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Twente textile strike

Collection former Stichting Film en Wetenschap
Time period: 1931-1932
Number of interviews: 7
Accessibility: For research purposes
Transcripts: Summaries of 2 interviews, rest none
Period of interviews: 1968 - 1969

The collection has not yet been digitized and therefore cannot be viewed directly at Sound & Vision. Digitization can, however, be requested from Sound & Vision via:

Medium: 7 tapes

The Twente System

The manufacturers, united in the Enschedesche Fabrikanten Vereeniging since 1888, generally reacted as a collective. A strike at one of the member companies was followed by the shutdown of several factories, with the exclusion of all the workers who worked there. This applied to 5,000 men in 1890, 2,000 workers in 1902, and 7,500 in 1909. The strike at Van Heek & Co in 1902 met with much sympathy in and outside Twente. Henriëtte Roland Holst gave flaming speeches throughout the country and collected money with her husband to supplement the strike payouts. In the end, however, the manufacturers won. In 1909, Pieter Jelles Troelstra, the leader of the SDAP, spoke before an audience of 7,000 textile workers. In that case, commitments were made by Menko’s management.


Working in textiles after World War I was not a fat lot. Much had improved since the previous century, but the workers were now well organized and no longer accepted the large profits in the family businesses. They wanted better things for themselves. At a protest march, a worker with a cargo bike full of broomsticks made this clear: “Big steal and small steal, big steal the most.” In 1923, a major strike broke out at Van Heek & Co. The application of “the Twentse Stelsel” put many other textile workers out of work as well.


Seven people were interviewed in the context of the 1931-1932 Twente Textile Strike and the textile industry of the 1930s:

J. van Baaren
J. Fahner
H. van Genugten
J.A. Middelhuis
R. Slok
F. Stuvé
J. Vunderink


For more information about the interviews and the interviewees, see: SFW work issue no. 8 (1995), pp. 2, 20, 21, 33, 39, 42, 50.


The Twente textile strike is included in the Canon of the Netherlands.

See also the collection Arbeidersbeweging Twente (1930-1960)