ONLINE EVENT – Introducing VERZET Chapbooks

Schermafbeelding 2020-10-09 om 13.19.27Schermafbeelding 2020-10-09 om 13.21.40On Tuesday 13 October, Off the Shelf Festival and New Dutch Writing organise the free live event ‘VERZET‘, which focuses on contemporary Dutch writers and their translators.
VERZET is a collection of beautifully designed chapbooks, showcasing the work of eight of the most exciting young writers working in the Netherlands today. The event and Q&A will be chaired by the ALCS’s own Dr Henriette Louwerse (University of Sheffield).
Join us via this link!

ALCS Language Teacher Workshop 20-21 November 2020

save the dateThis autumn, the ALCS is organising its first Language Teacher Workshop. Originally planned to take place in London, the workshop will now be delivered online and is open to all teachers of Dutch in adult education in the UK, and generously sponsored by our long-term partner the Nederlandse Taalunie.  We are planning sessions on learning psychology, creating learning communities online, personal language journeys and the sense and nonsense of grammar teaching. There will be a borrel with our writer in residence NiñaWeijers, and of course plenty of opportunities to meet colleagues and exchange ideas!

Do join us! We are very much looking forward to bringing together the UK and Ireland’s Dutch language tutors, who are often working in isolation in larger institutions. Do spread the word and register your interest here.

In other news: Flanders House has initiated a stall at the Language Fair in London with a language taster on Saturday 14 November. Board members of the ALCS will be manning the Learn Dutch Stall on both days (13 and 14/11). There will also be a talk by the Dutch Language Union’s general secretary Kris van de Poel, so many exciting opportunities to put the teaching and learning of Dutch high on the agenda!

ALCS Essay Prize Winners 2020!

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Undergraduate and Postgraduate ALCS Dutch Essay Prize. We had contributions from a range of disciplines, ranging from Low Countries history and political culture, to translation studies and Dutch and Flemish literature.

The ALCS PG Prize was awarded to Irving Wolters for his enjoyable essay on the relative success of choices translators make, and the influence of other players on their work, with a case study of Marriage/Ordeal by Gerard Walschap translated by Alex Brotherton. The jury deemed the essay scholarly, informative, and a very interesting discussion of some very knotty translation issues.

We had several excellent contenders for the ALCS UG Prize. After some deliberation, the prize was awarded to UCL BA Dutch and French finalist Alice Learmouth for her concise and well-focussed essay on the peculiarities of Dutch political culture. Our panel thought much was achieved in a relatively short essay, which was mature and well-developed. Learmouth discusses the topic from the perspective of pillarization and provides arguments for and against the influence of pillarization on policies towards ethnic minorities in the Netherlands.

Congratulations to Irving Wolters and Alice Learmouth from the whole of the ALCS community! We would also like to thank all other contenders for their contributions and hard work and would like to wish everyone a rewarding summer break.

Updates and news

Due to Covid-19, the 2020 ALCS Postgraduate Colloquium ‘City Lights’ won’t take place in July 2020 and will be postponed to a later date.

Students are still warmly invited to submit their Low Countries essays and (short) dissertations for the annual ALCS essay prizesThe deadline has been extended to 30 June 2020.


Fikry El Azzouzi, gastschrijver 2020
Fikry El Azzouzi, gastschrijver 2020
  • The beginning of the lockdown coincided with the final video conference of our annual collaborative Translation project. We were well prepared, as this project is conducted virtually in any case, with students from the universities off Sheffield, Nottingham and UCL joining forces to translate a previously untranslated text. The only difference was that our translators (Jonathan Reeder and Alice Tetley-Jones) and writer (Fikry El Azzouzi) were not physically with us in either location. A full report can be found on the pages of Flanders Literature. Many thanks to our sponsors from the Taalunie for their ongoing support!
  • New Dutch Writing moved their series of events showcasing Dutch Literature in translation online. The first event, Tommy Wieringa in conversation with his translator Sam Garrett, chaired by Suzy Feah was broadcast live and can still be accessed via youtube. second interview in this series was  with Charlotte van den Broeck and her translator David Colmer on the 27th of May on the same platform.
  • Sheffield colleagues and the Centre for Dutch and Flemish Studies  organised their first virtual research seminar with VUB historical sociolinguist Wim Vandenbussche, which was attended by colleagues from across the UK and further afield. This clearly shows that our new virtual ways of working open up collaborative opportunities!


City Lights: Urban Space and Civic Identity in the Low Countries and Beyond

Senate House, University of London, 9-10 July 2020


‘The cities of the world are concentric, isomorphic, synchronic … It’s the effect of their permanent revolution, their intense circulation, their instantaneous magnetism – so different from the rural universe where a sense of the global simultaneity of exchanges does not exist’. — Jean Baudrillard.

The Association for Low Countries Studies is delighted to announce its third postgraduate colloquium,senate_house “City Lights”. Proposals are invited from PhD candidates and early career researchers in the humanities and social sciences. The colloquium will bring together young scholars from the UK and internationally to explore urban space and civic identity in Benelux from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The Low Countries is one of the world’s most urbanised regions. Since the Middle Ages, advances in mercantilism, industry and land reclamation had spurred Bruges, Antwerp and Amsterdam toward exponential growth. Meanwhile, claims to political autonomy and religious freedom caused tension with the powers that be, erupting most violently during the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648). Today, many Netherlandish cities retain a unique sense of identity, manifested in dialects, local legends and civic buildings.

Cities are the engines of culture for both their social connectivity and their inspiring topographies. Chambers of rhetoric were once a mainstay of burgerlijk culture, while civic guilds commissioned some of Rembrandt’s most celebrated works, not least the Night Watch. Entire sub-industries of painting capitalised upon the beauty of Amsterdam’s canals and Utrecht’s churches, and Amsterdam has continued to inspire writers and filmmakers, from Albert Camus to Paul Verhoeven. Are cities replete with utopian possibility, or are they moral and ecological miasmas? As Plato remarked in the Republic, ‘Any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich’. How does the countryside compare?

Proposals on this year’s theme are broadly welcome, but those covering cities and empire, as well as the phenomenology of urban space (including smell- and soundscapes), especially so.

How to apply?

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to Adam Sammut, c/o, with “ALCS 2020” in the subject heading, together with a short biography. Bursaries will be available, with priority given to self-funded students. Please indicate should you wish to be considered.

 Deadline for submissions: 31 March 2020.