ALCS Research Grant: Anna Geurts

The ALCS sponsored Dr Anna P.H. Geurts’ research visit to The Hague in August 2017. Anna Geurts reports.

Page from a local illustrated notebook from the Harz, used by a Dutch visitor in the summer of 1869.

‘My ALCS grant allowed me to travel to the Netherlands in order to examine primary as well as secondary literature for my project on the history of Dutch travel in the nineteenth century. I have examined a range of secondary literature on the history of transport technology in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague, and copied several published pieces of travel writing, such as Henrica Françoise Rees van Tets’s book Voyage d’une hollandaise en France en 1819 – written in French by a well-travelled lady from a Dutch family of politicians, painters and art dealers; and the quite different account of Johannes van Oostendorp who was drafted as a soldier to help suppress the Belgian Revolution of 1830.

I also visited the Dutch National Archives to photograph manuscript travelogues from across the nineteenth century, ranging from an aristocratic boy visiting his father at work in the southern Netherlands, to journeys to Switzerland, Italy, Germany and France, including even one cycle trip, made at a time when bikes were rare even in the Netherlands.

I will use these sources in my book on Dutch travellers’ interactions with space and place, as well as an article about the changing experience of distance and an article about the significance of gender in nineteenth-century travel.

I am also looking for a publisher to print a set of four particularly fascinating manuscript accounts, which I have discovered.

I would like to thank the members of the ALCS for their generous support, and am looking forward to the moment when I can present my findings – in English as well as Dutch!

‘A Source of Great Pleasure’

The ALCS are conducting an investigation in ‘the state of’ Dutch language and culture studies in the UK. The full report will follow soon, but ahead of the hard facts and naked truths, we want to share some stories of colleagues we have uncovered in the process. First up is Claire van Wengen. She is tutor of Dutch with the College of Open Learning (COL) at Edinburg University.

“I have had the good fortune of growing up and going to school in the Netherlands (Oegstgeest) and studying in London. I am bilingual with Dutch and English. I have lived in Edinburgh for almost 30 years now. I trained as a French teacher (Durham University) and I hold an MSc in Language Teaching from Edinburgh University (2013).

Clarie van Wengen (back row, second left) with COL students of Dutch

About fifteen years ago I discovered that my true calling and passion lay in teaching Dutch so that is what I do now. I started teaching one evening class at the University of Edinburgh in 2002 and have managed to expand the small department from the original two classes (at that time there was another Dutch teacher) to four classes. From October 2017 instead of having two Beginners’ classes and a Dutch 2 and Dutch 3 we will have one Beginners’ class and also a Dutch 4 class.

The students are all incredibly enthusiastic and I was delighted to be nominated for the Best Overall Teacher Award by a number of my students. They said lovely things such as ‘Claire has fostered a genuine community around her Dutch language lessons’ and ‘Claire is extremely knowledgeable with endless patience for her students. Lessons are varied and always appropriately adapted to the needs of the class and the individual students’.

Every year I give a party for all my Dutch students and their partners and children. It is always tremendous fun and it’s wonderful to see all my students (both children and adults) connecting with each other and laughing and talking. Quite often long lasting friendships are formed which is a source of great pleasure.”

Dutch courses offered by Centre for Open Learning, University of Edinburgh

Programme 2nd Postgraduate Colloquium in Low Countries Studies (London, 6th-7th July 2017)

senate_houseIn 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 so that we can factor you into our catering arrangements. Details of excursions and dinner plans to follow.

Full Call for Papers

ALCS Postgraduate Colloquium
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

bl_logo_20014.00 – 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’

17.00 – 19.00 Free Excursion (details to follow)

19.00 DINNER (Optional, self-funded)

Friday 7th July

09.30 – 10.00 COFFEE

10.00 – 11.30 Panel 4 Chair: tbc

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’

11.30-12.30 Activity (tbc)

12.30 – 13.30 LUNCH

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.

16.00 -18.00 CLOSE AND DRINKS (Optional, self-funded)

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10th ALCS Student Days 2017: An Impression




On 23 and 24 March 2017 over seventy students and staff from Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and UCL flocked to London for the 10th edition of the ALCS Student Days.

Christine Sas (UCL) put together an informative, inspiring and fun programme for all students of Dutch in the UK and Ireland. Both mood and content of this edition of the Student Days underlined that Dutch Studies is an exciting study option and that our students become part of a community that offers plenty of (career) opportunities.

For realcomputershotstudentdays

The two-day event kicked off with a workshop subtitling. Prior to the Student Days, all participants from Beginner to Advanced levels were asked to pick their favourite Flemish or Dutch short film. Cinema Bioscoop and UCL’s Centre for Translation Studies first presented the basics of screen translation and then the students were invited to get stuck in.  In small groups they tackled no less than nine short films: eight were given English subtitles, one was translated into Dutch.
The subtitling was not just practice but the real thing:  the newly subtitled short films were shown to the students and the general public in the trendy RADA Studios that very evening. How fabulous to see the students applying their Dutch linguistic and cultural knowledge to unlock the work of young Dutch and Flemish filmmakers for an international audience.

Stand out

studentsalcs1On the Friday morning our Careers Panel of alumni agreed: they had not anticipated  that choosing to study Dutch would prove so crucial to their career path. From the freelance translators –Tom Warne, Mark Potter, Scott Emblen-Jarrett – to Debbie Iles (Staffing and Recruitment for Benelux), Aimée Hardy (London Regional manager Anne Frank Trust), Lauren Harris (spokesperson and Senior Communications Advisor Dutch Embassy) and Christina Barningham (Foreign and Common Wealth Office, Brussels), they all confirmed that having Dutch on their CV made them stand out when applying for jobs.  Their tips for the students in a nutshell: be bold; be aware how special your language and cultural skills are; and don’t miss out on networking opportunities.

The final slot was for NOS correspondent Tim de Wit. Before shooting off to put together an item for the Dutch main evening news, De Wit shared his experience of his first two years as a correspondent in the UK and Ireland. His anecdotes struck a cord with anybody who works in UK-VL/NL circles, but there was a serious message too: he stressed the importance of ethical journalism, of the continued necessity to tell the full story of the UK to a Dutch audience, in particular in the light of Brexit.

Thank you and sponsorscentras

The ALCS expresses their gratitude first and foremost to UCL and Christine Sas for organising such a top event, to UCL for their hospitality, Cinema Bioscoop and Centre of Translation Studies at UCL for their inspiring workshop.

We could not showcase the wealth and opportunities of Dutch and Flemish Studies without the support of The Netherlands Embassy and Flanders House and of course, as always, the Dutch Language Union.

logo taalunie   FlanderslogoLogo-Kingdom-of-the-Netherlands-white-background

Call for Papers: Postgraduate Colloquium in Low Countries Studies (London, 6th-7th July 2017)

Thursday 6th and Friday 7th July 2017
Institute for Modern Languages Research, Senate House, London

Organised in association with the IMLR, ALCS, the University of Sheffield and University College London

Deadline for submission: 31 March 2017

Following the success of the inaugural postgraduate colloquium ‘Drawing a Map’ in 2015, the Association of Low Countries Studies and its partners are pleased to announce our second biennial colloquium: ‘Telling Stories: Changing Narratives in Low Countries History, Culture, and Society’.

The study of the language and cultures of the Netherlands and Flanders continues to flourish in the British academy and this colloquium has been designed to foster closer ties within the next generation of scholars across all branches of our field. Recognising that the interwoven histories of the British Isles and the Low Countries mean there is a long tradition of cultural exchange and academic cooperation between both sides of the North Sea, the colloquium also seeks to forge closer links with young researchers from Belgium and The Netherlands, and from the field of international Dutch Studies worldwide. With this Colloquium we wish to promote the interdisciplinary study of the Netherlands and Belgium in its broadest definition.

imlrFocusing on narratives that have defined Dutch and Flemish culture, as well as the ways these cultural imaginings have shaped a range of transnational and international concepts, ‘Telling Stories’ aims to bring together scholars of Low Countries Studies across disciplines, institutions and national boundaries to consider the future role of Anglophone Dutch Studies within and beyond the academic institutions.

Entering uncertain political, cultural, and economic times, we must look beyond the remit of the traditional field of Neerlandistiek to consider our work in a global context, responding to the current challenges of the academic climate by bringing to light new perspectives on contemporary and historical issues in the field of Low Countries Studies.

‘Telling Stories’ is open to postgraduate students and early career researchers working on any aspect of Low Countries Studies. The colloquium will function to create a point of contact for researchers to engage in an inclusive mutual exchange of knowledge. We welcome applicants from any country and extend a warm invitation to those who wish to participate as observers.

We welcome proposals for papers of up to 20 minutes, panels of up to three papers and presentations in non-traditional formats (e.g. presentation of translations, posters) in English from MA and PhD students, and Early Career Researchers covering any area relating to Low Countries Studies. Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

• Historical Narratives of the Low Countries in a European and Global Context
• Master Narratives of Netherlandic Culture
• Cultural and Identitarian Imaginings in Dutch and Flemish Literature
• Colonial and Postcolonial Narratives
• Storytelling through Dutch-Language Theatre, Performance, and Film
• Dutch/ Flemish Herstories
• Stories of the Self: Queer and Gender Studies in Dutch/Flemish Contexts
• Art History (Artistic Challenges to Popular Narratives, for example)
• Storying Anglo-Dutch/Belgian Relations
• The Low Countries in the European Narrative
• Contemporary Dutch/Flemish-speaking culture and politics
• Translating to/from Dutch and English
• The history and future of Low Countries Studies as a discipline

If you would like to participate, please send a proposal of no more than 300 words to the organising committee, c/o Your proposal should contain the following information in one document:

• Your name, postal address, telephone number, and email address
• The name of the institution at which you are registered
• The media required for your presentation (e.g. data projector/laptop
[PowerPoint], VHS/DVD player, OHP, cd/cassette player, slide projector etc.)

Offers of papers/presentations must be made by Monday 31 March 2017

Organising Committee: Jenny Watson (Swansea), Cyd Sturgess (Sheffield)
A conference fee of £15 for administrative costs and refreshments will be charged (committee and speakers included) but this will be waived for postgraduate students without funding support (including MA and final year PhD students). Bursaries for travel costs and accommodation are available.