Fikry El Azzouzi will be 2020 Writer in Residence @UCLDutch

Fikry El Azzouzi, UCLDutch Writer in Residence 2020The Dutch Department’s annual Writer in Residence 2020 will be Flemish author and journalist Fikry El Azzouzi.

Dutch department finalists will be translating a section of his latest novel De Beloning (‘The reward’), in collaboration with their counterparts at the Universities of Sheffield and Nottingham.

Fikry El Azzouzi (b. 1978), a Flemish-Moroccan author, writes novels, columns and plays. He debuted in 2010 with ‘The Feast of the Sheep’. For his novel Drarrie in the Night and his play ‘Jihad Travels’, he was awarded the 65th Arkprijs van het Vrije Woord. She Alone is the love story of a Flemish woman and a Moroccan man, and at the same time a dystopian warning about Europe and its growing fear of everything that is different. The Reward is a satirical coming-of-age story.

LetterenfondsFlanders Literature

2019 Anglo-Netherlands postgraduate essay prize awarded to Lucelle Pardoe

ANS Essay Prize 2019
Christine Sas. Lucelle Pardoe, Jeremy Bentham (all UCL) and Paul Dimond (ANS).

Recent UCL Dutch Translation Masters graduate Lucelle Pardoe has been awarded the 2019 Essay Prize of the Anglo-Netherlands Society (ANS). Her essay, titled ‘Doodgewoon: Translating Age-Appropriate Material in Dutch Children’s Literature’, dealt with translating a children’s book about coping with death into a different culture. Paul Dimond, ANS Council member and former British Ambassador presented Lucelle with her certificate, the prize cheque and a complimentary membership of the Anglo-Netherlands Society yesterday (21 November 2019). As is apparent from the picture, Jeremy Bentham regarded the ceremony with favour.

Founded in 1920, only one year after UCL Dutch, the Anglo-Netherlands Society has worked to develop goodwill and understanding between the peoples of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands for almost a century. The Society has as its purpose the promotion of the social, artistic, literary, educational, scientific and other interests that the Dutch and the British have in common. It is a non-party-political, non-profit making organisation with a national remit, based in London, and run by voluntary effort.

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.


Alumni and Friends of UCL Dutch are encouraged to join our LinkedIn group ( to stay in touch with the department. Information about the UCLDutch Centenary programme and upcoming events can also be found at 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.

(Re)Watch Dagomar Degroot’s opening keynote from “Worlding the Low Countries” conference, 6 November 2019

Lessons from the Golden Age: The Dutch Republic and the Future of Conflict in a Warming Climate

As temperatures soar in the coming century, essential resources may grow scarce in temperate latitudes but more abundant in the Arctic. Geographers, political scientists, and journalists have concluded that wars will grow more common as the distribution and quantity of resources shift to favour some nations over others. Yet the history of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century reveals that these relation­ships are much more complicated than common­ly assumed. Climatic shocks in that century, caused largely by volcanic eruptions, did indeed incite violence across the Dutch trading empire, but only by exacerbating existing sources of discontent.

Dagomar DegrootClimate change could also mitigate conflict, however, including in the Arctic where environ­ments were especially sensitive to changes in temperature. By changing environments that served as battlefields, climatic trends also influenced how the long wars of the seventeenth century actually unfolded, a relationship rarely considered in projections of the hotter future. Perhaps above all, wars fought by the Dutch and other polities across the early modern world made many communities and societies more vulnerable to the worst effects of climate change.

The experiences of the Dutch in the seventeenth century cannot tell us exactly what we can expect in the very different world to come, but they can help us imagine the future in different, more complex ways.

BBC3 Radio on modern Dutch literature (9 Oct. 2019, 10pm)


Laurence Scott looks at the way Dutch writers are addressing history and contemporary life with Rodaan Al Galidi, Eva Meijer, Onno Blom, Herman Koch and Toon Tellegen.

Eva Meijer is an author, artist, singer, songwriter and philosopher. Her non-fiction study on animal Communication, Animal Languages has been published this year and her first novel to be translated into English Bird Cottage, has been nominated for the BNG and Libris prizes in the Netherlands and is being translated into several languages.

Rodaan Al Galidi is a trained engineer who fled his native Iraq and arrived in the Netherlands in 1998. He taught himself Dutch and now writes both prose and poetry. His novel De autist en de postduif (The autist and the carrier-pigeon) was one of the books in 2011 given the EU Prize for Literature.

Onno Blom is an author, literary reviewer and freelance journalist who has appears regularly discussing books on the Dutch radio show TROS Nieuws, has worked as editor-in-chief at the publishing house Prometheus and whose biography of the Dutch artist and sculptor Jan Hendrik Wolkers won the 2018 Dutch biography prize.

Herman Koch is an actor and a writer. His best selling novelist, The Dinner, was published in 55 countries and sold more than a million copies. His new book, The Ditch, is a literary thriller.

Toon Tellegen is is one of the best-known Dutch writers. In 2007 he received two major prizes for his entire oeuvre. He considers himself in the first place a poet and has published more than twenty collections of poetry to date, among them Raptors. He is also a novelist and a prolific and popular children’s author.

Events put on by the Dutch Foundation for Literature, New Dutch Writing and Modern Culture take Dutch writers to Norwich, London.

Producer: Zahid Warley

Release date: 09 October 2019
44 minutes


Dutch Walk through Bloomsbury and King’s Cross

Many thanks to everybody who came along to the Dutch events on the UCL It’s All Academic Festival – a fun, free, interactive festival for all ages and interests. Almost 40 people signed up for the Dutch Language Taster (Yes, You Can Speak Dutch!) and our  Dutch Walk through Bloomsbury  & King’s Cross, next to many other exciting events from across UCL.
Christine reading "The Evenings" in front of Gerard Reve's home 1952-57
Christine reading “The Evenings” in front of Gerard Reve’s home 1952-57
Gerard Reve
Gerard Reve, Fotocollectie Anefo Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, no. 921-9989
Anne Frank
Anne Frank bust by Doreen Kern in the British Library







Aletta Jacobs
Aletta Jacobs meets Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
VOC pub in King’s Cross (now closed)

Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies, vol. 43, no. 3 (November 2019)

Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries StudiesDutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies
vol. 43, no. 3 (November 2019)

Select papers from the XIXth Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference on Netherlandic Studies (Bloomington, Ind., June 2018)
Guest-edited by Marsely L. Kehoe (Hope College, Holland, Mich.) and Jesse Sadler (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, Cal.)



Select papers from the XIXth Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference on Netherlandic Studies
Marsely L. Kehoe & Jesse Sadler


Political Sites and Collective Identities in Hendrick Avercamp’s Ice-Skating Landscapes
Isabella Lores-Chavez

Birds of a Feather: Deciphering the Didactic Iconography and Humour of Adriaen van de Venne’s Hoe dienen wij bij een!
Sarah Dyer Magleby

New Netherlands, Archival Deficiency, and Contesting New York History in the Antebellum U.S.
Derek Kane O’Leary

From Bastions to Models: Deutsche Schulen in Den Niederlanden as Tools of German Cultural Policy
Joshua Sander


Political Sites and Collective Identities in Hendrick Avercamp’s Ice-Skating Landscapes
Isabella Lores-Chavez

In the first decades of the seventeenth century, Hendrick Avercamp was among the first Dutch painters to prioritize local landscape subjects as a source of pictorial interest. Avercamp’s ice-skating scenes offer a vision of a prosperous society emerging in the Northern provinces in the midst of the Dutch Revolt against Spain. This paper argues that Avercamp’s work, rather than simply celebrating a quaint pastime, invites a more political reading. Avercamp’s use of nascent symbols of Dutch identity – particularly the tricolour flag – tie his paintings inextricably to the political cause of Dutch autonomy, and suggest the political consciousness of the citizens of the young Republic.

Birds of a Feather: Deciphering the Didactic Iconography and Humour of Adriaen van de Venne’s Hoe dienen wij bij een!
Sarah Dyer Magleby

Delft-born Adriaen van de Venne (1580–1662) is an artist well-known for his genre scenes, portraits, and book illustrations. He also created images with great moralistic and comic value, such as his painting Hoe dienen wij bij een!, made between c. 1614 and 1662. This painting portrays two brown and black-spotted owls in the guise of humans skating on a frozen lake. As other more conventional birds soar above the distant skeletal trees, these feathered creatures both wear contemporary clothing. The male owl also clenches a rope in his beak with a pair of glasses knotted at the end. This same rope attaches behind him to the female owl’s chest, but instead of spectacles, her end holds several dead mice. Above the two anthropomorphic animals floats a banderole, which translates to ‘How well we go together!’ Although scholars believe van de Venne intended this work as lighthearted with only a vague message of foolishness, I contend that through the artist’s use of iconographic imagery and well-known proverbs and themes, van de Venne produced a humorous painting with a moralizing and didactic message which condemned the vice of adultery and warned the male audience about the dangers of a cunning woman.

New Netherlands, Archival Deficiency, and Contesting New York History in the Antebellum U.S.
Derek Kane O’Leary

In nineteenth-century New York, the collection, translation, and republication of documents related to colonial Dutch history was about more than antiquarianism or the ethno-centrism of Dutch-descended Americans. With the unprecedented support of the state of New York and U.S. ministers in Europe, the New York Historical Society (NYHS) orchestrated a much more ambitious project to reinscribe Dutch imperialism within a grander narrative of the state. This, they hoped, would situate New York at the centre of national history, and its archive as the nation’s most important historical record. In doing so, the stewards of the state’s archives and history worked to displace the burlesque rendition of New York’s past popularized by Washington Irving, in favor of a unified, progressive, celebratory narrative.

From Bastions to Models: Deutsche Schulen in Den Niederlanden as Tools of German Cultural Policy
Joshua Sander

Successive German governments in the twentieth century used the system of German International Schools to achieve their cultural policy goals in the Netherlands. Prior to the Nazi assumption of power, the Weimar government and local German community leaders in the Netherlands saw the schools as bastions of German culture and as tools to prevent the ‘Dutchification’ of Germans living abroad. With Hitler’s accession to the Chancellorship, the purpose of these schools changed to include the inculcation of a National Socialist and Germanic worldview among the students. Finally, with the German occupation during the Second World War, these schools, which the Nazi occupiers significantly expanded, were seen as models for the future development of Dutch education. Although the ultimate Nazi defeat limited the effect of these German International Schools upon the larger Dutch educational establishment, the changes the German Schools underwent in the 1930s were largely mirrored by Dutch institutions during the occupation. The German International Schools therefore stand as further evidence of the Nazis’ larger designs for the Netherlands after the hoped-for German victory.