Meet the Team

Our Dutch Studies community consists of undergraduate and postgraduate students, Language Coaches, Taalunie Teaching Assistant and our academic staff.

group of students with a pick Dutch poster
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Get to know our Dutch Studies academic staff and find out how you can get in touch with them. If you are an Erasmus student from the Netherlands or Flanders, check out our Taalunie Language assistants' opportunities and get in touch.

Filip De Ceuster
Filip De Ceuster in what looks to be an underground cave

What’s your name?
Filip De Ceuster, but you can call me Filip or Fip.

What’s your role within Dutch Studies at Sheffield?
I teach Low Countries History and Culture, and Dutch Language across all levels. I am specialised in Interwar Literature, but I also teach a module on ecocriticism in contemporary Dutch and Flemish children’s literature.

Favourite spot in Sheffield?
Definitely my colleague Yeti’s lovely garden, where at the end of the academic year all students of Dutch gather for the Gezellige Nederlandse Zomerborrel! Bunting, bubbles, bites and bulbs! 

Favourite spot in the Low Countries?
That’s a difficult one...
Outside: the quays of the river Scheldt (Schelde) in the city of Antwerp. Watching the ships and seagulls on long summer evenings, cracked cobbles with dandelions… It was one of my favourite reading spots when I was a student.
Inside: the magnificent Printing Museum of Plantin-Moretus (also in Antwerp), which has a unique book collection and the oldest printing presses in the world!

Favourite word or expression in Dutch?
So many! But here’s a good one: “Als de vos de passie preekt, boer, let op uw kippen!”. Literally: if the fox preaches the passion, farmer, watch your chickens! 

A tip for incoming SLC students?
Get out of your comfort zone, try new things and keep a journal. (I do realise that that is more than one tip.) And take up Dutch! (that’s four now). 

Check Filip's Academic Profile

Henriette Louwerse
Henriette Louwerse

What’s your name?
Henriette Louwerse. In Dutch, Henriette is shortened to Jet, which you pronounce as /yet/. That is why I am also called Yeti (Jet in Dutch)

What’s your role within Dutch Studies at Sheffield?
I am the Director of Studies and I teach Dutch for Beginners and one semester of our Dutch Advanced course. I also offer a course on (post)colonial history and society and on the representation and ideology of the family in Dutch and Flemish literature and film. And finally I am interested in translation. 

Favourite spot in Sheffield?
I have many favourite spots, I like Tamper Coffee because it serves such a mean flat white. I like Weston Park because it is so green and timeless, but my top spot is the Western Bank Library. Go in, smell the books and you’ll  feel learned! Or at least inspired to read and study. And the staff are very helpful. 

Favourite spot in the Low Countries?
I will go for anywhere in Friesland; I love the northern provinces a lot but it is where I grew up. I am also very fond of the beaches in Zeeland. And Groningen is my favourite city.

Favourite word or expression in Dutch?
I love the ‘oe’ sound in Dutch which is close to English ‘oo’ but a little bit shorter. The word smoesje is one of my favourite words because it is sweet and short and (quite) harmless and it means excuse, little white lie. 

A tip for incoming SLC students?
Give as much as you take; engage from the start; and if you are unsure about something, just get in touch. We are here for you.

Check Henriette's Academic Profile

Dorus Berkers
studnet with broad smile in the Peak District

What’s your name?
My name is Dorus (he/him).

What’s your role within Dutch Studies at Sheffield?
Throughout the first semester of the academic year, I will be one of two language assistants helping you guys out during the conversation seminars! I’ll be doing some correcting work, but I’ll be most busy talking with you about all things Dutch.

Favourite spot in Sheffield?
I’ve only been to Sheffield once for a few days. So, I’d say that I haven’t had a chance to see all the amazing spots the city has to offer. Although there is this nice coffee shop in the heart of Sheffield which has this cosy atmosphere well-suited for studying. It’s called Hygge. 

Favourite spot in the Low Countries?
I’d say that my favourite spot in the Low Countries would be my hometown of Asten. You won’t be able to find a place that celebrates Southern-Dutch “Carnaval” better than we do!

Favourite word or expression in Dutch?
My favourite Dutch expression is definitely “komkommertijd” which literally translates to “cucumber time”. It refers to this quiet summer period when there’s not really anything too crazy or newsworthy happening in our country.

A tip for incoming SLC students?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes in class! I’m sure I’ll be making lots of mistakes when speaking English too! 

Emma Buursema
Student in front f a lake with hills in the background

What’s your name?
My name is Emma, which is a very popular name in the Netherlands, so my parents were not really creative when naming me but they tried.  

What’s your role within Dutch Studies at Sheffield?
In the first semester of 2022-2023, I will be a Taalunie Teaching Assistant. I will help during the conversation lessons where students can practise what they have learned about Dutch in class in a more interactive and informal setup. 

Favourite spot in Sheffield?
I have not been to Sheffield yet, so I still have to discover what my favourite spot is, but I love running in nature. I heard that part of Sheffield lies in a national park so this will probably be my favourite spot where I will spend a lot of time running and walking. 

Favourite spot in the Low Countries?
Of course, my home city of Groningen! It is a city that never sleeps. It has the greatest parties and with all the lovely people there it is definitely my favourite place in the Low Countries.

Favourite word or expression in Dutch?
My favourite expression in Dutch is “Niet geschoten is altijd mis” which literally means “Not shooting always means missing”. It is explained as if you don’t try you will never succeed. 

A tip for incoming SLC students?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because that’s the best way to learn new things. Being perfect doesn’t exist.

Roel Vismans
Professor Roel Vismans

Professor Roel Vismans comes from Rotterdam, the Netherlands´ second city. After studying English at the Free University Amsterdam and Linguistics at the University of Manchester, he returned to the Free University Amsterdam in 1994 to obtain my doctorate in Dutch linguistics, with a dissertation on Dutch modal particles.

He says
"My career as a teacher of Dutch started when I was an MA student at the University of Manchester. Between 1981 and 2003 I taught Dutch at the University of Hull, where I also spent three years as director of the university´s language centre. I joined the Department of Germanic Studies in Sheffield in September 2003 as Senior Lecturer in Dutch. Between 2007 and 2011 I was Head of Germanic Studies. I was promoted to Reader in January 2011 and to Professor in January 2018. I retired in September 2019, but am still working on several projects."

Check Roel's Academic Profile

Anna Geurts

Dr Anna Geurts is Honorary Research Fellow in Dutch Studies. She currently works for the Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen but she will soon be one of our guest speakers for our Centre for Dutch and Flemish Studies.

Gemma Blacker
Smiling young woman looking into the camera

What’s your name?
Gemma Blacker - Gemma works just fine or you can call me Gem, I don’t mind!

What’s your role within Dutch Studies at Sheffield?
I’m in my final year at Sheffield and I am a Practical Language Assistant for Beginners’ Dutch. I am also part of the Nederlandse Vereniging. Having been in the beginners’ shoes only a couple of years ago myself, I’m really keen to encourage you to be confident and enjoy your experience of learning Dutch! I can’t wait to see your progress! :)

Favourite spot in Sheffield?
It has to be the Botanical Gardens! It’s the best place to go if you want to step out of the city and into somewhere more tranquil! There you will find some of the most idyllic, peaceful spots to sit and read, all whilst being surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers. Bolehills also deserves a mention! It’s slightly further out of the city and up a hill (the clue is in the name!), but you’re immediately greeted with rather impressive views when you arrive, especially when the sun is setting or early in the morning. 

Favourite spot in the Low Countries?
My only experience in the Low Countries is when I visited Utrecht with my school, long before I had even considered studying Dutch, so it’s my favourite place by default! I love that you can sit level with the Oudegracht canal watching the boats pass whilst having lunch in a quaint cafe or restaurant. I hope to discover more hidden gems in the Low Countries for myself in the near future! 

Favourite word or expression in Dutch?
I love the word knuffel, meaning hug. It somehow perfectly embodies everything that a hug is! Add a diminutive to the end and it just gets even better, knuffeltje - a little hug. I wish the English language had diminutives! 

A tip for incoming SLC students?
You really do get out what you put in so be open-minded, do things outside of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid! You’re surrounded by great people in SLC so ask questions, ask for help when you need it and follow your interests! Lastly, don’t stress - everything will fall into place eventually! 

Cyd Sturgess

Dr Cyd Sturgess did both her BA, her MA and her PhD in German and Dutch Studies. She was taught several courses with us and she won a prize for being the best Postgraduate Tutor when she taught our final year culture course. Currently she teaches German but she is always ready to step in! Cyd talks about how she tackles teaching literature in a way you have never done it before. 


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