What is typically Dutch?

The word “Netherlands” means “Low Countries.” The flatness of the countryas well as the struggle against the ever threatening sea are strong metaphors in the definition of Dutch identity. Exemplary are the 17th century landscape paintings with a high sky to accentuate the flatness,and the major Dutch hydraulic works to protect the country against the seaby a network of dikes. Popular symbols such as the wooden shoes and the windmills to drain water also refer to a nation where people had to adapt themselves to life on marshy ground. Sailing and ice skating are sportswith a long tradition in a country with an abundance of lakes, rivers, canals and a long seashore. In the almost completely flat Netherlands, 40 percent of all traffic is done by bicycle. Nearly 85 percent of the population own at least one bicycle. Another famous Dutch symbol, the tulip, refers to the involvement in international trade and the incorporation of foreign elements. The flower was originally imported from Turkey but adapted itself so well to the Dutch soil that it induced an authentic tulip-boom.

Posted in FAQ permalink

About Jeroen Dewulf

Jeroen Dewulf is associate professor in the Department of German, where he teaches courses in both German Studies and Dutch Studies. He is the current director of Berkeley's Institute of European Studies. As the incumbent of the Queen Beatrix Chair, he is also the director of the Dutch Studies Program. He is the founder and chair of both the Executive Committee of the Designated Emphasis in Dutch Studies and the Executive Committee of the Designated Emphasis in European Studies for graduate students. As an affiliated member of the Center for African Studies and core member of the faculty board of the Latin American Studies Graduate Group, he is also active in the field of African Studies and Latin-American Studies. He is also the literary executor of the Swiss author Hugo Loetscher (1929-2009). Dewulf graduated with a major in Germanic Philology and a minor in Portuguese Studies at the University of Ghent, in Belgium. He holds an MA from the University of Porto, in Portugal, and a PhD in German Literature from the University of Bern, in Switzerland. He has been a visiting professor at the University of São Paulo and the Institute of Advanced Studies at UCL London. His research interests are as diverse as Dutch and Portuguese (post)colonial literature and history, transatlantic slave trade, Low Countries studies, Swiss literature and culture and European politics in general. He publishes in five different languages (English, Dutch, German, Portuguese and French). For his scholarly service, he was distinguished, in 1999, with the Quality Seal for Innovating Initiatives in the Field of Foreign Language Education by the European Union and he was awarded by the Cultural Foundation of the Swiss UBS-Bank for his research on Swiss-German literature. In 2010, he was distinguished by the Hellman Family Faculty Fund as one of the “Best of Berkeley Researchers” and in 2012 he won the Robert O. Collins Award in African Studies as well as the American Cultures Innovation in Teaching Award. In 2014, he was distinguished with the Hendricks Award of the New Netherland Institute for his research on the early Dutch history of New York and the first slave community on Manhattan. In 2015, his research on the slave population in Louisiana was distinguished with the Louisiana History President's Memorial Award and both in 2015 and 2016, he was the recipient of the Clague and Carol Van Slyke Article Prize in New Netherland studies.

Comments are closed.