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.

Collection of Historical Working Materials

Bron: Beeldbank SALHA Objectnummer:WAA72004. Jaar: 1925.
Theo de Munnik
Time period: 1950–1998
Number of interviews: 6
Accessibility: Limited
Period of interviews: 1997-1998

Interviews with former workers about their lives as workers in tanning and shoemaking, general social life and the future of the Netherlands and Europe.


Photo: Teachers and pupils of the Rijksvakschool voor Leerlooiers en Schoenmakers (later M.V.L.S.) in Waalwijk. Source: Image bank Streekarchief Langstraat Heusden Altena, Object number:WAA72004. Year:1925.

Bron: Beeldbank Streekarchief Langstraat Heusden Altena, Objectnummer: BRH00203

Ta Cuba mi ke bai

Proj. Cubag. AAINA (Archaeological- Anthropological Institute Netherlands Antilles) by Rose Mary Allen
Time period: 1917-1990
Number of interviews: unknown
Accessibility: unknown

Kept at the Central Historical Archive since 1998


Language: Papiamentu 



Oral history of Curaçao migrants who left for Cuba in the early 20th century to work in Cuban sugarcane fields.


“Ta Cuba mi ke bai” is the result of a study of the emigration of children from Curaçao to Cuba. This emigration peaked at the end of 1917 until 1921. Many Curaçao workers moved to Cuba to work in the sugar cane fields. There they met workers from other Caribbean islands, including Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados and also from Aruba, Bonaire and the islands above.

In a few years, some 2,300 Curaçaoans emigrated to Cuba. Rose Mary Allen visited old Curaçaoans who went to Cuba during that time and then returned to Curaçao. They were old, but could tell her a lot about Cuba and also about the reasons why they had gone to Cuba. And these were almost always economic reasons. There are still Curacaoans living in Cuba who went there at the time and stayed. That group intrigued Rose Mary Allen and she felt that her research would not be complete if she had not also visited these people in Cuba.


To get as complete a picture as possible of emigration to Cuba, the research was expanded by comparing testimonies with information from documents, such as official letters and newspapers.

Dutch housemaids

Barbara Henkes
Time period: 1920 - 1950
Number of interviews: 28
Accessibility: Contact for access.

Barbara Henkes (1955); historian and journalist; active in the Groningen women’s movement and the CPN 1979-1982; received her PhD in 1995 with Heimat in Holland. German maids 1920-1950; publishes in the field of women’s studies, oral history and 20th century history; affiliated to the University of Groningen. These interviews with Dutch maids formed the basis for the book Kaatje ben je boven?


Javastraat The Hague, ca. 1900

Kaatje, ben je boven? : leven en werken van Nederlandse dienstbodes 1900- 1940

Authors: Barbara Henkes, Hanneke Oosterhof

Publisher: Sun, Nijmegen, 1985

EAN: 9789061682424

PDF of the publication

Deep into the 20th century, countless young, unmarried women were employed as servants: as morning maids, chamber or kitchen maids, day maids or farm maids. Why did they go into employment? How did they get a shift? What did they have to do? And were they prepared for it? What made a shift a good or a bad job? How did maids survive the tension between social distance and personal involvement within the employer’s family? The Kaatjes, Dina’s and Betsies regularly appear in literature, but in historiography the servant’s existence has hardly been addressed. Barbara Henkes and Hanneke Oosterhof open up this side of the often ‘hidden’ power relations within the private sphere and show how social developments affected it. They do so on the basis of archive material, trade union and women’s magazines, but also and especially on the basis of interviews with dozens of women who look back on their life as servants.

Mill stories

Miller Den Boer at the Overwaard’s 6th mill in Kinderdijk

Number of interviews: 26
Accessibility: E-depot KNAW (in due time)
Transcripts: Pdf per story available

What was daily life like on the polder mills of South Holland? (Former) millers, children of millers, and also millwrights and former polder administrators tell their stories. On the website of you can read the stories and memories that have been recorded for the Molenverhalen (mill stories) project. 





Molen 't Vliegend Hert te 's-Gravendeel (Collectie Hollandsche Molen)

Women professors

Number of interviews: 5

Interviewer: Dieneke Stam


Atria has recorded the life stories of female professors.

2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the appointment of the first female professor in the Netherlands, Johanna Westerdijk (extraordinary professor of plant pathology (phytopathology), Utrecht University) (see photo). Every reason to pay ample attention to the current position of female professors just now. The advance of women in universities is still slow. With 18% female professors, the Netherlands ranks fourth lowest in the EU.


Women professors’ stories

Atria portrays the careers and life histories of a number of professors. Their stories reflect a unique part of the history of women in the 20th and 21st centuries. Five female emeritus professors, from different universities and different disciplines, were interviewed according to the scientific oral history method. They were asked about the course of their careers and how they look back on them as women and professors.

The integral interviews can be accessed through Atria.


Onder professoren

Oral history of the mining region

Mijnwerkers die afdalen in de mijn van Zwartberg. Op de voorgrond een kolenwagentje.(1927) - Nels en Thill
Number of interviews: 43
Accessibility: Contact


Number of interviews: 43

Number of persons: 49

More detailed description of the interview in the heritage database:

Accessibility: contact

Since its creation in 2007, the Heritage Unit has initiated or supported many projects in and about the Mining Region. In preparation for a publication, an exhibition or another heritage event, oral sources were often collected. Each one of them interesting testimonies that shed light on one or more aspects of the past of the Belgian Limburg Mining Region!

The counter has now reached more than 200 oral sources!


Because we do not want to lose this wealth of information (for example for scientific research), we are currently busy opening up these sources through the library of Genk.


In a first phase, we will make the interviews available that we have recorded ourselves, independently of a project. Since 2011, we annually commission several interviews of persons with an interesting story.


In 2011, Erfgoedcel Mijn-Erfgoed started recording interviews from the mining area. These interviews are important testimonies of elderly people who can add to the shared memory of the Limburg mining region. These testimonies are not collected via a project, but they provide a valuable contribution to the heritage in the Mining Region that, together with the witnesses, is in danger of disappearing.

Since 2011, a few people have been interviewed each year. In the meantime, the counter has reached 43 interviews with 49 people, good for about 50 hours of visual material!

Expo Sluitertijd


Naar aanleiding van 100 jaar steenkoolproductie in de Limburgse Mijnstreek en 25 jaar sluiting van de laatste steenkoolmijn van de Benelux, werkte Erfgoedcel Mijn-Erfgoed in 2017, in samenwerking met persfotograaf Tony Van Galen, de rondreizende expo ‘Sluitertijd’ uit. Deze tentoonstelling, met een 35-tal foto’s van Tony Van Galen, geeft een sfeerbeeld van de periode van de mijnstakingen en -sluitingen van de jaren 1980 en 1990. Ook werden enkele interviews afgenomen van personen die op de foto’s stonden. 

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



The Founders

Time period: 1960-2010


Audiovisual collection

Number of interviews: 

Accessible: reading room, registration and application required 

10-minute summaries: yes

Transcriptions: yes

Sound recording: mov 

Various generations of migrants bear witness to a rich past. De Grondleggers tells the story of three generations of Turks in East Flanders. The first of them arrived in Ghent and its surroundings as guest workers in the 1960s and 1970s, and many of them went to work in the road construction sector. The hard work was then often passed on from father to son. Today, a number of Turkish East-Flemish people have their own road works company; as employers, they now hire newcomers themselves. Because the road building sector has thus become part of the heritage of the Turkish community in East Flanders, New Focus vzw talked to three generations of Turkish road workers about their expectations, success stories and obstacles. New Focus vzw collected the stories in cooperation with Volkskunde Vlaanderen vzw, Amsab-ISG and the Federatie van Vooruitstrevende Verenigingen vzw.


New Focus vzw edited the stories into a report and a photo book.


The Founders | a film and photo book by Necmi Tüfekçi. A narrative heritage of 50 years of Turkish migration


Labour Movement Twente

Time period: 1930-1960

Collection former Film and Science Foundation


Interviewer(s): Gerard Kuys, Eric Theloosen, Niek Vos, Jozef Vos
Number of interviews: 10

Number of persons: 17
Production date: 1976-1978
Type of interview(s): scientific
Carrier: 5 audiotapes
Accessibility: restricted
Transcription: none

The interviews were conducted within the framework of the (economic and social) history doctoral theses (KUN) of the four interviewers, with as subject the labour movement and labour relations in the Twente textile industry 1930-1960. A number of interviews were conducted with several people at the same time. For instance, Duyn, Ter Haar, the Kapitein couple and Pieperiet are in one interview, as are Meijer and Tijdeman.

Almost all of them speak about the situation in the textile industry in Twente from an active position in the left-wing (trade) movement, especially NVV, NSV, NAS, EVC and OVB, whereby a strong aversion to the CPN emerges. The exception is the liberal politician Stikker, who speaks more from the position of employers than from his views on the new (post-war) forms of cooperation between employers and employees. Among other things, he was the initiator of the Labour Foundation in 1945.


Gerard Kuys – De vrees voor wat niet kwam : nieuwe arbeidsverhoudingen in Nederland 1935-1945, aan het voorbeeld van de Twentse textielindustrie

Niek Vos – De rauwe wet van vraag en aanbod: arbeidsverhoudingen in de Twents-Gelderse textielindustrie 1945 tot 1949

Einde textielstaking, april 1932. Arbeiders gaan de poort van Gerh. Jannink & Zn. binnen (Nationaal Archief 023-0268)