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Banners murmur, fists salute

Betoging te Sint-Niklaas in 1959
Number of interviews: 13
Accessibility: Éénmalige registratie en login
Period of interviews: 1997-1998
Medium: wav, cassette-band

In the year that Sint-Niklaas celebrates its 800th anniversary, the socialist movement in the Wase capital reveals its history, with the expo ‘Het Grote Rode Verhaal’ at the Volkshuis and gets a permanent place in the Art Deco building. There is not only an expo.

The socialist movement also mapped out a walk along the most prominent places in Sint-Niklaas where the socialist story was written. Among others, it runs through the Tabaksstraat, where many workers used to work in the cigar factories, past the former Bond Moyson in Mercatorstraat, the former cooperative shop in Truweelstraat to the Volkshuis.


The project is an initiative of ABW-Waasland. It was realised in cooperation with the AMSAB and financially supported by ABW, SP and Bond Moyson of Waasland.

A first publication resulted from it in 1996, edited by Geert Van Goethem (AMSAB-Antwerp), with the title Vaandels ruisen, vuisten groeten. The work dealt mainly with the founding period of the socialist movement in Sint-Niklaas, from around 1895 until the outbreak of
the Second World War. The period after the war was covered only briefly.


A second phase was therefore launched in July 1997. The publication Banners murmur, Fists salute.
Volume II covers the period 1945-1975. A brief chapter was also devoted to the occupation
and liberation (which, who knows, might later turn into a third publication). The format of this second volume has become somewhat broader. This time, not only the town of Sint-Niklaas but the whole district is scrutinised, entirely in line with the evolution that the socialist movement in the Waasland region underwent during this period. The trade union as well as the party and the sick association are covered. A chapter is also devoted to the women’s movement.

Destined for Ghent

Integratiedienst Gent and Amsab-ISG
Number of interviews: 45
Accessibility: One-time registration and login
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 2011


Medium: wav-files

Migration is of all times. Time and again, people have said goodbye to their native land for various reasons, facing a sometimes very uncertain future. It takes courage to leave everything familiar behind and build a new existence on unfamiliar ground. The ‘Destined for Ghent’ project aims to record stories, rituals and traditions of people with a migration background and make them accessible to a wide audience. In all these stories, the focus is on life in the city of Ghent, on the strength and courage needed for a new beginning in a foreign environment.


‘Destined for Ghent’ aims to give migrants’ heritage a place within the growing focus on heritage in general and hopes to encourage migrants of different origins to record (or have recorded) memories of their personal migration stories.

The stories will be collected by ‘trackers’, volunteers who themselves have a migration history. The trackers are offered hands-on training that introduces them to the world of oral history. Armed with this knowledge, they go in search of witnesses to interview.

More than 50 trackers have now successfully completed the training. The first 27 interviews have been delivered. Trackers and witnesses together represent 32 of Ghent’s 159 nationalities.


‘Destined for Ghent ‘ showed the results of the project to the public in various ways. The five duo-photos of trackers and witnesses on Heritage Day kicked off the project. A book, a multimedia application in STAM, an exhibition and numerous other forms of presentation will follow at a later stage.


‘Destined for Ghent’ is a project of AGORA, a Ghent partnership between the city council, various welfare organisations and national associations of migrants. The Integration Service is doing the coordination. Ghent University, STAM (City Museum), Amsab-ISG (Institute of Social History) and FARO (Flemish Cultural Heritage Support Centre) guarantee the scientific input in the project.


© Stad Gent – Integratiedienst/project ‘Bestemd voor Gent’

Red or no bread

© AMSAB-ISG - Binnenzicht van de bakkerij van de coöperatie SM Vooruit. Gent.
Time period: 1900-1995
Number of interviews: 68
Accessibility: openbaar
Transcripts: ja
Period of interviews: 1998-1999

Toegankelijkheid: eenmalige registratie en login

Het archief is enkel toegankelijk mits toelating van de archiefvormer of diens afgevaardigde na een beargumenteerde schriftelijke vraag.

Medium: cassetteband - gedigitaliseerd mov

Bread was the chief component of the workers’ meal, so a good choice to sell in a cooperative. Everyone who was a member of the cooperative could share in the profits, and every worker naturally bought his bread from the cooperative. In the beginning, the activity remained modest, but once the bread was delivered to homes and the distributed profits increased, the cooperative began to grow.


The bakery, which combined advantageous prices with good quality, became a great success. The registration fee was 25 centimes and buyers undertook to buy all their bread from the cooperative. A 6% discount in the form of purchase vouchers and reinvestment of part of the profits quickly made Vooruit grow into a complex organisation with all kinds of activities. People’s pharmacies and shops selling groceries, coal, garments and shoes appeared. By 1901, the company had grown from one bakery with 150 members to several bakeries, twenty outhouses and more than seven thousand members! On the Garenmarkt (now the Anseeleplein), an old factory was bought in which a bakery, as well as a shop, a coffee house and a meeting room were opened. The first Vlaamse Volkshuis was born.


These interviews were conducted as part of the Interview Project entitled “Red or no bread. A practicum in the subject methodology of the Newest Times partim Oral History in the second candidature of History (second Bachelor of History), academic years 1998-1999 (teacher: Professor Dr Bruno De Wever).

Line 13 – Protteknie

eerste helft 20ste eeuw, zicht op Petroleum Zuid - stadsarchief Antwerpen
Number of interviews: Unkown
Accessibility: Reading room, one-time registration and login
Medium: wav

In 2001, the Neighbourhood Development Corporation, the Heritage Cell and Amsab joined forces in search of a new vision for the destination of Petroleum South. The Flemish government and Urban II breathe financial life into the project. Two artful screenings highlight the stories of local residents: “Woeste Gronden” (after T.S. Elliot) in 2002 and “Line 13 – Protteknie Petrol Zuid” the following year. In 2007, the city decided to prepare for the effective rehabilitation of the area and its redevelopment into a high-quality business park.


Per the concession, the remaining companies can continue their operations until 2035. Some 200 people still work at Petroleum South today. What was once a glorious, leading petroleum port is now on the eve of a spectacular transformation. Already, the brand new Herenpolder bridge connects Petrol to Emiel Vloorsstraat. The old Kruger Bridge may yet be converted into a cycling and walking bridge. But so much more is in the pipeline.
Soon our phoenix will reawaken here in a completely new outfit!


© photo: privat collection Jef De Paepe. Design: Nicole Schellekens



Lijn 13 – Protteknie : 100 jaar Petrol Zuid
Published on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name
Authors: Vera De Boeck, Annick Schreuder, Martine Vermandere, Ilse Cockx, Hugo Manson, Marc Jacobs, Petrol Zuid (Antwerpen), Archief en Museum van de Socialistische Arbeidersbeweging (Gent), Antwerpen, Stad Erfgoedcel, Buurtontwikkelingsmaatschappij (Antwerpen)
Publisher: City of Antwerp, 2003
Length: 45 pages

The women of Breskens

Arrival bus, Tolhuislaan, ca. 1979-1982

Time period: 1970-1981
Number of interviews: 10
Accessibility: Reading room, one-time registration and login
Transcripts: Not available
Medium: mp4 - files

Between 1970 and 1981, dozens of Turkish women from Ghent worked in a fish filleting factory in Breskens, the Netherlands. Today, 40 years later, we are looking for the stories of these women. Did you or a family member work at Diepvries Breskens and will you or they testify about this? 
The women from Ghent lived mainly in the districts Rabot, Muide and Sluizeken-Tolhuis-Ham. With a company bus, they were picked up at Tolhuislaan in the early morning and drove along the Ghent Canal Zone to their final destination: Diepvries Breskens.

Amsab-ISG owns a series of photos by Lieve Colruyt showing diligently working women, sometimes diligently filleting fish, other times looking straight into the lens. Why did these women go to work in Breskens? Was there no work in Ghent? How did they experience the work there?


Neslihan Dogan

Masterproef voorgelegd voor het behalen van de graad master in de richting Conflict en Development

“Door onze hulp werden ze arbeiders. Ik heb vier jaar voor hen gezorgd.”

Turkse migrantenvrouwen van de eerste generatie over moederschap, arbeid en netwerken in gent, 1960 – 1979


Neslihan Dogan interviews, 2019 – 2020


Under pseudonyms:

  1. Interview with Ayse, 23/01/2019
  2. Interview with Dicle, 18/09/2019
  3. Interview with Elif, 19/09/2019
  4. Interview with Gönül, 22/11/2019
  5. Interview with Cemile, 18/12/2019
  6. Interview with Sevilay, 27/01/2020
  7. Interview with Canan, 06/02/2020
  8. Interview with Türkan, 19/06/2020
  9. Interview with Tülay, 27/06/20
  10. Interview with Ulviye, 28/06/2020

Artikel Neslihan Dogan in Brood & Rozen | Folio, journal for the history of social movements:

Op zoek naar de vrouw naast de Turkse gastarbeider

Vrouwen in de visfileerfabriek in Breskens. Foto: © Lieve Colruyt (Amsab-ISG)

Workers’ and students’ movement before and after 1968

Arbed - De draadtrekkerij in de jaren 80 van de 20e eeuw
Time period: 1950 - 1970
Number of interviews: 31
Accessibility: Available through one time registration and login 
Transcripts: Yes
Medium: Original sound carrier on cassette tapes and digitised on mov-files

Interviews about experiences as a worker at Arbed, Acec and Vynckier The interviews were conducted for a study of the workers’ and students’ movement before and after 1968.



Interviewed group of workers 1950

Arbed: 6

Acec: 10

Vynckier: 3


Interviewed group of workers 1970

Arbed: 7

Acec: 4

Vynckier: 1



Lunch time



Number of interviews: 17

Interviews and transcripts can be accessed through:

oral source

Although there is nothing more everyday than the lunch break, we still know little about it. Amsab-ISG is taking up the challenge of a project on lunch time in order to shed light on how working people used to spend their lunch break, both in the past and today.


Food … is not only a collection of products that can be used for statistical or nutritional studies. It is also, and at the same time, a system of communication, a body of images, a protocol of usages, situations and behavior. (Roland Barthes, 1975).


The project consists of making an inventory, recording and preserving the testimonies about meal times collected in the past and collecting and recording stories that fill the gaps in this heritage. Engaging podcasts open up the testimonies to the public. On a meta-level, this project focuses on both the potential and the problems of oral testimony in the collections of various heritage institutions. FARO is a partner in setting up a collegial group on this subject.



  • FARO
  • Industriemuseum Gent
  • Centrum Agrarische Geschiedenis Leuven
  • Erfgoedcel Brussel van de Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie
  • Kusterfgoed
  • Riolenmuseum Brussel
  • Werkplaats Immaterieel Erfgoed
  • Archiefpunt
  • Red Star Line





Vooruit: 100/30

Time period: 1900-2011


Number of interviews: 5

Sound file: wav

Transcripts: yes

10-minute summaries: yes

Accessibility: one-time registration and login

The centenary (2013) of the Feestlokaal Vooruit and the thirtieth anniversary of the Arts Centre that is housed there will be an opportunity to make the rich material and immaterial heritage of the building, the socialist cooperative Vooruit and its cultural activities and the Arts Centre accessible to a broad public.

The promoters and external partners want to develop a rich ‘content’ by tracing, valorising and presenting tangible and intangible heritage in an accessible way. To this end, the documentary heritage preserved by AMSAB Institute of Social History and the Arts Centre is being explored. In addition, three oral history projects will be carried out on the history of the last half century of Vooruit.

They will be made available in the form of a website, mobile ICT applications in the Feestlokaal Vooruit, an exhibition in the STAM and a public book. The experience and know-how of external partners will be used for this.
The 100th/30th anniversary of Vooruit will undoubtedly appeal to a broad public and will also receive a lot of media attention. This project wants to anticipate this with a high-quality heritage project in which UGent historians, art historians, architects and multimedia engineers will contribute. It fits in the good neighbourhood in which Vooruit and UGent live ‘back to back’ and it will contribute to the image of UGent.




Author: Liesbet Nys
ISBN: 9789491376481

Behind the iconic façade of De Vooruit lies a rich history. A story of 100 years of trial and error.

de vooruit/geschiedenis


Werking van de coöperatie Vooruit from Geertjan Tillmans on Vimeo.


Rode cultuurbeleving in het feestlokaal van Vooruit tijdens het interbellum (1919
-1939) – Johannes Teerlinck


Rode cultuurbeleving in het feestlokaal van vooruit

Universiteit Gent, Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte, Afdeling Geschiedenis (Nieuwste Geschiedenis), Academiejaar 2009


About the flowers and the bees

Time period: 1900-1996

Number of interviews: 3

Sound source: audiocassettes

Digitized: mov

Transcriptions: yes

10-minute summaries: yes

Accessibility: one-time registration and login

Interviews conducted within the framework of the project ‘Over de bloemetjes en de bijtjes’, sex education in and around the socialist milieu.

Author: Nele Bracke
Number of Pages 498
Year of publication: 1999



Article by Wis Geysen published in Desire has touched us.

About flowers and bees: sex education in and around the socialist milieu

pg. 281-309

Holiday colonies on the Belgian coast (1886-1980)

Time period: 1886-1980

Number of interviews: 80

Sound files: wav

Transcriptions: yes, Dutch

10-minute summaries: yes

Accessibility: mandatory registration and on request


Archival history: The interviews were conducted by students of New History (UGent), for the course Qualitative Methods – part-time oral history taught by Bruno De Wever for the project Vakantiekolonies aan de Belgische kust (1886-1980) of Amsab-ISG.


Although holiday colonies were a widespread phenomenon until the 1980s, there has been little research into them. The first holiday colonies arose from the School struggle. Besides this political goal, their main task was to improve the health of working-class children. After the First World War, all Belgian pillar organisations started to set up holiday colonies.


The holiday colonies differed not only in political background. Unlike the Catholic ones, for example, the socialist holiday colonies mixed girls and boys. At the end of the 1960s, the holiday colonies experienced their heyday. The emphasis was now not so much on health as on meaningful leisure activities. Together with the professionalisation of the colony staff, the clientele of the holiday homes shifted from weakened working-class children to middle-class children.


Research into this phenomenon is therefore very complex. Colonies were set up by the government, health insurance companies, employers, organisations and private individuals, and are therefore diverse in many aspects. Not every organiser has left behind sources. Classic sources are often lacking and if they are present, they do not immediately give us a picture of the stay in the colony.


The registration of oral testimonies is appropriate here, on the one hand to supplement the lack of sources and on the other hand to find out how colony residents experienced these holidays. Specifically for this research, there is another reason to use oral history as a method. In contrast to other source material about the colonies, iconographic material has been abundantly preserved. Mostly in the form of postcards. These show us how the colonists wanted to present their colony to the outside world. The films we have at our disposal are also propaganda for the colonies and their organisers. These images must therefore be supplemented with other sources and testimonies. Because of the diversity of the holiday colonies and the different aspects of the holiday, there are three main lines in our research: – Who went to the holiday colony? – How was the holiday colony experienced? – How did outsiders view the holiday colonies?





“We Zijn Goed Aangekomen! Vakantiekolonies Aan de Belgische Kust [1887-1980].” Bijdragen van Het Museum van de Vlaamse Sociale Strijd van de Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen, vol. 25, ASP Editions ; Amsab-ISG, 2010. Auteur:


Author: Martine Vermandere
Publisher: Aspeditions
ISBN: 9789054876946

In this book, author Martine Vermandere outlines the rich history of the phenomenon of holiday colonies, from the reception of working-class children by charities at the end of the 19th century to the professionalisation of the colonies by health insurance funds after the Second World War. By means of unique photo material and testimonies of beautiful and less beautiful memories, this book takes you through the history of the holiday colonies in all its aspects.