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An oral history of design

Vlaams Architectuurinstituut
Time period: 1916-2014
Number of interviews: 7 (8 people)
Accessibility: via application form
Transcripts: short summary
Period of interviews: 18 June 2014 - 19 January 2015

The cultural heritage of design does not consist only of sketches, models, photographs or correspondence of designers. With design, there is also a strong interaction between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge, knowledge that may be passed on but which usually does not receive written expression. That is why the Flemish Architecture Institute conducted interviews with designers, policy makers and craftspeople. As a result, the interviews do not all cover the same topics and time periods. A mix of young and old and of profession was chosen; furniture maker, artist, design connoisseur and director of Design Flanders all have their say.


The following people were interviewed:

  • Leonce Dekeijser (1924-2015), interior architect, he explains that in his college days, “interior design” did not actually exist. He took courses with architects and decorative arts and eventually earned a degree in furniture art. He discusses the teaching methods, the subjects and his teachers. He talks about the interaction between design and education

  • José Vanderlinden (1920-?), furniture maker, the emphasis in the conversation with José Vanderlinden is, much more than in the conversation with Leonce Dekeijser, on the technical aspects of furniture making.

  • Luc (1953-now) and Katrien Mestdagh (1980-now), stained glass artists, the conversation includes the neo-Gothic tradition in Ghent in terms of stained glass painting, and how it lives on to this day in atelier Mestdagh. They discuss the need for commissioning.
  • Achiel Pauwels (1932-now), ceramist, he talks about how he learned the craft, how the teachers did not always give away the secrets of the craft just like that, and what the relationship was with the other art craft courses and the sculpture course. The conversation also explores the emphases he placed in his own classes and the importance he attached to drawing in doing so.
  • Moniek Bucquoye (1948-2022), connoisseur and promoter of design, the talk provides an insight into how product development education was shaped in Flanders from a historical perspective. She highlights the difference between product development and industrial design.
  • Lieven Daenens (1948-now), former director of the Design museum Ghent. Daenens discusses the evolution of the museum, its change of name and position with the advent of the museum decree in the 1990s. He discusses the quality of Belgian design culture and education in Belgium.
  • Johan Valcke (1952-now), director of Design Flanders, the conversation with Valcke gives an insight into how art crafts and design were viewed in Belgium and Flanders from an economic point of view and a historical perspective.


The four interviewers were art historians and artists: Katarina Serulu, Marieke Pauwels, Eva Van Regenmortel and Aletta Rambaut

Johannes Steggerda en Wiero Beek, professors and vocation

Historisch Geluidsarchief RUU
Time period: 1947-1969
Number of interviews: 2 (2 people)
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: none
Period of interviews: 7 May en 18 June 1969

Type interview: journalism

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:


In DAAN, the digital archive of Beeld & Geluid the following item can be found: Wat is mijn kennis waard? (1969) by Warner Borregaard, the interviews were used for this film.

Medium: audio tapes

R.L. Schuursma interviewed two professors in 1969 about their choice of study, career and natural sciences.

The following were interviewed:

  • Prof. dr. ir. Johannes Joseph (Jan) Steggerda (1929-2021), between 1962 and 1994 professor of general and inorganic chemistry at Radboud University Nijmegen. Jan Steggerda was born on January 29, 1929 in The Hague, where he attended the HBS-B of St. Janscollege. After graduating from HBS, he went to study chemistry at the Technical College in Delft in 1947. He obtained his diploma as a chemical engineer in early 1953 and then started working under the leadership of Prof. J.H. de Boer for his PhD research. He received his doctorate on December 7, 1955 with honors for the thesis ‘The formation of active aluminum oxide’.
  • Prof. dr. ir. Wiero Jan Beek (1932-2016), between 1963 and 1970 professor of physical technology at Delft University of Technology. In 1950 he went to the Technical College (now the Technical University) in Delft. Here he studied physical technology under rof. Hans Kramers. In 1962, Beek received his doctorate cum laude for his thesis ‘Mass transfer through moving interfaces’. It is the only cum laude ever presented by Kramers.


For more information on the interviews and the interviewed, see: SFW-werkuitgave no. 8 (1995), p. 3, 41.

Interviews with former employees of the Zuiderzee Museum

Time period: the second half of the 20th century
Number of interviews: 10 (10 people)
Accessibility: 8 fully accessible
Transcripts: partially
Period of interviews: 2022
Medium: audio files

To celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen, the Netherlands, in 2023. This was accompanied by a special exhibition, which was celebrated both by employees as well as former employees and volunteers. A start was made the year before to speak with former employees. Femke van Drongelen had tracked down several people who had helped build the outdoor museum, and ten former employees were also interviewed. Here you may find a video about the importance of these former employees.


Their stories illuminated the history of the museum and the history of Enkhuizen. All kinds of beautiful stories emerged as a result. These were incorporated into the exhibit.


The following people were interviewed:

  • Bert Kruissink
  • Erik Walsmit
  • Pieter Jutte
  • Siemen de Boer
  • Johan Jesterhout
  • Victor Kersten
  • Thedo Fruithof
  • Ferry Walberg
  • Sjaak Dangermond
  • Sjaak Tromp

Piet van der Ham

Voormalig Stichting Film en Wetenschap
Time period: 1910-1995
Number of interviews: 1 (1 person)
Accessibility: Restricted
Transcripts: None
Period of interviews: 1995

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: 3 cassette tapes

The interview with Piet van der Ham (born 1910) was made as part of Renate Bergsma’s research internship at SFW in 1995. It was incorporated into her doctoral thesis “Do you speak film? The Catholic filmmaker Piet van der Ham, Amsterdam (doctoral thesis Cultural Studies, UvA), 1995. Under the same title she published an article in the 1994 Yearbook Stichting Film en Wetenschap – Audiovisual Archive, Amsterdam: Stichting Film en Wetenschap, 1995, p.75-101.


Piet van der Ham has been characterized as a Catholic filmmaker. His “discovery” in 1936 as an amateur filmmaker by the filmmaker Otto van Neijenhoff was the impetus for a whole series of commissioned films from that angle. He was theoretically influenced by the Catholic ‘film pope’ Janus van Domburg and the writer-poet A.J.D. van Oosten and more generally by the aesthetic views of the Filmliga. With Van Oosten, he founded the Catholic film group Kafilgro. The amateur film Redt Volendam, made by Piet van der Ham and Goof Bloemen, can be found on the website of Beeld & Geluid.


During World War II he experimented with feature films, together with his friend Alfred Mazure, and worked as a photographer for the Internal Armed Forces. Over the years, he made many film journalistic contributions to newspapers such as De Tijd and de Maasbode and was associated with film magazines such as Filmfront and Filmforum. He was also involved in the Catholic Film Censorship Board. After the war, he made a number of films for the KVP, including the well-known De Opdracht (1956). He also made several corporate films and produced news items for Polygoon and the NTS. Finally, Van der Ham taught film and photography in The Hague.

Oral history of the Dutch Broadcasting Company

Collection of the Broadcasting Museum and the Institute for Sound and Vision
Time period: 1930-1980 and 1940-2012
Number of interviews: 170
Accessibility: For research purposes
Period of interviews: 1982-1993 and 2010-2012

The items can be found in DAAN, the digital archive of Sound & Vision, by the metadata creatorname “Vossen” of the terms “Oral history van de omroep” 


In the 1980s, the Broadcasting Museum, the predecessor of the Institute for Sound and Vision, realised that the time was ripe to record the stories of the pioneers of the National Broadcasting Corporation. The programme makers were now well into their old age. The Broadcasting Museum took this opportunity to record their life stories for posterity. These interviews – initiated by Harrie Vossen – contain valuable information about the early years of broadcasting and the further lives of the pioneers. After thirty years new interviews were held. 


This collection therefore consists of two parts that differ in character: the first set of 31 audio interviews with broadcasting pioneers dates from 1982-1993 and were conducted by Harrie Vossen. They therefore fall under the Harrie Vossen collection and can be found via DAAN, the digital archive of Sound & Vision with the metadata creator name: “Vossen”. These interviews cover the period 1930-1980 and highlight the early years of the National Broadcasting Company. Also see the following two overviews on the wiki of Sound & Vision concerning the collection Harrie Vossen and broadcasting pioneers: first, an overview of the interviewees of these interviews. Second, an overview of these interviews themselves with parts of the transcripts. The collection Harrie Vossen is a treasure trove for information regarding broadcasting pioneers.


The second series of 139 interviews is from 2010-2012 and deals with employees’ experiences of working for broadcasting. These interviews cover the period 1940-2012. Both young and old participated in these interviews so the content varies widely. These interviews can be found in the archive of Sound and Vision under the series Oral History of Broadcasting.


Also see our article on this collection “De verborgen schat van Beeld & Geluid” (The hidden treasure of Beeld & Geluid)

Gé van der Werff

Voormalig Stichting Film en Wetenschap
Time period: 1925-1990
Number of interviews: 1 (1 person)
Accessibility: Restricted
Transcripts: None
Period of interviews: 1992

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 cassette tapes

The interview was conducted as part of Selier’s doctoral research on the history of Dutch (press) photography. The main purpose of this interview was to find out more about THE Polygoon Photo Press Agency during the occupation years and the establishment of the ANP Photo Press Agency after the war, into which Polygoon Photo was incorporated, including the photo archive, which, incidentally, was destroyed for a significant part. About the archive and what remains of it, Selier wrote the article “Polygoon photo archive,” in: GBG-News 20, pp. 7-9 (Photohistorical Front Message series).


Before the war, Van der Werff worked as a press photographer in the photo department of the film and photo production company Polygoon in Haarlem. In 1938, he was seconded to The Hague. However, he left the company in 1941 and returned to Haarlem to earn his living as a “town hall” photographer for several years. After the war, he was the first photographer employed by the newly established ANP Photo Press Agency, where he remained until his retirement. Van der Werff also talks about fellow photographers, including Aart Klein.

Graphic design, Cyprian Kościelniak and vocation

Esther Boukema
Time period: unknown (possibly 1974-1988)
Number of interviews: 2 (9 people)
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: none
Period of interviews: 1988

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: 3 cassette tapes

This collection contains basically two types of interviews. First of all, Esther Boukema interviewed the originally Polish graphic designer Cyprian Kościelniak in 1988 about the characteristics of a good poster, the function of the poster, the relation poster – society, the relation poster – art, the importance of developing one’s own style and the work of Kościelniak himself.

This interview is therefore not only about the profession and the technical side of graphic design but also about social criticism. This puts Kościelniak in line with his father Władysław Kościelniak, an artist and avid columnist. Boukema incorporated this interview into a thesis for the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht. The interview is in English.


Secondly, Esther Boukema and Assi Kootstra interviewed eight (anonymous) graduating graphic design students about their motivation and ambitions. These eight were interviewed together. This information was intended for a publication in the form of an article in the (graduation) newspaper of the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten.


The following people were interviewed:

  • Cyprian Kościelniak (1948-now), in 1974 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He is a Polish graphic designer and has lived in the Netherlands since 1986. He is the son of the well-known artist and columnist Władysław Kościelniak.

  • 8 graphic design students from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht


An article about Cyrian Kościelniak

Examples of his art

The life and art of the autodidactic artist and farmer Ernst Schäublin

Philo Bregstein
Time period: 1895-1975
Number of interviews: 7 (1 person)
Accessibility: restricted
Transcripts: none
Period of interviews: 11 - 17 October 1975

Type interview: journalism

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

Medium: 3 audio tapes

The interviews with the Swiss farmer and painter Schäublin (1895-1978) were made for Bregstein’s television portrait of his life and work, entitled Boer and Schilder (farmer and painter) and broadcast by the NCRV on September 1, 1976. Bregstein conducted the interviews together with his wife, the painter Marline Fritzius.


Early on, the former bank employee Schäublin from Basel retired to the mountain village of Klosters to live as a farmer. In his spare time, he painted a total of about 15 works. However, except for a single exhibition, he kept them for himself. In the interview he talks, among other things, about the painter Grünewald, whom he admired, the writers Lev Tolstoi, Jeremias Gotthelf and Thomas Mann, and the influence he underwent from Buddhism and the writings of Lao-tse. He also talks about his view of hectic modern life and about his own work, in which magical-realist, expressionist and symbolist traits can be recognized.

Otto van Neijenhoff and the Dutch film industry

Piet van der Ham
Time period: 1920-1976
Number of interviews: 6 (1 person)
Accessibility: restricted
Transcripts: nonen
Period of interviews: August - November 1976

Type interview: journalism

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:


The following item can be found in DAAN, the digital archive of Beeld & Geluid: the series Samen op weg 01-01-1946, a film made by Van Neijenhoff about the Second World War and the years after


Medium: 3 cassette tapes

Piet van der Ham (1910-2006) talks to his colleague the filmmaker Otto van Neijenhoff (1898-1977) about his films and about his relationships with other filmmakers and production companies, including Willy Mullens. This makes the interview historically relevant; both interviewer and interviewee played important roles in the Dutch film industry.


Van Neijenhoff learned the film trade in the early 1920s under Willy Mullens, a film pioneer. One of Mullens’ films was admitted to the Canon of Dutch Film. A few years later, Van Neijenhoff founded his own film company, IWA (Industrie, Wetenschap en Actualiteiten), renamed Filmproductie Otto van Neijenhoff in 1946. From 1925 to ’33, he was the regular commissioned filmmaker for the Vereeniging Nederlandsch Fabrikaat. Influenced by the ideas of the Filmliga, he ventured into several film experiments during the 1930s. After the war, he engaged primarily in commissioned work, including many corporate and regional films.


Van Neijenhoff also worked for third parties. For example, in the 1930s he worked as an (assistant) cameraman on such feature films as The Regiment’s Big, Rubber, Jonge Harten and the never-released Zomerzotheid, and made newsreel footage for the Dutch branch of the American Fox Movietone. Van Neijenhoff remained active into the 1960s; he made two documentaries about windmills – Los de vang and Wentelende wieken – and a number of provincial films commissioned by Esso Nederland. Van Neijenhoff was undoubtedly one of the most prolific filmmakers in the Netherlands.

Chief editor Johan Huijts and the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant (1940-1945)

Historisch Geluidsarchief RUU
Time period: 1940-1945
Number of interviews: 2 (1 person)
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: none
Period of interviews: 16 May and 1 November 1968

Type interview: scientific

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

Medium: 3 audio tapes

In 1968, J. Rijken, R.L. Schuursma and Sj. Vellenga interviewed seventy-one-year-old Johan Huijts (1897-1995), editor-in-chief of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant (later the NRC) during World War II. Shortly after the war, Huijts was arrested and faced subsequent purge trials by the ‘Commissie voor Perszuivering’ for his cooperation with German rules for Dutch journalism. With his expulsion, he was also expelled from the Dutch Journalist Circle and the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde, among others.


Also see the inventory of the archive related to Johan Huijts

More information on the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant