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BEKU (weekly radio program)
Bòi Antoin
Time period: 2007 - now
Number of interviews: 32
Accessibility: Online
Transcripts: Onbekend

Journalist and author Bòi Antoin has built up an extensive collection of Bonairean cultural heritage on Bonaire in recent years. BEKU is a weekly two-hour radio program, on the air since 1985, first as Radiotopiko and since 2007 as BEKU. BEKU is broadcast at radio station Voz di Boneiru 94.7FM. The program provides a platform for the entire community to bring forward, discuss and exchange the state of local holistic culture and dynamic society. All programs are live streamed, recorded and can be viewed on facebook.


More information on the various collections captured by Bòi Antoin can be found here.

Herensia (Heritage)
Bòi Antoin
Time period: 1900 - now
Number of interviews: 1206
Accessibility: Partly
Transcripts: Unknown
Period of interviews: Unknown

Journalist and author Boi Antoin has built up an extensive collection of Bonairean cultural heritage on Bonaire in recent years. Oral history has been recorded primarily through the program “Herensia” (Heritage). Many of these recordings are online.


Interviews have been conducted in Papiamentu. Dutch interviews were conducted in the collection Makambanan na Boneiru (Dutch on Bonaire). More information about the various collections recorded by Bòi Antoin can be found here.



Archaeological-Anthropological Institute Netherlands Antilles audio tapes

Period of interviews: 1980-1995

Interviews collected for the Archaeological Anthropological Institute Netherlands Antilles (AAINA) by Rose Mary Allen during the period 1980-1995


Brenneker/Juliana audio tapes

Paul Brenneker / Elis Juliana
Period of interviews: 1963-1989


Besides the famous Zikinzá collection, Brenneker and Elis collected many more oral histories, which are stored in the Curaçao Public Library.

When We Was We

Will Johnson
Number of interviews: 60
Period of interviews: 1985


Queen Wilhelmina Library

The original tapes, covering the lives of over 60 different Sabans, can be found at the Queen Wilhelmina Library in The Bottom, Saba.

Based on taped cassette interviews conducted in 1985 on the island of Saba, this film brings to life stories about living on Saba during the 19th and 20th centuries. 



Saban Lore, Tales from My Grandmother’s Pipe

Will Johnson

An updated and expanded version of Will Johnson’s 1979 book, which recounts the history and culture of Saba, drawing from both archival sources and personal interviews.

Customs around pregnancy and childbirth

Lucia Kelly
Time period: 1967-1973
Number of interviews: 18
Period of interviews: 1967 - 1973

Language: Papiamentu


8 interviews Ministry of Culture and Education of Aruba (1967-1973)

10 interviews Research Section of the National Archives of Aruba


Information obtained through oral history was used to research customs around pregnancy and childbirth. The customs mentioned do not necessarily apply to the entire Aruban population at the beginning of the 20th century.

Interviews conducted by the Aruba Ministry of Culture and Education between 1967 and 1973 were used. Own interviews with several women in Aruba about the customs as described were also used.





In all villages where institutionalized medical care is poorly developed, people use the knowledge accumulated generations after generations regarding the care of the sick and the care of pregnant women. Through the research I came to realize the valuable work done by a large group of women in the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century that we could not forget. They helped generations of women bring their children into the world, realizing very well that along the biological side there is also the psychological side and from which we can learn. In recognition of their work, I would like to mention their names. For this I consulted the birth certificates starting in 1831 and ending in 1930. It was in 1831 that the government established the Civil Register in Aruba.


Lucia Kelly, February 2005

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.

Archive Boneire Bòi Antoin

Bòi Antoin
Time period: 1900 - present
Number of interviews: >1000
Accessibility: Partly



Number of interviews digitised available: 137

Language: Papiamentu 



Number of interviews: 32 

Language: Papiamentu



Oral history has been recorded mainly through the programme ‘Herensia’ (=heritage in Papiamentu). Many of these recordings are on the Vimeo channel:

Number of interviews: 1206

Language: Papiamentu


Makambanan na Boneiru (Dutch on Bonaire)

Number of interviews: 22



Number of interviews: 326

Language: Papiamentu

Journalist and author Boi Antoin has built up an extensive collection of Bonairean cultural heritage on Bonaire in recent years. The material is stored in a room measuring about six by four metres. The collection includes 20th-century photographs, video tapes, audio tapes, objects, books and documents. Although the material is not very old, storage conditions in Bonaire are far from ideal, so the deterioration in its material condition is easy to see.

Plataforma Kultural and Fundashon Historiko Kultural Boneriano have taken the initiative to have the existing material digitised and made accessible. They are collaborating with Regionaal Archief Dordrecht in the process. The National Archives advised and the Institute for Sound and Vision will include part of the collection in its catalogue.


Programme category:

Boneiru Ayera i Awe (Bonaire past and present): 460
Documentaries: 70
Herensia (Heritage): 1385
Herensia di Siglo (Heritage of the Ages): 85
Aki Boneiru: 446 (1981- )
Aktualidat: 38 (oug 2021- )
Beku (weekly radio programme): ±1000 (2007- )

G.F. ‘Ito’ Tromp Collection

Number of interviews: 41
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1960-1970

Links to transcriptions


Entrevistanan Etnografico y Grabacionnan Musical y Cultural (1967-1975)

– Index Cards
– Lista di hendenan entrevista

Entrevista cu: Dijkhoff, Casildo Castulio (n. 7 maart 1895)
Entrevista cu: Fuentes geb. Koolman, Nicolasa (n. 1898)
Entrevista cu: Ridderstap, Catharina (Mayeye; n. 31 oktober 1875)
Tur entrevista cu transcripcion:

Interview transcription uploads
Interview tape (open tape reel) digitization: pending funding and audiovisual digitization equipment


On Aruba in the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Hubert Lio Booi and Mr. Ito Tromp collected the oral history of the Aruban people, mainly of the Mestizo (indigenous) Aruban people. Their collection is kept in the National Library of Aruba under the name G.F. ‘Ito’ Tromp Collection.

Booi and Tromp have collected much valuable information about Aruban traditional culture.


Ito Tromp

Zikinzá collection

Elis Juliana and Paul Brenneker
Number of interviews: 267
Period of interviews: 1960 - 1970

On Curaçao, Paul Brenneker and Elis Juliana collected a large amount of oral data beginning in 1958.

Their oldest informant was born about 1853, ten years before the abolition of slavery.

Most of the information collected by Juliana and Brenneker is stored in the Zikinzá Collection, a database consisting of 1,400 songs, stories, and life histories. Anecdotes, childhood memories, rituals and folk songs were taped from 267 informants.


Content-wise, Brenneker and Juliana were concerned with capturing the knowledge and wisdom of the older, rural population, who still lived isolated from the city and encroaching modernization on Banda’bou or Band’riba.



Rose Mary Allen used the Zikinzá collection for her dissertation, “Di ki manera,” on the Afro-Curaçaoan population in the period after the abolition of slavery.


Rose Mary Allen:

In this study I will present the key factors determining the social and cultural life of Afro-Curaçaoans during the first fifty years after the abolition of slavery in 1863. I will do so through a socio-cultural analysis of the social system of which they formed part. Their position within slave society will be the starting point, followed by an evaluation of the two principle elements of social control after emancipation: the State and the Roman Catholic Church. Rather than viewing Afro-Curaçaoans as mere objects to be acted upon, in this analysis I cite them as resilient agents, rising to – and often resisting in a variety of ways – the challenges and restrictions they faced in a free society. Their resilience and resistance are best demonstrated through the factors from which they drew their sustenance; these being mainly their social networks – such as families, peer groups, co-workers, local communities – and their culture, brought to the fore, for example, in their songs, stories and rituals. 

René V. Rosalia,

Tambú ; De legale en kerkelijke repressie van Afro-Curaçaose volksuitingen.

Publisher: Walburg Pers

Zutphen,  1997.

ISBN: 9060119878


Rene Vicente Rosalia (b. 1948) received his doctorate from the University of Amsterdam on the legal and ecclesiastical repression of tambu, the multifarious and rich Afro-Antillean cultural expression that recalls the slave past. In addition to being the word for felling drum, tambu is also a collective term for polyrhythmic music, played in twelve-eighths time, dance, symbolism, sacred and everyday rituals, entertainment, community building, conflict resolution, information provision, social protest and courting.


He used the Zikinzá collection in addition to his own interviews.


See: Article Bernadette de Wit in the Groene Amsterdammer: