Low Countries Studies

Low Countries Studies is a post academic programme for anyone wanting to learn more about Flanders, Belgium and the Netherlands.

It offers an overview of various aspects of Flemish society (language, art and culture, history, the media, the Flemish landscape, town and country planning, etc.) and everyday customs in Flanders, all within the broader perspective of Belgium and the Low Countries.

In the past few years the number of registrations for Low Countries Studies has climbed to over two hundred and fifty participants originating from over fifty different countries all over the world, from Australia to Zambia.

more about Low Countries Studies

  • 12 lectures
  • on Wednesday evenings 
  • from 7 PM until 8:30 PM
  • in Ghent
  • €25 per lecture or €250 for the full programme

Basic introduction to the Dutch language

  • lecture by Jacques Van Keymeulen (Faculty of Arts)
  • Wednesday 16 February 2022

The Media in Flanders

  • by Sarah Van Leuven (Faculty of Political and Social Sciences)
  • Wednesday 23 February 2022

Geography and landscapes of the Low Countries 

  • by Marc Antrop (Faculty of Sciences)
  • Wednesday 2 March 2022

The Belgian federation: origins, functioning, prospects

  • by Maxime Vandenberghe (Faculty of Political and Social Sciences)
  • Wednesday 9 March 2022

The Urban Roots of Medieval Europe: the contribution of the cities of Flanders

  • by Marc Boone (Faculty of Arts)
  • Wednesday 16 March 2022

Rubens or Rembrandt? Art, Politics and the Roots of Belgium and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries

  • by Jonas Roelens (Faculty of Arts)
  • Wednesday 23 March 2022

Polyphonic Music in the Low Countries

  • by Francis Maes (Faculty of Arts)
  • 30 March 2022

Dutch Literature and the Visual Arts since 1600

  • by Lars Bernaerts and Kornee van der Haven (Faculty of Arts)
  • Wednesday 20 April 2022

Ending life and procreating in Flanders and in the Netherlands 

  • by Freddy Mortier (Faculty of Arts)
  • Wednesday 27 April 2022

The position of Flanders in the Belgian Economy 

  • by Marc De Clercq (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration)
  • Wednesday 4 May 2022

From the Belgian Colonial War to the murder of Patrice Lumumba, 1876-1961

  • by Mathieu Zana Etambala (Faculty of Arts)
  • Wednesday 11 May 2022

Molenbeek (in Brussels): a Low Countries Large City Multicultural Laboratory

  • by Johan Leman (Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven)
  • Wednesday 18 May 2022
  • €250 if you wish to attend all lectures
  • €25 per lecture if you register for one or more lectures separately
  • free for students enrolled at Ghent University, including exchange and PhD students

How to register?

  1. Click on the "toevoegen aan mijn winkelmandje" button in the blue box below, next to the lecture(s) you wish to attend.
  2. Click on the shopping cart icon in the upper right corner of this page.
  3. Click "view cart" to proceed to checkout.
  4. Click on the "Afrekenen" button.
  5. You will receive a confirmation email.

If you are a student at Ghent University, during checkout

  1. select the "I am eligible for a discount" checkbox.
  2. In the dropdown menu next to "uitzonderingsprijs", select the category that applies to you (student / exchange student / PhD student).

Access to the livestream:

  • click on "My profile" in the top right corner of this page
  • click on "Dashboard"

In your dashboard, you will find an overview of all lectures you are registered for.

Fifteen minutes before the start of each lecture, there will appear a “watch the live video” link. Click on it to watch the livestream.

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Low Countries Studies (all lectures)

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

 

 

 

Basic introduction to the Dutch language

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

In the course of the evening, the history of the Dutch language is presented under different angles: the Germanic roots, Latin influence, the history of the linguistic border, the first texts in Dutch, the separation of the Low Countries and the birth of a standard language. The lecture also deals with the Flemish movement, the struggle against French, and the search for a Flemish linguistic identity.

Want to know more? 

Read Roland Willemyns, Dutch. Biography of a language, 2013.

The Media in Flanders

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

This lecture provides an illustrated tour through the Flemish media landscape. From trashy to stylish, from entertaining to boring, from enriching to plain stupid, from 'typically Flemish' programmes to globalised tv-formats: the small, but diverse Flemish media market caters all tastes. The lecture focusses on newspapers, radio and television and answers such questions as: Why do the Flemish students read the papers that they do? Which radio station should you listen to for your favourite music? And what do the Flemish like to watch on tv after a hard day's work?

Geography and landscapes of the Low Countries

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

The geographical meaning of the Low Countries includes Belgium and The Netherlands. The concept is based upon a partially common history and natural similarities. Rare are the regions that show such a diversity in landscapes, both natural and cultural, and in mentality on a rather small area. This lecture presents some geological and historical background that will allow a better understanding of the landscapes and their people when travelling around.

The Belgian federation: origins, functioning, prospects

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

This lecture analyses the complex process of state reform in Belgium. Particular attention is paid to the major historical driving forces behind federalization, the functioning of the Belgian system, and ongoing debates on its future. Why was the unitary state abolished? Why was it replaced by a system of three regions and three communities? How did party politics affect the linguistic/community conflict, and vice versa? Which alternative models are on the table? And what strengthens or weakens Belgium’s chances of survival?

The Urban Roots of Medieval Europe: the contribution of the cities of Flanders

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

Visitors to the Low Countries are often impressed by the cities' cultural and architectural heritage. The lecture guides the student through the medieval and early modern past of the cities of Flanders and Brabant. After examining the representation of the city in medieval and early modern art, the lecturer focusses on the urban network in the Low Countries and the urban economics and politics. He ends by displaying the multiple faces of urban culture.

Want to know more? 

Visit the Groeningemuseum in Bruges!

Rubens or Rembrandt? Art, Politics and the Roots of Belgium and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

The Dutch Revolt (1568-1648) led to the birth of the Dutch Republic (approximately the current-day Netherlands), while the Southern Low Countries (approximately current-day Belgium) remained loyal to their dynastic lord, the Spanish king. The separation of the Northern and Southern Low Countries was the outcome of a complex political and religious conflict that started in the sixteenth century in the large, prosperous cities of the South (Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent) but eventually led to the spectacular rise of Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. The lecturer explains the vibrant, cosmopolitan urban culture of the sixteenth century of which Pieter Bruegel the Elder is the most famous representative and discusses how national identities were molded during the Dutch Revolt, thanks to the unprecedented political use of pamphlets, image and ritual. Although the awareness of a common cultural and political heritage did not entirely disappear, the differences between the inhabitants of the Northern and Southern Low Countries were more and more apparent: the Dutch had always been more freedom-loving, tolerant and thrifty, while the Belgians/Flemish were devout Catholics and true Burgundians, loving good food and wine. The lecturer will discuss and partly deconstruct these clichés, but also show how they continue to live on, most notably in our appreciation of the great 'Dutch' (Rembrandt, Vermeer) and 'Flemish' (Rubens, Jordaens) painters.

Want to know more?

Visit the House of Rubens in Antwerp or the House of Rembrandt in Amsterdam.

Read Hans Vlieghe, De schilderkunst der Lage Landen  or Hans Vlieghe, Flemish Art and Architecture.

Polyphonic Music in the Low Countries

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

Flanders has contributed a great deal to the development of European culture, all the more if one considers how small Flanders as a geographical region really is. As far as music is concerned, the contribution of Flanders to the development of European cultural life is even more evident: in spite of the short lived flourish of Flemish music (a mere two centuries: XVth and XVIth) Flanders took absolute pre-eminence in European musical life in a very short period of time. Wherever one wandered through Europe and its main courts, cities and cathedrals: everywhere Flanders and its music was predominant. Flemish musicians playing music written by Flemish composers, being taught by Flemish teachers on all levels and quite often uniting those three capacities in one and the same person. The Flemish music became very famous and richly illuminated manuscripts with Flemish music turned into a very sought after gift between princes and diplomats. The lecture on Flemish polyphony tries to explain this sudden rise and looks for sociological, cultural but also technical (on an introductory level) reasons for this remarkable period in Flanders' musical history. Above all it aims at introducing the sound qualities and characteristics of Flemish polyphony.

Want to know more? 

Check the calendars of the following concert halls / festivals and find out if there is an online concert that seduces you.

Dutch Literature and the Visual Arts since 1600

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

The Low Countries are well-known for their famous painters, such as Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Mondriaan, Karel Appel and Luc Tuymans. This rich tradition in the visual arts resonates strongly in literature as well, both in the 'Dutch Golden Age' and in the twentieth century. This lecture explores this connection, highlighting genres that crossed the borders of literature and art (like the emblematic poem), artists working in both disciplines, and literary movements inspired by (or critically reflecting on) painting and the visual arts.

The position of Flanders in the Belgian Economy

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

This lecture gives an overview of the main characteristics of the Flemish economy today and of the institutional setting (multilayer government: the role of Flanders, Belgian and the EU) in which it takes place. Strength and weaknesses are highlighted as well as threats and opportunities. Special attention is paid to the historical development of the Flemish economy today as well as to its international orientation.

Ending life and procreating in Flanders and in the Netherlands

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

Only three countries in the world have legalised euthanasia, i.e. the active ending by a physician of the life of a patient at the latter's request: the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. Four other states, Oregon, Washington and Montana in the USA and Switzerland, allow a terminally-ill patient to administer him- or herself lethal drugs, but stop short of euthanasia. The Low Countries thus form an island of seeming end-of-life radicalism in an ocean of nations that appear to handle life more carefully.

The lecturer explains what considerations have led these three countries to allow euthanasia and how it has become an indispensable element in a global approach to humane and dignified dying. The lecturer will also go into other bioethical "spear points" in the Low Countries. The opening of marriage and adoption to same-sex couples and some innovations and research types in reproductive medicine also single them out from large parts of the rest of the world (although less clearly and consistently than in the case of life-ending).

From the Belgian Colonial War to the murder of Patrice Lumumba, 1876-1961

Online beschikbaar
Beschrijving

Want to know more? 

Visit the AfricaMuseum in Tervuren (near Brussels).