Guide , Philip, adds yet another language to the portfolio on offer for international groups at Abbotsford.
Abbotsford, home of the internationally renowned nineteenth-century author Sir Walter Scott has successfully piloted a new Dutch guided tour for groups in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh. Earlier this month, a group of students learning Dutch at the University visited Abbotsford. The students were accompanied by native-speaking Dutch friends and their Tutor, Claire Van Wengen. They were treated to a tour by Abbotsford volunteer guide of four years, Philip Robertson, also a fellow classmate studying the language at the university. Philip, who also speaks French and Spanish fluently, was able to deliver a 45 minute introduction to the house and gardens in Dutch for the very first time after beginning to learn the language at evening classes in the autumn of 2015. The tutor of the group, Claire Van Wengen has also supported Abbotsford in the production of a Dutch transcript to help satisfy the growing demand for written material in the language.
The Abbotsford Trust believes that, with the excellent ferry links from Belgium and The Netherlands, the Dutch-speaking market has increasing potential for Scott’s Scottish Borders home, with numbers of Dutch visitors to the attraction continuing to rise.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said in a recent review of Scottish Tourism statistics:
“Many of our paid and unpaid attractions are reporting brisk business, which underlines Scotland’s place as a tourist destination that offers quality experiences and value for money.”
Philip’s dedication as a Volunteer Guide is but one of the ways that the team at Abbotsford work, tirelessly to deliver a quality, award winning visitor experience in honour of the Great Scott. Other languages available at Abbotsford which enhance its reputation as a top tourist destination are: French, German and Spanish with transcripts in German, Russian, French and Chinese for our Visitor Centre Exhibition.
Kirsty Archer-Thompson, Abbotsford’s Collections and Interpretation Manager comments:
“I am constantly in awe of the number of people from around the world that are familiar with Sir Walter Scott, both as a writer and Scotland’s greatest nineteenth-century personality. Our visitor books past and present list people from all corners of the globe, so our horizons are very broad here at Abbotsford. I am keen that visitors from all nations find something within the interiors or the collections of specific relevance to their culture or history. This house is such a melting pot of influences and curiosities that there really is something for everyone “
Philip, Abbotsford’s Dutch-speaking guide comments:
“On this occasion, working closely with Kirsty, I was able to highlight the interesting Dutch connections within the house to really show that Scott is an international figure as well as a national one. In the house there are numerous items which Scott collected that have a direct link with The Netherlands, with Dutch-speaking Flanders and with the former Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia.) These include furniture, paintings and associations with important characters from history, including John Graham of Claverhouse (‘Bonnie Dundee’ or ‘Bluidy Clavers’) and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg who became King of the Belgians.”
Kirsty Archer-Thompson, Abbotsford’s Collections and Interpretation Manager adds:
“What Philip has achieved over just a few months of study is astonishing. Describing events in history and architectural details in another language must be fiendishly difficult but he made it look so easy – even if I only understood the odd word! I am hugely proud of him and of our whole volunteer team. “
For more information on booking your group for a visit, please visit:- www.scottsabbotsford.com