Dutch studies boosted by Ambassador's visit

The Ambassador of the Netherlands will pay a visit to the University of Sheffield next week to mark the arrival of a new collection of Dutch language, literature and history books to the University's library. The Ambassador's visit follows news that a Research Centre for Dutch Studies is to be established at the University, which will encourage further study and appreciation of the culture of the Low Countries.

HE Ambassador Count Jan de Marchant et d'Ansembourg will visit the University on Thursday 21 April 2005. During the course of the day he will meet Professor Bob Boucher, Vice-Chancellor of the University, as well as Professor Peter King, formerly at the University of Hull, whose private collection of nearly 3000 books detailing Dutch history, language and literature from the middle ages to the 20th century are now housed in the University of Sheffield's library. The transfer of the Peter King collection and its integration into the University library will be officially marked in a ceremony in the University's Firth Court building. The transfer has been sponsored by the Nederlandse Taalunie - a Dutch-Flemish organisation which aims to promote Dutch language and culture abroad.

The Ambassador will also have the chance to meet students at the University who are studying Dutch studies as part of their degree course, and staff from the Department of Germanic Studies who have played a key role in ensuring the continued success and growth of Dutch studies at the University of Sheffield.

Dutch has been taught at the University of Sheffield since 1948, and can be taken by students alongside other modern European languages such as French or German. Substantial expertise in Dutch studies exists across the University with staff in the departments of History, English and Landscape, actively supporting the expansion of Dutch teaching and research within the Department of Germanic Studies.

Dr Roel Vismans, Senior Lecturer in Dutch Studies at the University of Sheffield said, "I'm delighted that the Ambassador is coming to Sheffield to officially mark the integration of the Peter King collection into our library. The new books are a great boost to students and academics interested in Dutch culture, literature and language in Sheffield.

"The Ambassador's visit reinforces Sheffield's place at the forefront of Dutch studies in the UK, as will the soon-to-be established Research Centre for Dutch Studies which will help to increase Sheffield's capacity to teach and research the rich culture, history, art, literature and language of the Low Countries."

Notes for Editors: For further information: please contact Danielle Reeves, Media Relations Officer on 0114 222 5339 or email d.reeves@sheffield.ac.uk