A good start
-giving birth in the Netherlands

Number of interviews: 6
Accessibility: public (in the course of 2024)
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 2021
Medium: MP4




Creators: Jet Homoet en Ane C.Ose


The interviews are stored at Atria and DANS

This Oral History project (working title: The Home Birth Culture) consists of six filmed oral history interviews with birth care professionals, a documentary (70′) and a trailer. On Instagram are short street interviews with parents and healthcare professionals.


Oral History interviews with: midwives Franka Cadée, Erna Kerkhof and Djanifa de Conceicao, maternity nurses Thea Groeneveld and Pien Jasper and gynaecologist Martine Hollander.

The life stories of the six birth care professionals provide insight into who and what shaped them, how they came to choose their profession and what experiences they have had in practising it. They share their knowledge about the unique birth care of the Netherlands from their personal experience and perspectives. Together, they paint a powerful but also vulnerable picture of a birthing culture under great pressure from a zeitgeist of medicalisation, market forces and modern man’s drive for control. Pregnant women’s freedom of choice to give birth safely at home is at stake as a result.

How valuable and exceptional our birth care is, which most Dutch people take for granted, is shown by the penetrating stories of these professional women about the overwhelming and special nature of every birth, about the importance of a familiar face during parturition -at home and in the hospital, about the function of pain and the consequences of trauma, poverty and racism. As a result, the interviews and film are also a reflection on our society and core values such as trust in ourselves and our fellow man, autonomy and freedom of choice.


‘Home birth culture’ has had the status of Immaterial Heritage Netherlands since 2021.


The Oral History project Een goed begin – bevallen in Nederland was set up by Vertelburo. Filmmakers Ane C. Ose and Jet Homoet have many years of experience in recording life stories commissioned by individuals and organisations.

Unskilled labour

Stichting Film en Wetenschap / Abram de Swaan
Number of interviews: 6
Accessibility: restricted
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1971
Medium: 29 audiotapes

The interviews were made for the VARA television production Een boterham met tevredenheid (55′) by Abram de Swaan and Paul van den Bos, broadcast on 1 May 1971.

The context of the film and the making of the interviews was covered in Vrije Geluiden, among other publications. VPRO programme magazine for TV and radio, no 18, 1-8 May 1971.
The interviewees talk about their work (skilled or unskilled) and any previous occupations or work circles.

Boon is a metal worker (plate presser) at DAF; Ten Dolle is a textile worker (stretcher) at the Enka in Emmen; Hilkhuyzen is a punch typist at the computer centre of an insurance company; Mathijsen – not included in the documentary – is a metal worker at Tomado; Oussoren is a cable braider at Draka; Spoelstra is a biscuit packer at Albert Heijn. The interview with Hilkhuyzen was conducted by Langebach.



  • M.H. Boon
  • G.J. ten Dolle
  • Mrs W. Hilkhuyzen
  • Mr Mathijsen
  • A.R. Oussoren
  • Mrs Spoelstra-Leendert


Interviewer(s): Bram de Swaan, Laurie Langebach

De Swaan published the interviews in abridged form in his book Een boterham
met tevredenheid. Gesprekken met arbeiders, Amsterdam:
Van Gennep, 1972.





Collection former foundation SFW
Time period: 1948-1960
Number of interviews: 3
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1993-1994


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

Medium: 3 audio cassettes

The interviews were made for Brouwers’ and Hogenkamp’s filmography Triofilm 1946-1978. Film production company and laboratory, Amsterdam: Stichting Film en Wetenschap (SFW working edition no.4), 1994.


The interviewees talk about the time they worked at the film production company and laboratory Triofilm, founded in 1946 by Jo de Haas, Theo Cornelissen and Paul A.J. Wijnhoff.

Herman Greven (born 1933) worked at Triofilm as a lab assistant from 1948, before moving to the
Cinetone studios, and still later found employment in film management at the Netherlands Film Museum (NFM).

Peter Jonen (born 1927), after years at Polygoon, was employed as a lab assistant at Triofilm from 1953 to 1960. Via several other production companies, including Joop Geesink, he eventually joined the Utrecht Film and Science Foundation (SFW) in 1971 as a cutter.

Piet van Strien (b. 1929) started out as a jack-of-all-trades at Triofilm in 1948, but soon started working in the laboratory and from 1953 (Watersnoodramp) he handled the camera. In 1959, he left the company and continued as a free-lance filmmaker, including for British Visnews.



  • Herman Greven
  • Peter Jonen
  • Piet van Strien


Stichting Film en Wetenschap / Jos Nap
Number of interviews: 3
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: no
Period of interviews: 1989-1990


The interviewees talk about the time they worked at the Haarlem film production company Multifilm.

In the interview with Gerdes, his wife is present in the background.
Van den Berg, trained as a lawyer, joined Multifilm in January 1939 as secretary and procurator. She also did ‘odd jobs’ like printing and projecting. Gerdes was a cameraman and screenwriter. He became a permanent employee in 1948, while before that he had made commissioned films for the Haarlem company as a free-lancer.

Rouw (born 1914), who by his own admission had initially wanted to become a ship’s cook, was employed as an errand boy by Multifilm founder J.C. Mol in 1929. He developed into a cameraman and laboratory assistant.


All joined the still-young television production company Cinecentrum in Hilversum in 1958, into which Multifilm as well as Polygoon and Profilti merged.



  • Zus van den Berg
  • Willem Gerdes
  • Tjerk Rouw



Stichting Film en Wetenschap / Martin Schouten
Number of interviews: 3
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1976-1977


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

Medium: 2 audiotapes and 3 cassette tapes

In the interviews, Smit and Twisk talk about their work and their experience of it. The interviews were conducted on behalf of a series of articles by Martin Schouten in the Haagse Post in which people talk about their experience of work. Later, most of these pieces were collected, in modified form, in Schouten’s book Work. Fifty People about what they actually do for a living and how they feel about it.

Incidentally, several people appear in the book under pseudonyms.


Jan Smit is a house painter with the Buildings Department of Netherlands Railways. He recounts his experiences at work in a sometimes hilarious manner. Kees Twisk (74), a retired ‘greenkeeper’, talks about maintaining the golf courses in Zandvoort, which he did all his life. The interview with Faber was not conducted directly in the context of the above-mentioned topic but for the benefit of a project on people living on the financial minimum. The results of this were also supposed to be contained in a book.
However, it is unclear whether this ever materialised.



  • Jan Smit
  • Kees Twisk
  • Mr Faber

Werk. Vijftig mensen over wat ze nou eigenlijk doen voor de kost en hoe ze daarover denken.

Martin Schouten

Amsterdam 1978, De Arbeiderspers, Interviewbundel.

ISBN: 9029544554

In Werk Haagse Post journalist Martin Schouten interviews 50 people about what they actually do for a living and how they feel about it. For a year, Schouten listened to people talk about their work: about profession, their boss, their colleagues, their life – what they imagined it would be like and how it turned out. From the barge master (‘the romance has sailed away’) to the real estate agent (‘your private life gets a bit involved, three years ago I got divorced’). He has strolled across a golf course with the man in charge of keeping the grass green (greenkeeper), sat hoisting lager with a postman (‘they sometimes think it’s some imbibing professionie’) and sagged with the bouncer of a night pub. In short: everyday working life. Wonderful.

Coal pits

Productiehuis De Chinezen
Time period: 1900-1992
Number of interviews: 13
Accessibility: by appointment via
Period of interviews: 2022

In Coal Pits, a number of carefully selected ex-miners dig deep into their memories, where they have stored a wealth of colourful stories about the mine. In juicy and plastic fashion, they tell moving, funny and exciting anecdotes about the dangerous and unhealthy work ‘in the pit’, about daily life in the cités, about the struggle for social rights, the arrival of the ‘guest workers’ and about the rise and fall of heavy industry in Limburg.


The series mainly lets workers have their say: men (and women) who grew up in poverty, usually had not studied and hoped for a better future by working in the pit.

Their stories form the basis of the series and are complemented by historical film material from various archives and atmospheric images of the still-existing industrial architecture and the original miners’ committees of the time.

The series is timely. Not only because it is 30 years since the last Limburg coal mine, that of Heusden-Zolder, was closed. But also because the generation that can still tell the story of the mines from their own experience is disappearing. This is shown, among other things, by the unfortunate fact that four of the 13 key witnesses have died since the filming.


Most of the witnesses are in their 70s and 80s, some even well into their 90s. These are the names:

Agostino Mele – 83 years old
Franco Mirisola – 69 years old
Ismail Erdogdu – 72 years old
Jan Kocur (+) – 79 years
Jean De Schutter – 76 years
Jean Peeters – 69 years
Louis Snoeks (+) – 91 years
Mai Van Houdt – 82 years
Mil Coenen – 63 years
Rocco Berterame (+) – 95 years
Sandrettin Koçak – 80 years
Sophie Gruszowski – 76 years
Stephan Bratus (+) – 96 years

The episodes
Three episodes cover the many facets of underground life, a fourth deals with life above ground and the fifth outlines the story of the closure of the mines.

Episode 1 – Underground
In the first episode, the coal miners take us into the mysterious world underground. In smells and colours, they recount their work and habits among the stones and dust.

Episode 2 – On life and death
In the second episode, the coal pits highlight the dangers of working in the mines. They reminisce about exciting moments and tricky situations that fortunately usually ended well for them. Although that was not the case for everyone.

Episode 3 – The promised land
There was a shortage of hands in the mines. Workers were therefore recruited from other countries. This third episode tells about the experiences of the newcomers in our country and sketches the multicoloured camaraderie underground.

Episode 4 – The cité
In the fourth episode, the coal pits take us to the cité. After all, the mine was much more than the dark corridors underground. Family life above ground was also completely controlled and organised by the mine, in districts and neighbourhoods where the miners lived together.

Episode 5 – The closure
The final episode looks back at the closure of the mines in Limburg. The coal miners recall the actions and strikes they undertook and outline the feeling they still struggle with to this day.

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
Transcripts: Unknown
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

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

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.