Why Speak Dutch?
Dutch looks and sounds more like English than any other national language . . . have a look at the following pairs: him/hem, to hope/hopen, house/huis, pen/pen, one-two-three-four-five / een-twee-drie-vier-vijf…
22 MILLION inhabitants of the Netherlands and Flemish Belgium speak Dutch.
GOVERNMENT and POLITICS: Brussels is the capital of the European Community.
WORLDWIDE: Dutch is the official language of Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles. Scholars of the history of the East Indies, and of Indonesian legal studies, often use texts written in Dutch
AMERICA The first European settlers of New York State and the Hudson Valley were Dutch.
THE ARTS Art (Karel Appel, Piet Mondriaan, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Marcel Broodthaers) music (Urban Dance Squad, Bettie Serveert, Concertg ebouw Orchestra), dance, and the theater are flourishing in the Dutch-speaking world; the very lively Dutch tradition of literature dates back to the Middle Ages.
SCIENCE and ENGINEERING The Universities of the Low Countries are famous for their research in Agriculture, Aquatic Engineering, and City Planning. Belgium and the Netherlands play an important role in international business and industry.
BUSINESS The Netherlands is the third biggest foreign investor in the USA today. More than 50% of large international corporations have their European distribution centers in The Netherlands 20% of large foreign companies have their main office for Europe in The Netherlands. Over the past eight years American investment in the Netherlands was twice what it was in Mexico and ten times what it was in China*.
Course offerings in Dutch include five semesters of language instruction as well as courses in the literature and culture of the Low Countries. Courses in Dutch language satisfy the L&S foreign language requirement, while courses in Dutch literature and culture carry literature and humanities credits, respectively. Dutch literature is also offered under Literature in Translation. A certificate or major in Dutch Studies is not yet established at the UW-Madison, but interested students are encouraged to pursue an individual major in the field. In addition to the study of language, literature, and culture, this could entail course work in art history, geography, history, sociology, and so on. Courses taken in the study abroad program in Utrecht can also be applied to an individual major in Dutch Studies. To hear from a student who went abroad in the Netherlands, click here.