New Dutch Writing campaign kicks off with focus on literary translation

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The New Dutch Writing campaign launched last week, with a focus on literary translation and presenting a new generation of Dutch authors.

Dutch and British representatives from the world of books and translation gathered to celebrate the launch at The Union Club in Soho on Wednesday evening (3rd July). Speeches were given by Brechje Schwachofer, deputy ambassador of the Dutch Embassy, and Bas Pauw from the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

Pauw said: “New Dutch Writing will focus on presenting a new generation of Dutch authors, an exciting young literature written at the heart of Europe, by Britains closest neighbours on the continent – both geographically and psychologically. A literature that feels familiar and exotic at the same time.  

“The other central theme of the campaign will be literary translation. Literary translation as a vital culture – not as a threshold for foreign authors, not as a nuisance for publishers, but as an intriguing intellectual skill and as a cultural richness. We will give centre stage to the people who make it possible for UK readers to read Dutch books. We will get translators on stage, organise residencies for translators and reach out to the young generation of aspiring translators. The campaign will be celebrating the work of translators and capitalising on the growing interest in international literature among UK readers.”

The launch saw The Union building specially dressed in the New Dutch Writing livery and attendees received goody bags including samplers for forthcoming Dutch books from John Murray and Picador, a gift voucher for new Dutch restaurant Gezellig and a bespoke NDW bicycle bell.

More information here and here.

Three events at UCL Festival of Culture (3-7 June 2019)

UCL’s Department of Dutch was present with three events at this year’s Festival of Culture, an annual festival organised by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities for the wider public.

Christine Sas kicked off on Monday 3rd of July with a Dutch language taster, attended by over 30 visitors.

On Tuesday, Reinier Salverda enlightened his audience in the British Library Pavilion with a discussion of “The Book that killed Colionalism”, Max Havelaar, by Multatuli. A Dutch classic, still relevant to literature, history and politics today, Max Havelaar is the emblem of the Dutch Fair Trade Movement, and its latest English translation has recently been published by the New York Review of Books in its Classics Originals series.

Visitors were also invited to a show and tell session with curator of Dutch Collections Marja Kingma at the British Library to see original books by and about Multatuli from their Dutch Collection.

On Friday of the Festival Week, a group of die-hards joined Ulrich Tiedau in the pouring rain on a Dutch walk through Bloomsbury that took them from the impressive Dutch library at UCL, past Gerard Reve’s former living place, when he unsuccessfully tried to establish himself on the English market in the 1950s, the Elizabeth Anderson Gallery with its connections to Dutch and British feminism, the Eurostar terminal, London’s gateway to the Low Countries, and the many beautiful Dutch and Flemish exhibits of the British Library.


One of the most typical Dutch holidays, after Sinterklaas maybe, is King’s Day. Celebrated since 1885, as Princess’s Day for Princess Wilhelmina, this day has brought a lot of festivities for the people in the Netherlands through the ages. Now that this beautiful day was also celebrated in London, our UCL department of Dutch naturally had to be there!

The orange decorations gave some warmth and happiness to the cold and windy day that was the 27th of April. All around and in the Dutch Centre and Dutch church games were played by children, Dutch snacks were eaten, and music was played. Inside was a live-stream of the Royal Family’s tour through Amersfoort and an auction, outside a flea market. All together, it was a very Dutch feeling.

Vera and I were there to represent UCL, and promote the centenary of the department. With Dutch candy and stroopwafels to win, we challenged people to do a Dutch quiz. Questions included: ‘What are hunnebedden?’ ‘What city is orange in Dutch Monopoly?’ and ‘When was the so-called Golden Age of the Netherlands?’ Lots of people showed interest, although many were scared to enter the competition. However we had a lot of fun, we able to explain about the program and the coming activities. And even some students stopped by!

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,, 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.

Translation Workshop with Lisa Weeda (5 March 2019)

Lisa Weeda

UCL Dutch 2019 writer in residence, Lisa Weeda, worked with students of Dutch from the Universities of Sheffield, Nottingham and UCL on our annual Translation Project, in collaboration with professional translator Jonathan Reeder (known for his English translations of Peter Buwalda and Christine Otten among others). Together, they translated Lisa’s text for a virtual reality project which will premiere at this year’s Passa Porta Literary Festival at Huis de Buren in Brussels. Continue reading “Translation Workshop with Lisa Weeda (5 March 2019)”

A Triple First and more: the new English translation of Multatuli’s Max Havelaar (13 March 2019)

by Reinier Salverda

Max Havelaar

On Wednesday 13 March 2019 the weekly UCL Dutch Translation Seminar was dedicated to Multatuli’s great novel of 1860 on the Dutch colonial era: Max Havelaar or, the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company [ISBN: 978-1-68137-262-4]. The book wasn’t out yet in the UK, yet – thanks to its publisher, the New York Review of Books, and to Waterstone’s Gower Street Bookshop – we received the necessary advance copies in time before the Seminar, and well before the bulk of the books is due to arrive, Brexit permitting, in the UK in April/May. Continue reading “A Triple First and more: the new English translation of Multatuli’s Max Havelaar (13 March 2019)”

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

Lisa Weeda

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. Continue reading “Subtext: an evening with Lisa Weeda (5 March 2019)”

Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal 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. Continue reading “Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal 2019”

Poetry Translation Workshop with Arnold Jansen op de Haar

24 January 2019

Holland Press
Arnold Jansen op de Haar

Like last year, Dutch poet Arnold Jansen op de Haar, who is also editor and publisher at Holland Park Press, will visit the Dutch finalists’ Advanced Translation class this term, for an insightful workshop on translating poetry.

Students will have a go at translating a canonical Dutch poem (‘Compagnie de Mozambique’ by J. J. Slauerhoff) and one of his own poems, ‘contemplating writing a novel”,

reminiscing about the Dutch landscape. Together with the author, they will  discuss their translation strategy and choices, and analyse and evaluate existing English translations of both poems. Continue reading “Poetry Translation Workshop with Arnold Jansen op de Haar”