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Destined for Ghent

Integratiedienst Gent and Amsab-ISG
Number of interviews: 45
Accessibility: One-time registration and login
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 2011


Medium: wav-files

Migration is of all times. Time and again, people have said goodbye to their native land for various reasons, facing a sometimes very uncertain future. It takes courage to leave everything familiar behind and build a new existence on unfamiliar ground. The ‘Destined for Ghent’ project aims to record stories, rituals and traditions of people with a migration background and make them accessible to a wide audience. In all these stories, the focus is on life in the city of Ghent, on the strength and courage needed for a new beginning in a foreign environment.


‘Destined for Ghent’ aims to give migrants’ heritage a place within the growing focus on heritage in general and hopes to encourage migrants of different origins to record (or have recorded) memories of their personal migration stories.

The stories will be collected by ‘trackers’, volunteers who themselves have a migration history. The trackers are offered hands-on training that introduces them to the world of oral history. Armed with this knowledge, they go in search of witnesses to interview.

More than 50 trackers have now successfully completed the training. The first 27 interviews have been delivered. Trackers and witnesses together represent 32 of Ghent’s 159 nationalities.


‘Destined for Ghent ‘ showed the results of the project to the public in various ways. The five duo-photos of trackers and witnesses on Heritage Day kicked off the project. A book, a multimedia application in STAM, an exhibition and numerous other forms of presentation will follow at a later stage.


‘Destined for Ghent’ is a project of AGORA, a Ghent partnership between the city council, various welfare organisations and national associations of migrants. The Integration Service is doing the coordination. Ghent University, STAM (City Museum), Amsab-ISG (Institute of Social History) and FARO (Flemish Cultural Heritage Support Centre) guarantee the scientific input in the project.


© Stad Gent – Integratiedienst/project ‘Bestemd voor Gent’

Red or no bread

© AMSAB-ISG - Binnenzicht van de bakkerij van de coöperatie SM Vooruit. Gent.
Time period: 1900-1995
Number of interviews: 68
Accessibility: openbaar
Transcripts: ja
Period of interviews: 1998-1999

Toegankelijkheid: eenmalige registratie en login

Het archief is enkel toegankelijk mits toelating van de archiefvormer of diens afgevaardigde na een beargumenteerde schriftelijke vraag.

Medium: cassetteband - gedigitaliseerd mov

Bread was the chief component of the workers’ meal, so a good choice to sell in a cooperative. Everyone who was a member of the cooperative could share in the profits, and every worker naturally bought his bread from the cooperative. In the beginning, the activity remained modest, but once the bread was delivered to homes and the distributed profits increased, the cooperative began to grow.


The bakery, which combined advantageous prices with good quality, became a great success. The registration fee was 25 centimes and buyers undertook to buy all their bread from the cooperative. A 6% discount in the form of purchase vouchers and reinvestment of part of the profits quickly made Vooruit grow into a complex organisation with all kinds of activities. People’s pharmacies and shops selling groceries, coal, garments and shoes appeared. By 1901, the company had grown from one bakery with 150 members to several bakeries, twenty outhouses and more than seven thousand members! On the Garenmarkt (now the Anseeleplein), an old factory was bought in which a bakery, as well as a shop, a coffee house and a meeting room were opened. The first Vlaamse Volkshuis was born.


These interviews were conducted as part of the Interview Project entitled “Red or no bread. A practicum in the subject methodology of the Newest Times partim Oral History in the second candidature of History (second Bachelor of History), academic years 1998-1999 (teacher: Professor Dr Bruno De Wever).

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



Vooruit: 100/30

Time period: 1900-2011


Number of interviews: 5

Sound file: wav

Transcripts: yes

10-minute summaries: yes

Accessibility: one-time registration and login

The centenary (2013) of the Feestlokaal Vooruit and the thirtieth anniversary of the Arts Centre that is housed there will be an opportunity to make the rich material and immaterial heritage of the building, the socialist cooperative Vooruit and its cultural activities and the Arts Centre accessible to a broad public.

The promoters and external partners want to develop a rich ‘content’ by tracing, valorising and presenting tangible and intangible heritage in an accessible way. To this end, the documentary heritage preserved by AMSAB Institute of Social History and the Arts Centre is being explored. In addition, three oral history projects will be carried out on the history of the last half century of Vooruit.

They will be made available in the form of a website, mobile ICT applications in the Feestlokaal Vooruit, an exhibition in the STAM and a public book. The experience and know-how of external partners will be used for this.
The 100th/30th anniversary of Vooruit will undoubtedly appeal to a broad public and will also receive a lot of media attention. This project wants to anticipate this with a high-quality heritage project in which UGent historians, art historians, architects and multimedia engineers will contribute. It fits in the good neighbourhood in which Vooruit and UGent live ‘back to back’ and it will contribute to the image of UGent.




Author: Liesbet Nys
ISBN: 9789491376481

Behind the iconic façade of De Vooruit lies a rich history. A story of 100 years of trial and error.

de vooruit/geschiedenis


Werking van de coöperatie Vooruit from Geertjan Tillmans on Vimeo.


Rode cultuurbeleving in het feestlokaal van Vooruit tijdens het interbellum (1919
-1939) – Johannes Teerlinck


Rode cultuurbeleving in het feestlokaal van vooruit

Universiteit Gent, Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte, Afdeling Geschiedenis (Nieuwste Geschiedenis), Academiejaar 2009


Going out in Ghent

Time period: 1919-1939


Aantal interviews: 39

Geluidsbestand: mp3

Toegankelijkheid: leeszaal, verplichte registratie en op aanvraag 

Transcripties: ja

10-minuten samenvattingen: ja

At the beginning of the 20th century, the entertainment industry underwent a true revolution. New techniques, new music and dance styles developed. Even gent was affected: there was theatre, circus, music hall, cinema, zoo, cabaret, dancing, café, opera… The aim of the project is to find out where the respondents went out during their young years and how they did so. Within the research, three lines can be distinguished: the first is the topography of the Ghent dance halls, the second is to reconstruct an average night out and the third is to explore the control and perception of dance halls.


Archival history: The department of New History of Ghent University, under the leadership of Prof. Dr. B. De Wever, conducted research into recreational life in Ghent before the Second World War. For this purpose, interviews were conducted with witnesses born around 1920 and living in the Ghent area before the war. The project was coordinated by Marta Michna who wrote a master’s thesis on the subject.


Marta Michna. Master’s thesis “Dancings in Gent, 1919-1939”. A-J: 2007-2008

The subject “Dancings in Ghent, 1919 to 1939” seems rather general at first sight.
However, the gap that I discovered during my research forced me to conduct a thorough basic research. Due to the volatility of the nightlife sector, it was not easy to find the right It was not easy to come up with an overview of the field. The entertainment is an extremely sensitive sector. Not only is it subject to fashionable trends and foreign influences, it is also constantly threatened by imminent bankruptcies. It is also constantly threatened by imminent bankruptcies, the danger of fire, and municipal or provincial regulations.
Image is important. An establishment spreads a certain message via all sorts of channels, tries to attract a message, tries to attract a target audience and radiate a specific atmosphere. This sensitivity should make us realise how much can change over a period of twenty years. everything can change in a twenty-year period. The interwar period cannot be seen as a single whole. The roaring twenties and thirsty thirties point to changes that have major social consequences. social consequences. That is why we have focused on the following three issues during this study concentrated on the following three issues. Firstly, the topography of the dancings in Ghent, because knowledge of a location is crucial. Second, the reconstruction of an average night out. Thirdly, the attitude thirdly, attitudes towards nightclubs in different social strata.

Postkaart van Dancing Moderne aan de SintAmandstraat 8. Uitgebaat door mijnheer De Stoop

Impressions. Ghent’s printing industry in the spotlight

Zoon Frans Balthazar aan de Linotype, jaren 1930. © privécollectie
Time period: 1950-2019


Number of interviews: 10

Analogue in repository, digital on internal server and in MAM archive of meemoo

Accessible: Complete audio interviews and summary in the library, on request available on the spot

Original sound carrier: audiocassette

Digitised: mp3



The Industry Museum has a tradition of oral history projects and preserves interviews with people from various graphics sub-sectors: both recent interviews (2017-2019) and those from the project “Impressions. The Ghent printing industry in the spotlight” (1988-1989).
These sources offer an insight into the working conditions, technical innovations and various evolutions in the profession.


Publication issued on the occasion of the exhibition Indruk: de Gentse drukkerswereld, belicht in het Museum voor industriel archeologie en textiel in Gent from 17 February 1989-18 January 1990.

Ghent guests

Time period: 1960-2010

Number of interviews: 40

10-minute summaries: yes

Transcriptions: yes

Sound carrier: mp3

Accessible: one-time registration and login 

In September 2007, Nakhla vzw started the socio-cultural project Gentse Gasten in cooperation with its partners. It concerns the story of the first generation of Moroccans in Ghent. What was originally intended as an exploratory study among a limited group of Moroccans from the Brugse Poort area, quickly grew into a project with greater ambitions. Ghent Guests’ aims to collect and create sources on Moroccan migration to Ghent in the 1960s and 70s. The ultimate goal is to write the history of the first generation of Moroccans in Ghent. The focus, however, is not on the creation of a scientific work, but on informing as large a public as possible about this important, all too often forgotten aspect of Ghent’s history.

At the same time, the project wants to initiate a written and spoken archive around and for the Moroccan community and open this up to a broad public. This is also important to strengthen the ties between the different generations and to offer a platform for the awareness and importance of heritage for social awareness.


40 interviews with first and second generation Moroccan migrants, and additionally privileged witnesses.


The documentary “My Aunts from Ghent” was made by Nakhla and Een Andere Wereld Films.


Trailor of My Aunts from Ghent