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Military Authority

Historisch Geluidsarchief RUU / R. de Koeyer, J. Rijken
Time period: 1944-1945
Number of interviews: 3
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: no
Period of interviews: 1970

Medium: 4 sound tapes

Zeeuws archief


Film footage of the destruction of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (1944 Sep.-Oct.), the liberation of Middelburg (1944 Nov.) and the destruction of Koewacht by a V1 (1945 Mar.), 1944-1945.

The interviews were made for the doctoral thesis on history (RUU) of R. de Koeyer under the (probable) title Het Militair Gezag in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen.
P. de Bruyne was First Additional Officer Military Authority in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen in 1944-45

W. de Kok was interned by order of the MG in 1944-45 on charges of sympathising with the NSB

C.W. Slot (vice-admiral b.d.) held the position of provincial commissioner of Zeeland at the MG.



  • P. de Bruyne
  • W. de Kok
  • C.W. Slot

Eyewitnesses of the 20th century

Stichting OOGgetuigen van de 20ste eeuw /Kees Slager
Time period: 1900-2000
Number of interviews: 816
Accessibility: openbaar
Period of interviews: 2000-2004

Te beluisteren in de Bibliotheek van Zeeland


OOGgetuigen van de 20ste eeuw


The memories of just about two thousand (older) Zeeuwen have been recorded on tape. A cross-section of the population, from high to low on the social ladder, cooperated in the interview project Eyewitnesses of the 20th century.

The interviews recorded through the project are on CD and have been collected in the Zeeland Library and can be listened to there. In this way, a lot of information is available about professions, some of which have disappeared, important events of the 20th century, leisure activities and developments in ten villages.

Most of the interviews were recorded on Walcheren and in Zeelandic Flanders.


A selection from the collection of 816 interviews in the sound bank:


  • Primary education – 22 interviews
  • Beurtvaart – 19 interviews
  • Forced labour – 31 interviews
  • Immigration – 10 interviews
  • Children’s broadcasting – 21 interviews
  • Recreation – 8 interviews
  • Roman Catholic Church – 10 interviews
  • Ferry service – 6 interviews
  • Flax – 8 interviews
  • Flood disaster – 197 interviews
  • South Moluccans – 19 interviews

Kees Slager wrote several books based on oral history:

Landarbeiders (1981), hertiteld tot Armoede treedt binnen, levensverhalen van landarbeiders

auteur: Kees Slager

ISBN: 9789076815206


This book tells the story of an occupational group that is now extinct but for centuries formed the largest in the Netherlands: the agricultural workers. Poorly paid and treated by farmers, they traditionally stumbled behind the rear ranks of the proletariat. Until – in the 1950s – machines began to take over their work. Barely 20 years later, they had become redundant and there was hardly a farm worker left.


De ramp, een reconstructie, 1992

auteur: Kees Slager

ISBN: 9789046707968

(op basis van interviews met ruim 200 mensen)


What happened on the night of 31 January to 1 February 1953, when large parts of our country flooded as a result of an unprecedented spring tide.

On the night of 31 January to 1 February 1953, the Netherlands was hit by one of the biggest natural disasters in its history. A spring tide combined with a severe north-westerly storm flooded Zeeland and parts of North Brabant and South Holland. 1,836 people and tens of thousands of animals drowned, 4,500 houses and buildings were destroyed and 200,000 hectares of land were flooded. Kees Slager did extensive research in archives and spoke to over 250 eyewitnesses for The Disaster. The result is a gripping and revealing account of what happened hour by hour and place by place during those fateful days in the winter of 1953.


Zeven Zeeuwse vrouwen, 1995

auteur: Kees Slager

ISBN: 9789072138491


In this book, seven women from Zeeland, ranging in age from seventy to eighty, tell the story of their own lives in a penetrating way.

They are all very ordinary women; most of them grew up in families of labourers and middlemen and none of them attended secondary school. But they are women to whom life has not passed unnoticed. They have been scarred and sometimes bruised by it, but they have not succumbed to it. Most have become strong and militant because of it. They have dared to tell the many emotional and harrowing, but sometimes joyful and endearing moments of their lives honestly and openly. As a result, these ‘ordinary’ women grow into extraordinary women in their self-portraits.



Visser verhalen over hun leven in de delta, 1990

auteur: Kees Slager, Paul de Schipper

ISBN: 9789072138088

(op basis van interviews met 60 vissers)


This book is about the fishermen of the south-western Delta region in the first half of the last century. About the men who tried to earn a living on the Oosterschelde and Westerschelde, Grevelingen, Hollands Diep and on the coastal waters of the North Sea with their longboats and studs, their blowers and lemmer yachts. Sailing, they were hunting for shrimp and flatfish, oyster spawn and mussel seed. But also about their wives who worked in mussel sheds and oyster pits, lugging heavy baskets of fish and also spending many lonely hours at home.



En m’n zuster die heet Kee

Author: Kees Slager
Publisher: Boer, Den / De Ruiter
ISBN: 9789079875351


This book contains thirty-three self-portraits of the last Borsel farmer’s wives, women who spent their lives wearing the beautiful regional costume.They not only tell about lace hats and golden earrings, but with their life stories they give an insight into the position of women in the Zeeland countryside in the first half of the 20th century. This is a book of harsh stories about poverty and hard work in the fields or in the household, about marrying early and having children quickly. Stories of a time and a region without water supply, electricity and cars, a time of cycling and walking along muddy polder roads and windy dykes to school and work. This is also a book of happy tales of old-fashioned villages full of shops and conviviality, of the feast of the annual fair and summer evenings on the dyke with knitting and chatting neighbours. Thirty-three life stories. Not spectacular perhaps, but warmly human, engaging and poignant. ‘An impressive portrait of peasant life on South Beveland in the first half of the last century. An exemplary book’ (PZC)

Battalion Zeeland

Bevrijdingsmuseum Zeeland
Time period: 1940-1949
Number of interviews: 8
Accessibility: Not available for public use (yet)
Transcripts: unknown
Period of interviews: 2020-2021

Interviewer(s): Fifi Visser (Studio Haak & Visser)
Language: Dutch
Additions expected: Yes, dynamic collection
Media: Digital video files (MP4)


Access: The collection is not (yet) available for public use. If interested, please contact Bevrijdingsmuseum Zeeland.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1920 – 2021 with an emphasis on 1940 – 1949. They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II/Japanese time, Indonesian revolution , personal memories, motivation for signing for the domestic combat groups, influence on daily life, casualties, (criticism of) the government there and here, difference in rank and file, KNIL, reflecting on what was right and wrong, patrols, Indonesian girlfriends (relationships), shelling.


The Liberation Museum Zeeland considers it important to draw attention to the Second World War and Indonesian War of Independence in Indonesia. Many young men from Zeeland volunteered for military service after the liberation of the southwestern Netherlands and
volunteered for military service and left for Indonesia. In 2020, to complement the interviews on the Second World War in Zeeland, eight veterans were interviewed from Battalion Zeeland as part of ’75 years of freedom’ with funding from the Mondriaan Fund. The main question was: How did you come to sign up and what have been your experiences as part of Battalion Zeeland? The following questions were addressed in the interviews: How did you personally feel about having to go to Indonesia? What did you experience? How did you view the political situation?
What was it like coming home and how were you received? Do you have a message for the youth? The aim of the interviews was to capture the story of rural youth in Zeeland who sign up for military service. The interviews were conducted for the benefit of the Liberation Museum Zeeland’s permanent exhibition and film material for Omroep Zeeland to reach a wider audience.
The filmmaker/interviewer was briefed on the key questions and then decided for himself which topics received more or less attention. Video documents of the interviewees can be found in the Liberation Museum Zeeland’s collection. This collection is currently being digitised. The interviews have been made into eight items for Omroep Zeeland, each about 10 minutes long, available on
YouTube under the name Battalion Zeeland. Several short fragments for each interviewee have also been included in the Bevrijdingsmuseum Zeeland’s permanent exhibition.


Example item Omroep Zeeland:


Flood disaster 1953

Stichting Film en Wetenschap
Time period: 1953


Collection former Stichting Film en Wetenschap


Interviewers: student groups
Number of interviews: 180

Sound carrier: 297 cassette tapes
Type of interview(s): scientific
Production date: 1990-92

Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcription: A brief summary is available of 100 interviews

The interviews relating to the 1953 flood were conducted as part of an oral history project by several groups of students from the Documentation Centre for Contemporary History (DNG) of the University of Amsterdam in 1990-92. Many of the interviewees were direct victims of the disaster, others were related to it as relief workers, administrators etcetera. 
The entire project was led by Dr Selma Leydesdorff. She used the interviews in her book Het water en de herinnering. De Zeeuwse watersnoodramp 1953-1993 (met een fotoreportage van Ed van Wijk), Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1993.


1953, the story

Time period: 1953
Number of interviews: >300
Accessibility: YouTube
Transcripts: unknown

After the 50th anniversary of the flood disaster, which left so many scars on Texel, in Zeeland, North Brabant and South Holland, renewed attention is being paid to the stories of the eyewitnesses.


Former director of the Watersnoodmuseum, Jaap Schoof – himself an eyewitness – has set up the project ‘Oral History, 1953 the story’. Schoof speaks with victims, rescuers and relief workers. Although the project officially ended in November 2013, stories are still coming in. The archive now contains more than 300 interviews and 500 written memories.


The aim of the project: to unlock, collect and permanently preserve the written, audio and/or video recordings of (un)known stories from or about the flood disaster.


See in particular the oral history project in the 1990s by Selma Leydesdorff



The stories of and after February 1, 1953, by victims, relief workers and others directly involved in the flood disaster that left so many scars on Texel, in Zeeland, North Brabant and South Holland.