From Mobutu to Molenbeek: Cultural Translation in Contemporary Belgian Ethnic-Minority Writing in French, Sarah Arens (University of Edinburgh)

1015 – 1030 Discussion

1045 – 1145 Round table: Translation and Belgium Adrian Armstrong, Marja Kingma

In partnership with the Institute for Modern Language Research (IMLR), School of Advanced Studies, University of London.

For more information see this post on the British Library European Studies blog.


Tuesday 21 February 2017: Literary evening with Carmien Michels


Join us for an exciting literary evening with Carmien Michels. Carmien graduated from the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, where she trained in word craft. She has published two novels and is often seen on stage giving prizewinning performances of her poetry. In 2016 she was crowned European Poetry Slam champion.

Carmien will perform mainly in Dutch with English translations available.


30 November 2016 and 11 January 2017: Dutch detectives book club

16 October 2016



Inspector van der Valk, created by Nicolas Freeling, works for the Amsterdam police and does not believe in playing it by the book. Come and join our book club and get to know him better. We will also be introducing you to a new Dutch detective, Henk van der Pol.

We launch the book club on 30 November 2016 with Freeling’s Double-Barrel, first published in 1964 (any edition; Amazon has a selection of second-hand copies), Discussion will be led by Jane Fenoulhet and Daniel Pembrey, creator of Van der Pol, whose book The Harbour Master will be published in November and will be our second discussion book on 11 January 2017.

The Kindle edition of The Harbour Master is currently available for only £0.99!


25 October 2016: Rudolf Dekker on the Diary of Constantijn Huygens Jr

16 August 2016

Tuesday 25 October | 6.30pm | Gustave Tuck lecture theatre, 2nd Floor, South Junction, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT

Register for free tickets via Eventbrite

Join us for our 2016 annual lecture on 'The Diary of Constantijn Huygens Jr (1628-1697), Secretary to King William of Orange: Life in London and The Hague seen through the eyes of a Dutch Pepys'.

Constantijn Huygens Jr, the secretary to Stadholder-King William of Orange, kept a diary during most of his life. In his diary he wrote about his private and professional life, about politics in the Dutch Republic and England, and about the military campaigns he witnessed, including the Glorious Revolution and the Battle of the Boyne. From 1688 to 1696 he spent much of his time in London. He wrote often about his interest in science and about his brot­her, Chris­tiaan Huygens. The diary also documents his role as book col­lector and as connoisseur of art. Finally, Huygens was a zealous chro­nicler of scan­dals and gossip, which is why he has been called a Dutch Samuel Pepys. His secret diary is a unique egodocu­ment of the Dutch Golden Age.

Rudolf Dekker studied history at the University of Amsterdam and wrote a dissertation on riots and revolts in the 17th century. He taught history at the Erasmus University Rotter­dam (1981-2010) and directs the research group "Egodocuments and Histo­ry" at the Huizinga Institute, Research School for Cultu­ral Histo­ry (University of Amsterdam). Recently he published The Diary of Constantijn Huyhes Jr (Panchaud 2015), an English translation of a selection of the Huygens diary, and Family, Culture and Society in the Diary of Constantijn Huy­gens Jr (Brill 2013). He also wrote about the current situation of the Dutch academic world, The Road to Excellent Ruin. Dutch Uni­ver­sities, Past, Present and Future (Panchaud 2015). Other books include Child of the Enlightenment, Revolutionary Europe reflected in a Boyhood Diary (Brill 2009), with Arianne Bag­german, Humour in Dutch Culture of the Golden Age (Palgrave 2001) and The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe (Macmillan 1989), with Lotte van de Pol. He also wrote a history of the Netherlands: Meer verleden dan toekomst. Geschiedenis van verdwijnend Nederland (Bert Bak­ker 2008).


17 November 2016: Symposium on Geyl in Britain, 1914–1935

16 June 2016

Thursday, 17 November 2016, Inst. of Historical Research, London, Wolfson Suite, 10:00–18:00

Fifty years ago, on 31 December 1966, Pieter Geyl passed away. He was arguably one of the most internationally known historians from the Netherlands, and one of the most controversial at that. Having come to the UK as a journalist in the first place, he started his academic career at UCL in the aftermath of World War I, with the first endowed Chair for Dutch Studies in the Anglophone world (1919). Known for his re-interpretation of the 16th century Dutch Revolt against the Habsburgs as well as for his political activism in favour of the Flemish movement in Belgium, and for his provocative debates with British historians like Arnold Toynbee, he left his stamp on the British perception of Low Countries history and culture, before leaving London in 1935 to accept a Chair in Utrecht.

The department and libraries he built up at UCL and former Bedford College remain at the heart of the Dutch collections of UCL and the IHR to the present day and make London one of the largest centres for the study of Low Countries history and culture outside of the Low Countries. On the occasion of his fiftieth obit, as well as the approaching centenary of his nomination and the foundation of Dutch Studies in Britain, this symposium aims to re-examine Geyl’s time in Britain and shed new light on his multifaceted work as a historian, journalist, translator, activist and homo politicus, his contemporary networks, as well as on his lasting legacy on British views of Dutch and Belgian history.

Jointly organized by Stijn Vanrossem (IHR) and Ulrich Tiedau (UCL)  We are grateful for generous sponsorship by the IHR, the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Association for Low Countries Studies (ALCS).


10th Biennial Conference for Low Countries Studies held at UCL 10–12 Sept. 2014



10 March 2016: Poetry evening with Vrouwkje Tuinman

16 January 2016

6–7pm, Foster Court 307, Malet Place, UCL, WC1E 6BT

Join us for a literary evening and drinks reception. Non-Dutch speakers are very welcome!  


Vrouwkje Tuinman has written five poetry collections and won the 2010 Halewijn prize. Her photobook with photographer Andrea Stultiens won the Niek Woudenberg prize in 2012.

Vrouwkje's audiobook Winterslaap is available to listen online.

Vrouwkje will perform and discuss a selection of poetry and prose. Questions from the audience are welcome and the talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

Vrouwkje's travel to UCL is generously funded by the Letterenfonds. 



12 September 2014


The 10th biennial conference of the Association for Low Countries Studies will be held from 10–12 September 2014 at University College London. This year’s theme will be “Discord and Consensus” in a Low Countries context and we invite original contributions that interpret the conference theme in the broadest possible sense.

All countries, regions and institutions are ultimately built on a degree of consensus, on a collective commitment to a concept, belief or value system. This consensus is continuously rephrased and reinvented through a narrative of cohesion and challenged by expressions of discontent and discord. The history of the Low Countries is characterized by both a striving for consensus and eruptions of discord both internally or through outside challenges. The ALCS Biennial conference aims to explore consensus and discord in a Low Countries context along and across broad cultural, linguistic and historical lines.

Keynote speakers will be Dr Henriëtte Louwerse (University of Sheffield), Prof. dr. Jan Blommaert (Tilburg University) and Prof. dr. Inger Leemans (VU Amsterdam).

For more information see the conference website.


Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies 38.3 (November 2014)

3 September 2014


For three balmy days in early June of 2012, the sixteenth biennial International Conference for Netherlandic Studies (ICNS) convened on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. The International Conference for Netherlandic Studies is the meeting venue for the American Association of Netherlandic Studies. In recent decades, the proceedings from the conference have traditionally been published in an edited volume. With this publication, however, we are trying something new. As such, we are happy to partner with Dutch Crossing which has cooperatively agreed to dedicate two issues to the scholarly fruits of the 2012 ICNS. The articles here have undergone the same peer-review process customary with Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies.

At the ICNS, scholars of Netherlandic studies presented their latest research in related fields or they contributed presentations in response to the conference theme, “Artistic Responses to Watershed Eras.” The topic of artistic watershed was on the mind of the conference organizers as they were preparing the conference in the wake of the death of Harry Mulisch, whose passing in 2010 marked for many the end of the Post World War II era of Dutch literature. The articles presented in this current journal issue are themselves from the literary side of the multidisciplinary conference. A forthcoming issue, edited by my colleague and co-organizer of the conference, Henry Luttikhuizen, an art historian at Calvin College, will present articles dealing with art and art historical topics.

Dutch Crossing is one of the leading international peer-reviewed research journals on Low Countries studies and has recently been awarded an honourable mention in the 2009 Journal Awards of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Original research manuscripts can be submitted via the journal’s submission tracking system.

The articles of this volume offer a telling glimpse into the range and breadth of literary topics that occupy scholars in field of Netherlandic studies. In fact, the contribution by Adéle Nel comes from South African Studies, a related field long represented in the camp of International Netherlandic Studies. Nel’s article offers a reading of Eben Venter’s and S. J. Naudé’s narrative texts through the lens of Diane Victor’s Disasters of Peace etchings. Of the articles presented in this issue, Nel’s is the most direct response to the conference theme of artistic watershed. The other three articles take us back in history and present a variety of literary topics. Jeroen Dewulf makes a case for a new understanding and reading of Sojourner Truth’s autobiography in the context of Dutch-American contact literature. Paul Sellin unearths the complex and politically-motivated story behind Lieuwe van Aitzema’s commissioned translation (in 1655) of John Milton’s Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Finally, Ineke Huysman and Ad Leerintveld present new insights into the epistolary writings of Constantijn Huygens. Their work on the digitalization of Constantijn’s letters at the Dutch Royal Library — and the heretofore unknown letters or portions of letters — makes a compelling case for rethinking the paradigms in which Huygen’s voluminous correspondence can be approached and studied.

Since neither the 16th biennial ICNS nor this journal issue could have been made possible without the generous support of various institutions and sponsors, it is fitting to mention them here again (in alphabetical order) in gratitude for their financial support: the American Association for Netherlandic Studies, Calvin College Office of the Provost, Nederlandse Taalunie, The Netherland-American Foundation, Inc., and the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of History.

It has been a pleasure, dear reader, to assemble these articles for your enjoyment and study.

Herman J. De Vries Jr.

Frederik Meijer Chair in Dutch Language and Culture,
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Poetry evening with Ester Naomi Perquin on 11 Sept. 2014 at Senate House, 5:45pm

1 September 2014

Join us for an evening of poetry with award winning Dutch poet Ester Naomi Perquin. Ester worked as a prison guard in order to finance her creative writing classes in Amsterdam. Her debut volume, Servetten halfstok (Napkins at Half-Mast), was published in 2007 and received a number of prizes including the Liegend Konijn prize and the Lucy B. and C.W. van der Hoogt prize. Her latest volume, Celinspecties (Cell inspections), was published in early 2012 and was awarded the VSB Poetry Prize for the best volume of 2013. 

Ester will read from her new work and you do not need to understand Dutch to enjoy Ester’s beautiful, rhythmic poetry; the poems will also be read in translation and non-Dutch speakers are warmly welcomed. Tickets are FREE but limited and can be reserved via Eventbrite


Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies 38.2 (July 2014)

10 June 2014




The theme of immigration seems to be discussed on an almost daily basis in the British media at the moment. However, as we know, it is not a new phenomenon, but has been an almost permanent feature in the history of Britain. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many thousands of people from the Low Countries were forced to leave home and seek a new life elsewhere. Given its geographical proximity it is not surprising that many of these refugees headed for Norfolk in eastern England. Large Dutch and French communities were established in Norwich; there was a smaller Dutch community, which lasted for some 100 years, in Great Yarmouth; and short-lived Dutch communities were established in King’s Lynn and Thetford. The locals referred to the migrants as Strangers, their arrival brought both opportunities and challenges. In the five papers in this edition of Dutch Crossing, various aspects of the history of the Dutch Strangers in Norfolk are considered.

John Alban opens the batting by setting the scene. John hosted the conference at the Norfolk Record Office (NRO) in his capacity as County Archivist. In his article he provides us with the details of a wide range of documents held at the NRO dating from the early fourteenth century to the present day. These illustrate the long history of interaction between the Low Countries and Norfolk, into which the story of the Strangers can be placed.

Dutch Crossing is one of the leading international peer-reviewed research journals on Low Countries studies and has recently been awarded an honourable mention in the 2009 Journal Awards of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Original research manuscripts can be submitted via the journal’s submission tracking system.

Alastair Duke takes two sets of letters, both written in the early days of the Strangers’ presence in Norwich, as the basis for his article. Some of the letters are addressed to Strangers in the city, whilst others were written by them. They provide a wonderful insight into the concerns on either side of the North Sea of those who had travelled to this strange land, and of those whom they had left behind.

Frank Meeres’ article provides a wealth of sources in the NRO relating to the Strangers. Some of these sources are local records, such as the Mayor’s Court Books, whilst others are documents produced from within the Dutch community in Norwich. Anyone wishing to research the history of this community is advised to read Frank’s article.

We conclude with two articles written by myself, the guest editor. In the first of these I consider the evidence for the use of the Dutch language in early modern Norfolk in a number of social domains. This is part of a larger project to map the use of the language in early modern Britain. In the second article I discuss Dutch poetry written and printed by the Strangers. Some of this is satirical and libellous, whilst other verse, notably that of Jan Cruso, demonstrates a fine mastery of the Dutch alexandrine.

I would like to thank all those who contributed to making the conference a success and in particular to John, Alastair, and Frank for their thought-provoking articles, and help in assembling this edition of Dutch Crossing. I am also grateful to the Flemish Representation of the Embassy of Belgium, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Association of Low Countries Studies for their generous financial support for the conference, and to the Norfolk Record Office, which hosted the event. Finally, I am writing this introduction from Seoul in South Korea. As such I am an immigrant in this exotic land, and that fact often makes me reflect on how life might have been for the Dutch Strangers in Norfolk.

Christopher Joby, Seoul

Centre for Low Countries Studies Launch

25 March 2014

Professor Lisa Jardine on 'Sir Isaac Newton and Christiaan Huygens: Anglo-Dutch Science and Politics around 1688'


What is the purpose of history today, and how can sporting research help us understand the world around us? In this stimulating book, Nicholas Piercey constructs four new histories of early Dutch football, exploring urban change, club members, the media, and the diaries of Cornelis Johannes Karel van Aalst, a stadium director, to propose practical examples of how history can become an important democratic tool for the 21st century.

Using early Dutch football as a field for experimental thinking about the past, the four histories offer new insights into the lives, interests and passions of those connected to the sport in the 1910s and the cities they lived in. How did World War One impact on Dutch football? Were new stadia a form of social control? Is the spread of the beautiful game really a good thing? And why was one of the sport's most prominent figures more concerned with potatoes? These stories of early Dutch football suggest how vital sport and history can be in shaping our lives, perceptions and actions, and why we need to challenge the influence they have today.

About the author

Dr Nicholas Piercey is Honorary Research Associate in UCL's Department of Dutch in the UCL School of European Languages, Culture & Society.


Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies 38.1 (March 2013)

1 March 2014


At the beginning of this first issue of 2014 let me draw your attention to the forthcoming tenth biennial conference of the Association for Low Countries Studies, which under the theme of Discord and Consensus will be held at University College London and the (new) Dutch Centre in the (old) Dutch Church at Austin Friars in the City of London,1 in September 2014. All countries, regions, and institutions are ultimately built on a degree of consensus, on a collective commitment to a concept, belief, or value system. This consensus is continuously rephrased and reinvented through a narrative of cohesion and challenged by expressions of discontent and discord. The history of the Low Countries is characterized by both a striving for consensus and eruptions of discord both internally or through outside challenges. In the centenary year of World War I (1914), which the Netherlands was lucky to be spared but Belgium and Luxembourg had to endure heavily, two centuries (and a bit) after the Battle of Waterloo and the reunification of the Low Countries in the Kingdom of the United Netherlands (1813–14), and three centuries after the Peace of Utrecht (1713), we thought this to be an appropriate theme for an interdisciplinary conference which aims to explore consensus and discord in a Low Countries context along and across broad cultural, linguistic, and historical lines, and interpret the conference theme in the broadest possible sense.

Dutch Crossing is one of the leading international peer-reviewed research journals on Low Countries studies and has recently been awarded an honourable mention in the 2009 Journal Awards of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Original research manuscripts can be submitted via the journal’s submission tracking system.

Topics may include for example: contemporary and historical representation of conflict and dissent in visual art and literature; counter-cultural art practices and dissenting narratives; social cohesion and the imaginative; language as a source of social conflict or harmony; language standardization processes within and across the Low Countries; competing linguistic norms and conflicts over the status of language varieties; conflicting approaches to language pedagogy; discord and/or consensus emerging from studies of lexis, semantics, pragmatics, and syntax.

We invite both individual contributions (twenty-minute presentations followed by ten minutes of discussion) and proposals for fully constituted panels (ninety-minute themed panel of three speakers). We specifically invite postgraduate students and a number of travel bursaries will be available. For more information and to submit proposals please visit the conference website and proposal submission system. The primary criterion for selection will be the quality of the proposal, not its connection to the conference theme. Selected conference papers will be considered for publication in Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies.

On to the present issue. Christopher Joby (Seoul) looks at the role of London and other English cities in the development of early modern Dutch language and literature, an aspect often considered to be marginal and therefore overlooked in accounts of the emergence of the standard language. He demonstrates how three developments in Dutch language and literature — the publication of religious literature, the writing of the first Dutch grammar, and the writing of sonnets in Dutch — each owes something to the presence of Dutch or Flemish speakers in London in the second half of the sixteenth century. For every case, he considers how these developments have been recorded or neglected in general histories of Dutch language and literature and, following Richard J. Watts, concludes by offering a model for how general histories of languages can avoid adopting a deterministic ‘tunnel view’ of language developments towards a normed standard variety.

Frederica van Dam’s (Ghent) article sheds light on an unpublished and little-known manuscript, entitled Tableau Poétique, by the sixteenth-century Flemish portrait painter, poet, and writer Lucas D’Heere (1534–84), preserved in the library of Arbury Hall in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. Her discovery and study of the manuscript reveals important new information on the background, life, and work of the protestant refugee to England D’Heere, his professional activities as a painter, and his social network in exile.

Cornelis van der Haven (Ghent) explores the ways in which commercial knowledge is presented in eighteenth-century theatre texts from Amsterdam and Hamburg. His interpretation reveals the bearing of the different positions on the exchange of this knowledge in these texts and addresses the ways in which the power structures of dramatic texts were transformed in order to open up the private sphere to discussions on public topics like the stock trade.

From an adaptation studies angle, Jeroen Dera (Nijmegen) investigates the creative reception of Gerard Reve’s De avonden (‘The Evenings’) — Reve’s key novel from 1947 and, according to the readers of the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, one of the top ten Dutch language novels of all time.3 Combining approaches from film studies, comics studies and literary criticism, Dera discusses, literary, cinematic and graphic novel versions of Reve’s De avonden, reading the dissimilar adaptations as interpretations of a hypotext, reappearing in a new context and a new medium, rather than as copies of an ‘original’.

Laura Lech and Maarten Klein (Lublin) discuss androgyny in the writings of Loui­s Couperus (1863–1923) and Hugo Claus (1929–2008). After discussing androgyny and its religious and philosophical background in art around the turn of the century, they show what can be found on the subject in Couperus’s works, especially in the novel De berg van licht (‘The Mountain of Light’, 1905–06) and in Hugo Claus’s novel Jessica!, in which the Flemish master introduces a character that is entirely based on his great predecessor from the fin de siècle. Although Couperus and Claus seem to be totally different authors, they both conclude that androgyny should be considered to be an ideal, albeit in different ways.

As always best wishes for good reading!