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Newcomers learn Dutch through art at Ghent museum

15:02 11/09/2019

The Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent (MSK) has launched a sheet of questions and special tours for people who are learning Dutch. This not only becomes an interactive way to learn the language but allows Dutch learners the opportunity to become familiar with a cultural institution.

The project, called In Dialoog, is based on Visual Thinking Strategies, a method that helps educators to open up and lead complex discussions based on visual cues. In the case of MSK, groups of language learners receive a set of questions to get them started talking about a certain work of art. They then discuss the work with each other, delving into such subjects as love, music, food or seasons.

The language students practise Dutch and perhaps discover new words while also learning about each other. “‘In Dialoog offers the people of Ghent a new place where they can practice Dutch,” said culture city councillor Sami Souguir, “and helps the museum with its mission to be a meeting place for everyone in the community”.

Groups can use the In Dialoog on their own, or Dutch-language teachers can book a tour. The tours are guided along themes of folk traditions and religious customs. “Many foreign-language newcomers have a background in which religion or spiritual belief has played a role,” said the museum in a statement. “Although Belgium is quite secular, the country has centuries-old religious traditions. The tour provides an accessible way for newcomers to find similarities and differences in religious experiences.”

The tours are aimed at students with at least a basic level of spoken Dutch.

Photo courtesy MSK

Written by Flanders Today