UC Berkeley’s Dutch Studies Program was introduced as a permanent curriculum in the Department of German in autumn 1966. Because the Berkeley campus already had strong offerings in Dutch history, art history, and colonial studies, the introduction of Dutch language and literature was the final step in completing a rounded interdisciplinary curriculum in Dutch Studies. With the introduction of the Queen Beatrix Chair of Dutch Language, Literature & Culture in 1971, a degree Program in Dutch studies was launched, eventually leading to a Dutch Major. Since 1980, the Queen Beatrix Chair is supported by the Nederlandse Taalunie (the Dutch Language Union), a Dutch-Belgian institution that governs issues regarding the Dutch language. The first incumbent of the chair was Professor Johan Snapper, he was succeeded by Ernst van Alphen in 2004. Presently, Jeroen Dewulf holds the position.
Since 1982, the government of the Flemish Community in Belgium supports UC Berkeley’s Dutch Studies Program with a rotating visiting professor fellowship, the Peter Paul Rubens Chair for the History and Culture of the Low Countries. It was the first Flemish chair endowed in the United States. This enrichment of the Dutch Studies Program allowed a significant expansion of its course offerings by the annual appointment of outstanding faculty from Flemish universities as visiting professor for a semester. Participating universities are Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Hasselt and Leuven.