How this website came about

The main purpose of this website was to archive P.A. van de Stadt’s 1934 Japanese-Dutch dictionary and make it accessible to a somewhat larger public. While a facsimile reprint (1989) seems to exist, the book is hard to find. Also, considering that Van de Stadt’s prewar work is mainly of historical value, a major reprint not to be expected. However, it would be nice to have it available as a work of reference, even for people with only an occasional interest in looking up something in an prewar dictionary. The internet seems therefore to be just the right place for such a historical work.

Since this work can only be of interest to a small group of people, it has not yet been fully digitized. However, to make the complete JPEG version of book here easier to browse, I’ve made an interface that allows one to search for a headword (in romaji) or quickly scan the contents using alphabetical tabs and indexes.

In the digital dictionary that is being constructed here there are currently 4,050 entries (latest addition November 4, 2022). Note that I’m adding a modern supplement to Van de Stadt’s entries (they appear under separate headings). In addition to this work I’ve got the the data of the modern Japanese-Dutch dictionary of the Waran Jiten Project (currently 57,994 entries). Digital search is here.

Historical context

Even though relations between Japan and the Netherlands date back centuries, after Commodore Matthew Perry forced Japan to open up to the rest of the world in 1854, it must have been obvious that Dutch was only a minor language, compared to English, French, German, Russian, or even Spanish. Nevertheless, it was mainly through the persistence of the then Japanese consulate general Matsumoto in Batavia (now Jakarta) that P.A. van de Stadt decided to compile his Japanese-Dutch dictionary in 1925. However, after the war the only substantial follow-up has been Kodansha’s Nederlands-Japans woordenboek (1994). To speculate a bit, I’d say that it’s a fact that both for the Dutch and for the Japanese English is perhaps a too convenient auxiliary language, and that consequently a major disincentive exists to publish more specialized Japanese-Dutch dictionaries (or grammars, for that matter). Publishers might feel there is no real market, and public institutions might feel there is no pressing need. Then it’s up to individuals to make a difference. It could have happened, considering that professor Hitoshi Kodama single-handedly produced not for Dutch, but for the second language in the Netherlands, Frisian, both a grammar (フリジア語文法—オランダのもう一つの言語, 1992) and a medium size dictionary (フルジア語辞典, 2004 - 22.500 entries on 1100 pages).

As for a modern Japanese-Dutch dictionary, for some years both the Japanese departments of the universities of Leiden and Leuven have been working on that. Leuven’s currently ongoing project uses a version of Wikipedia’s MediaWiki to continue. Apparently it is open to participation: WaranWiki.

Other archived historical dictionaries

If you think 1925-1934 is old, think older: Waseda University is hosting a photographic copy of the 1796 ハルマ和解 Haruma Wage (Japanese translation of Halma [referring to François Halma Woordenboek der Nederduitsche en Fransche Taalen (Dictionary of the Dutch and French languages), 1729]. Index and menu: 江戸ハルマ(蘭和辞書)全文画像. (2006)