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Diplomatic Witnesses

Amerikaanse Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken , dr. Henry Kissinger brengt bezoek aan Nederland; aankomst Schiphol, Kissinger en Van der Stoel / 11 augustus 1976 - Fotocollectie Anefo - Nationaal Archief
Huygens instituut
Number of interviews: 40
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 2021-2023

90 interviews with 40 interviewees

Diplomatic Witnesses is an oral history project, which aims to assemble a collection of interviews with retired Dutch diplomats. These oral histories will be made available in a purpose-built online environment in both text-based an audiovisual format. We aim to create a new primary source collection that will provide researchers with unique insights into the formation and execution of Dutch foreign policy, as told by eye-witnesses and participants.


Our primary focus will be on collecting oral histories connected to key historical events in the last thirty years, a period that saw the Netherlands engage in repeated moments of soul-searching

The sharp ideological contrasts that defined the international landscape of the Cold War, and anchored Dutch foreign policy within it, faded after the fall of the Berlin Wall. European integration accelerated with the conclusion of the Maastricht Treaty (1992) and the formation of the Euro, but did not always evolve in a direction the Netherlands might have wished – as evinced by the referendum that rejected the European constitution in 2005. Atlantic cooperation remained the pivot of Dutch security policy, but the nature of the Dutch-American came under close political scrutiny in the leadup to the invasion of Iraq. New international issues, from terrorism and ‘failed states’ to climate change and migration, came to define the political agenda.


These developments also profoundly affected the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The internationalisation of an ever-greater range of policy questions broadened and complicated its remit of responsibilities. At the same time, the ministry’s position within the Dutch government was called into question, leading to consistent calls the Dutch diplomatic service to be ‘modernised’ and brought into line with contemporary ideas on public governance.


By collecting the oral histories of those directly involved in these events, this project will generate new openings for the study of Dutch foreign policy, and of the Dutch diplomatic service as an institution. To enhance the accessibility of these interviews, the department for Digital Data Management and Digital Infrastructure (DI) will support the project by developing automatic processes for the recognition of named entities, such as people and places. DI will also develop the online environment in which users will be able to study and listen to the oral histories.


The end result is website where you can watch the video recordings of the interviews together with automatically generated (but manually controlled) transcripts and subtitles. Moreover, it is possible, via search functions, to search through the total corpus of interviews for interview fragments dealing with a single topic or country. In short, an innovative oral history project that uses the latest digital techniques and will thus be very useful for future researchers and for educational and training purposes.

Roman Catholicism

Verkiezingsbord voor KVP in 1963
Historisch Geluidsarchief RUU / Albert Brouwers
Time period: 1948-1972
Number of interviews: 2
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: nee
Period of interviews: 1985


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


However, the following item cán be found in DAAN, the digital archive of Beeld & Geluid:

  • Marga Klompé, Portrait of Marga Klompé, ex-Minister of CRM. Interviews with her and various archive images related to her political career. Broadcasted 06-05-1984 at the KRO
Medium: 1 sound tape

The interviews with Marga Klompé (1912-1986) and Joseph Luns (born 1911) were conducted for a doctoral thesis on Roman Catholicism and KVP politics in the Netherlands. Klompé became a member of parliament for the KVP in the late 1940s and also held several international positions. In the 1950s and 1960s, she was minister – the first woman in the Netherlands – of Social Work and CRM respectively in several cabinets. Later, she developed many activities the church peace movements. The KVP-er Luns held the foreign ministry continuously from 1956 to 1971. In 1972, he became secretary-general of NATO. Shortly afterwards, he resigned from the KVP.

Haagse Post interviews

Historisch Geluidsarchief RUU, Haagse Post
Time period: 1950-1980
Number of interviews: 5
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: summaries
Period of interviews: 1962-1963


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: 2 audiotapes

Interviews with mr J.M.L.Th. Cals, mr G. van Hall, mr J.M.A.H. Luns, drs J.W. de Pous, prof A. Vondeling for the Haagse Post.

Subject: Dutch politics, Amsterdam, Bijlmermeer, EEC
Interviewers: J. van Tijn, P. Remarque, G.B.J. Hiltermann

Transcription: summary in the form of articles in the Haagse Post

Interview project late 1980s early 1990s

Stichting Moluks Museum
Time period: 1951-1976
Number of interviews: 69
Accessibility: restricted public
Period of interviews: 1988-1991

Enter the following keywords:

Zoek in: Museumcollectie – Audiovisueel archief

Trefwoord: interviews

Jaar vanaf: 1988

tot: 1991


The interviews can be listened to by appointment at Museum
Maluku, enquiries can be sent to:


The aim of the interview project was to capture life stories of the first generation. They were asked about their experiences in the first 20 years in the Netherlands.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1930 – 1991 with an emphasis on 1951 – 1976. They mainly discuss the Netherlands, Indonesia, the Moluccas.
Themes include government policy, integration, resistance, domestic governance, RMS government.


Sometimes there are several inventory numbers per person.

Catholics and the Indonesian Revolution

Stichting Film en Wetenschap
Time period: 1940-1976
Number of interviews: 3
Accessibility: on demand
Transcripts: no
Period of interviews: 1976

The collection has limited public access. The collection cannot be found as such in the archive.
The collection is registered in an old inaccessible system and full migration has not yet taken place. Requests for use for research purposes can be sent to
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision:

Medium: 2 audio tapes

The interviews were conducted for the dissertation by J. Bank, Catholics and the Indonesian Revolution, Baarn: Ambo, 1983.
They deal with the Indonesia policy of the Dutch government and in particular the attitude of the KVP in this regard. With the then PvdA party leader Van der Goes van Naters, they discuss the relationship between the PvdA and KVP factions on the Indonesian issue. De Graaf, Indonesia specialist of the KVP group in the late 1940s, is asked about the development of the Indonesia position within the group. With Van Aarden, secretary of the Centrum voor Staatkundige Vorming in the period in question, Bank talks, among other things, about the relationship of this scientific institute of the KVP to party leadership and group, and about the group’s Indonesia policy and its influence on the party.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1940 – 1976.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include Indonesia policy, PvdA faction, KVP faction.

Author: Jan Bank
Publisher: Ambo
ISBN: 9789026305979
Year: 1983

Bank discusses the attitudes of Catholics in the Netherlands and the East Indies at the church and political levels towards the emasculation of the East Indies in the period 1945-1949. But he cites so much and describes various aspects in such detail that the book is also a study of the entire field of the decolonisation of the East Indies. Stories about the struggle for independence, the role of the British until autumn 1946, the spread of nationalism, rise and fall of federalism, the policies of the Dutch government and that of Batavia, decision-making in Djokjakarta, the international scene, military operations, the Catholic parties both in the Netherlands and in the East Indies, mission and mission etc.


Historisch geluidsarchief RUU
Time period: 1957-1958
Number of interviews: 3
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1969

Medium: Geluidsbanden

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1957 – 1958.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include nationalisation of Dutch companies.



Dr W. Drees

Mr. H. van Riel

Prof. J. in ‘t Veld


The collection is part of the interview collection of Stichting Film en Wetenschap (SFW).
It is managed by the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision.

Access: The collection is of limited public use. The collection cannot be found as such in the archive.
The collection is registered in an old inaccessible system and full migration has not yet taken place. Requests for use for research purposes can be sent to the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision:

Taporal (Tapols-Oral History)

Ibu Sujinah, Ibu Suharti en Pak Kusalah Soebagyo Toer
Time period: 1945-2000
Number of interviews: 192
Accessibility: Public (in the course of 2023)
Transcripts: 96 transcripts
Period of interviews: 1992-2000
Medium: Cassette tapes are transferred to digital audio files (WAV)

In the course of 2023, the collection can only be accessed in the reading room or listened to online via a protected environment (password required).
The files are not available for download.

Language: Indonesian

After the 30 September 1965 coup, many Indonesians were killed and thousands were imprisoned on suspicion of communist and leftist sympathies. After returning to Indonesian society, they faced stigmatisation.
The Taporal project started in the 1990s. After years of repression and silence, former political prisoners began writing down their memories of the period after the 30 September 1965 coup, their imprisonment and the years after their release. Others were unable or unwilling to write down their stories. They were asked to record their experiences in an interview. The aim of the project was to record as many life stories of ex-political prisoners as possible to ensure that this part of history would not be (consciously) forgotten. The project received partial funding from the IISH in 1993.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1945 – 2000. They mainly discuss Indonesia. Themes include internment camps, concentration camps, political prisoners, forced labour camps, 30 September 1965 coup, stigmatisation, Suharto regime.


Indonesian soldier before executing so-called communist suspects. [Source:]


Komitee Indonesië / Frans Stultiëns
Time period: 1960 - 1981
Number of interviews: 7
Accessibility: openbaar
Transcripts: nee
Period of interviews: 1978-1982

The interviews were most likely conducted in Indonesia during Frans Stultiëns’ correspondentship for KRO. They are complete unedited interviews. The interviews were recorded after the release of political prisoners from 1978, on the occasion of then Prime Minister Van Agt’s visit to Indonesia in April 1980 and in the run-up to the Indonesian parliamentary elections in May 1982.

The recordings are housed at the IISH through Komitee Indonesia.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1960 – 1981. They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Moluccas, Buru. Themes include. political prisoners, statement by Dutch government at press conference Jakarta 1980, Suharto, power elites, corruption, comparison situation Iran and Indonesia, special forces, riots in Makassar, racialism, religion, military service, business interests, political prison camp Buru, isolation, contact outside world, suicide, rape, women’s section, youth movement, women’s movement, peasant movement, young prisoners, pregnancy, future of Indonesia, neo-colonial regime, Poncke Princen, human rights, political situation, consequences of political imprisonment, labor camp, escape attempts, poor sanitary conditions.

Oral History on the Trade Union Movement in Indonesia Collection

Celia Mather
Time period: 1949-1965
Number of interviews: 6
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: available
Period of interviews: 1982 - 1984

This collection revolves around the interviewing of Suparna S. Diredja by Celia Mather; these interviews took place in 1982-1983 in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands; the collection contains also documentation materials on the economic and political situation in Indonesia. See also ‘Yes, We Did It! How the World’s Domestic Workers Won Their International Rights and Recognition’, a publication by Celia Mather.


Descriptions of the digital files are based on the captions of the physical medium. In case of a cassette each side (side A and side B) is described as a separate unit. The collection originally consisted of 12 cassettes with the call numbers GC5/638-649.


Interview by Celia Mather with Suprana Sastra Diredja, Usin Sutiwo, Bapak, Ibu Didi (mr. and mrs. Didi), Aslam and Muntaib.


Suparna Sastra Diredja. FOTO/Istimewa

Publication date: October 2013
ISBN number: 978-92-95095-71-7

Celia Mather has been a writer on workers’ rights in the global economy since the early 1980s. She was the report-writer for the European (2005) and global (2006) conferences for domestic workers’ organizations, and then supported the International Domestic Workers’ Network by writing leaflets, newsletters, policy
documents, presentations and speeches, including during the process of winning their ILO Convention C189 in 2011.

Living CPN history

Number of interviews: 35
Accessibility: Only available with permission from IISG/DNPP

31 cassettes (1994)



40 cassettes (1995)



Interviews with former CPN members by students at the University of Groningen


31 cassettes – 15 interviews:

R. van Bueren-Schalker, Jaap ten Dam, Joop van Esch, J. Knukkel, H.F. Koning, Dick van der Meer, J. van de Meulenhof, B. Kastelijn, K.F. Neyssel, A. van Reemst, L. Schalker, L.J. Schmidt, D. Smook, A. Verreijt, J. van. Vineyards


40 cassettes – 20 interviews:

René Dammen, C.J. Drost, Trees Enink, Ebel Glastra, Hans Heres, Daan Lataster, Klaas-Gert Lugtenborg, Fred Luider, Laurens Meerten, R. Meinds, Joop Morriën, Aiko Platje, M. Reining, J.G. Schoemaker, A. Schwertman, Koert Stek, Visser, Jaap Wolff, Thewis Wits, C. IJmkers