Announcement: Symposium Translators’ lexicon for the Dutch-speaking region (VNLex)

On 4 November 2021 the Dutch Translators’ Lexicon was presented to a wider audience with a festive symposium in Groningen. The Translators’ Lexicon, which already enjoys some fame among scholars and students, aims to make Dutch cultural mediators visible and thus provide insight into the role of translators and translations in the literary and cultural life of the Dutch-speaking region and its history. At the time of the symposium, some twenty translator portraits and six lemmas on translation awards were published on

November 4, the day of presentation, also marked the end of the university career of the initiator of the Translators’ Lexicon for the Dutch-speaking region, Petra Broomans. Since 1984 she has been affiliated with the University of Groningen (RUG) in various positions, in addition to being a visiting professor at Ghent University. She developed a line of research in the field of cultural mediation and with her enthusiasm and expertise she succeeded in setting up the Dutch Translators’ Lexicon and providing it with a solid and attractive foundation. In 2020, Uppsala University awarded her an honorary doctorate. Symposium and farewell took place on:

Date: Thursday, 4 November 2021
Time: 1:00 – approx. 6:30 pm.

Pictures of the day can be found here.

The programme consisted of several short presentations by portrait authors and short lectures on the importance of the lexicon. The second part (working language English) started with an online international panel discussion between representatives of other translator lexicons (Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, Turkey, and Sweden) about content matter and technical aspects of translator lexicons. Finally, two speakers from Sweden reflected on the importance of translator lexicons for the study of cultural mediation; they also talked about international cooperation, especially that with the retiring initiator of the lexicon.

The event was concluded with a reception. The reception was also held in the light of ‘endings and new beginnings’ by Petra Broomans, who – in her own words – says goodbye to ‘wonderful students, fine colleagues, and the bureaucracy and filling-in exercises that a paid university job entails’. But she commends herself to broader research opportunities that will enhance and solidify her work on VNLex.

1:00-1:15 p.m.: Opening by Ane van der Leij (University Library)

1:15-1:30: About VNLex by Elise Bijl (editor VNLex):

  • Origin VNLex
  • Who work behind the scenes?
  • Quality control: editing, advisory board
  • Technology

1:30-2:45: Four flash presentations by portrait authors:

  • Freija Kruit (Rita Verschuur)
  • Mathijs Sanders (J.A. Sandfort)
  • Jeanette den Toonder (Elly Jaffé prijs)
  • Ton van Kalmthout (Martin J. Premsela/Judith Herzberg)
  • Questions, reactions, discussion

2:45-3:05: Coffee/tea break

3:05-4:00: Reactions to VNLex:

  • From the perspective of the translator: Eva Wissenburg
  • Dutch journal on translation Filter: Ton Naaijkens
  • Advisory Board: Lotte Jensen
  • Questions, reactions, discussion

4:00-4:15: Short break


4:15-5:00: Online panel discussion between representatives of other translator lexicons: Denmark, Germany, Netherlands (moderator), Poland, Turkey, and Sweden


5:00-5:10: Reflection on/theory about the importance of translator lexicons for the study of cultural transfer and translation: Petra Broomans

5:10-5:30: Reactions reflection/theory: Yvonne Leffler (Gothenburg)

5:30-5:50: Reactions reflection/theory: Margaretha Fahlgren (Uppsala)

5:50-6:15: Discussion

6:15: Conclusion and words of thanks

6:30: Reception