Centenary of Dutch Studies at UCL (and the Anglophone world at large)

alcs2019Between 6 and 9 November close to 80 international scholars from both sides of the Atlantic met in the UCL Institute for Advanced Studies for the 13th international conference of the Association for Low Countries Studies “Worlding the Low Countries”, marking the 100th anniversary of UCL Dutch. In 1919 the very first Chair for Dutch Studies in the Anglophone world was instituted here, with the later famous historian Pieter Geyl as first incumbent.

Dagomar Degroot delivering his keynoteWith keynotes on the “Dutch Republic and the Future of Conflict in a Warming Climate” by Dagomar Degroot (Georgetown), “Rethinking Dutch Literary Modernity (1880–1920) by Saskia Pieterse (Utrecht), “Diasporic Objects and Persons, Restitution and the Gift” by Bambi Ceuppens (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Brussels) and “Translation and the Multiple Languages of the Early Modern Low Countries” by SELCS‘s very own Theo Hermans, and 15 packed panels, the conference focussed on the worldliness of the Low Countries by broadening this type of research to the study of Dutch, including, of course, its global varieties and relations.

Bambi Ceuppens delivering her keynoteThe scholarly programme was rounded off by a screening of Marjoleine Boonstra’s The Miracle of Le Petit Prince, followed by a Q&A with the director in the Dutch Centre, and culminated in an alumni reunion and festive celebration of UCL Dutch’s centenary on Saturday 9th, for which more than 100 alumni of the department had signed up. Axel Rüger, the newly appointed chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts and former director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and Curator of the Low Countries collections at the National Gallery, entertained the audience with a visually engaging talk on his experiences of working in the art world and brokering relations between the UK and the Low Countries.

ALCS2019

Alumni and Friends of UCL Dutch are encouraged to join our LinkedIn group (bit.ly/31q6hsx) to stay in touch with the department. Information about the UCLDutch Centenary programme and upcoming events can also be found at dutch100.com and on Twitter @ucldutch.

Hans Bennis, Taaluni director, opening the diner pensantA Diner Pensant on the eve of the conference, kindly hosted in the Royal Academy of Arts, brought together representatives of UCL, our Dutch colleagues from Sheffield, the University Council of Modern Languages, the diplomatic missions and other stakeholders to discuss the institutional environment of Dutch Studies on a UK-wide level. We are grateful for the generous support by our partners and sponsors the Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union), Flanders House, the UCL Institute for Advanced Studies, SELCS, the Anglo-Netherlands Society, the Dutch Centre, The Low Countries and Tony’s Chocolonely slavery-free chocolate.

More information can be found on the conference website.