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The soul of the reconstruction

Stadsarchief Rotterdam | Stichting Verhalenhuis Belvédère
Time period: since the Second World War
Number of interviews: 86
Accessibility: on request
Transcripts: partial
Period of interviews: 2016

The interviews were conducted on the occasion of Rotterdam Celebrates the City in 2016, a cultural event around the commemoration of the reconstruction, and the term “reconstruction” should be understood broadly in this collection. For example, in addition to architects and municipal workers from the postwar period, Rotterdammers with an immigrant background and younger Rotterdammers were interviewed about their views on life in the Maas City.


Initially, the goal of project Soul of the Reconstruction was not focused historical research, but the compilation of an audiobook of the same name for a wide audience. This book consists of four CDs with excerpts from the interviews, along with brief descriptions of the people interviewed. These descriptions have been reproduced in DANS.


The interviews have been deposited with DANS. The Stadsarchief Rotterdam preserves the collection. The process of making the collection available online was carried out by the Erasmus Studio of Erasmus University Rotterdam. They took care of the metadata of the collection, tested automatic speech recognition and created a standard workflow for this process, so that in the future institutions will know which steps to take when they want to make interviews available for research in the Media Suite.


The interviews are almost entirely in Dutch and consist of an audio recording with a transcript attached. These transcripts vary greatly in quality: many of the transcripts are incomplete and some only have time-stamped subjects. Of the total 86 interviews, not all will be uploaded at one time due to privacy statements that are not yet complete. This is the reason why for now not all interviews from number 1 to 86 are online.