Dutch student loses appeal to write thesis in Dutch


A student had to write her thesis based on applied scientific research done in a company or institution, in this case, a hospital. The hospital demanded that her thesis be written in Dutch. The exam commission who will judge her thesis at the Radboud Univesity in Nijmegen demanded that her thesis be written in English.

The student couldn’t fulfil the requirements of her studies and decided to appeal the decision to be able to write her thesis in Dutch, which sounds weird. Exceptions have been made in the past to the English only rule, but that was then and those days are over: it’s English or nothing, which still sounds weird.

Her mentor also supported her appeal. It’s all fine that English be encouraged for the Dutch to be internationally recognised, but sabotaging someone’s studies to uphold a principle seems ludicrous. The University then blamed companies and institutions for not allowing students to do their thesis in English, but that doesn’t help this student at all.

Can’t it just be translated? In any case, if anything shows how English has became more important than Dutch (not that that is a good thing), this is a scary example of how things can go too far.

(Link: ru.nl)


  1. Well what is the hospital’s stake in this? How can they demand anything? If the student is being examined by a university that sets some rules, then those rules apply. Did the hospital sponsor the work? Did they fail to negotiate the terms of the sponsorship carefully enough?

    On the world stage, English is important. Fortunately for the Dutch, they get this; most Dutch people are near-native fluent in English. (A typical response if you ask a Dutch person if they speak English is: “Of course.”)

    Of course, Dutch is important too, but for different reasons and in different ways. I don’t see how the university insisting on English is “sabotaging” someone’s studies. The people who have got it wrong seem to be the hospital. The student should just ignore their wishes and carry on with submitting their thesis in English.

  2. Orangemaster says:

    Good point, but obviously if she doesn’t fulfill the wishes of the hospital, she will fail as well.

    It is sabotage. And the Dutch are not near native except when they speak, as their English is what I spend my days correcting.

    The end of the story was that her appeal was refused.

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