If you’ve simply nodded (without understanding of course!) to a local who greeted you with a ‘goedemorgen” as you walked or cycled to the Van Gogh Museum or to the woman at a cheese shop who thanked you with a “dank u wel” as you paid her across the counter, it’s now time to learn the language right here in the city.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) recently started a Dutch language course. It will initially be available as an optional course to all JNU students.
“For the Dutch Studies Programme at the university we are currently looking at 20-25 seats in each programme. It is a part of an elective course and the duration will depend on the student’s interest. There is no separate fee for the course. It will be a part of the curriculum of JNU students,” says Chrissy Hosea, who will be conducting the course.
The programme will enable students to learn about the culture, society and literature of the Dutch-speaking countries and ensure good job prospects in the travel and tourism industry and the business outsourcing sector, apart from academics and cultural research.
In addition, MA students will have the option of taking a course in Dutch literature and culture, says Alphonsus Stoelinga, ambassador of The Netherlands.
The course will be part of the curriculum for courses offered at the Centre of Germanic Studies, JNU. “Students will have to register for the courses with the Centre of German Studies at JNU.
“This will also open the window to Dutch culture and enhance the life skills of the students, since learning a language necessarily involves being confronted with people who hold different values and have different customs than you.
“Therefore, in my view, learning a new language entails acquiring a broader view of the world, an absolute necessity in today’s global economies,” says Hosea.
The Centre is also looking at the possibilities of developing conferences, summer schools and other academic programmes.
Like English and German, Dutch is a Germanic language. It is spoken by 23 million people and is one of the 23 official languages of the European Union.
This initiative is supported by both JNU and Nederlandse Taalunie, an organisation that supports Dutch studies outside the Dutch language area.
It is managed by a committee of ministers comprising the Dutch and Flemish ministers for culture and education.