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The inhabitants of Den Dungen during World War Two

Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum
Time period: 1939-1945
Number of interviews: ≥40
Accessibility: partially accessible in the archives
Transcripts: unknown
Period of interviews: 1987-1989

About forty residents of Den Dungen speak bout their experiences during World War II. Several people were interviewed, both resistance members and “ordinary” people.


In Den Dungen, more than 2,000 gliders flew over the village in September 1944. From September 17 to 26, 1944, the Allies wanted to create a bridgehead across the major rivers in the Netherlands with a major offensive (operation “Market Garden”). In a lightning-fast attack, airborne troops had to secure bridges. Ground troops then had to advance from Belgium across these bridges to the IJsselmeer. Three complete divisions were dropped: the 101st US Airborne Division at Eindhoven and Veghel, the 82nd US Airborne Division at Grave and Groesbeek and the 1st British Airborne Division at Arnhem and Oosterbeek. With the Americans, everything went fairly well. The bridges over the Maas and Maas-Waal Canal near Heumen and most of the bridges near Eindboven fell into their hands and after hard fighting also the Waal Bridge near Nijmegen. But the Rhine Bridge at Arnhem proved to be a bridge too far. The British paratroopers were surprised by German armored troops and had to retreat into the Betuwe under heavy losses.


During this massive operation, nearly 800 gliders landed on Brabant soil. In this province, the Den Dungen-Vught-Den Bosch triangle (codenamed ‘Ellis’) was a target for all towing and gliding aircraft. From here they flew to the landing sites.

The Trommelaeren of Roesendaele (1950-1969)

West-Brabants Archief
Time period: 1950-1969
Number of interviews: 31
Accessibility: in the archives
Transcripts: partial
Period of interviews: 1983-1988

The interviews can be found under the numbers AC015-AC045 within the collection C.J. Heeren. The following can be found here within roo – 0260 Geluidsopnamen Roosendaal, 1936-heden

Medium: cassettes

Title: De Trommelaeren van Roesendaele: een sociaal-cultureel beeld van de jaren vijftig en zestig

Author: Cees Heeren

Publisher: Gemeentearchief Roosendaal, Roosendaal, 1990

ISBN: 9789073080041

Between 1983-1988, Cees Heeren interviewed several people from Roosendaal for the purpose of his book De Trommelaeren van Roesendaele: een sociaal-cultureel beeld van de jaren vijftig en 60. The interviews covered the 1950s and 1960s. These 31 interviews are stored in the West Brabant Archives.


You may find a video of the Trommelaeren from the 60s here.

Diplomatic Witnesses

Amerikaanse Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken , dr. Henry Kissinger brengt bezoek aan Nederland; aankomst Schiphol, Kissinger en Van der Stoel / 11 augustus 1976 - Fotocollectie Anefo - Nationaal Archief
Huygens instituut
Number of interviews: 40
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 2021-2023

90 interviews with 40 interviewees

Diplomatic Witnesses is an oral history project, which aims to assemble a collection of interviews with retired Dutch diplomats. These oral histories will be made available in a purpose-built online environment in both text-based an audiovisual format. We aim to create a new primary source collection that will provide researchers with unique insights into the formation and execution of Dutch foreign policy, as told by eye-witnesses and participants.


Our primary focus will be on collecting oral histories connected to key historical events in the last thirty years, a period that saw the Netherlands engage in repeated moments of soul-searching

The sharp ideological contrasts that defined the international landscape of the Cold War, and anchored Dutch foreign policy within it, faded after the fall of the Berlin Wall. European integration accelerated with the conclusion of the Maastricht Treaty (1992) and the formation of the Euro, but did not always evolve in a direction the Netherlands might have wished – as evinced by the referendum that rejected the European constitution in 2005. Atlantic cooperation remained the pivot of Dutch security policy, but the nature of the Dutch-American came under close political scrutiny in the leadup to the invasion of Iraq. New international issues, from terrorism and ‘failed states’ to climate change and migration, came to define the political agenda.


These developments also profoundly affected the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The internationalisation of an ever-greater range of policy questions broadened and complicated its remit of responsibilities. At the same time, the ministry’s position within the Dutch government was called into question, leading to consistent calls the Dutch diplomatic service to be ‘modernised’ and brought into line with contemporary ideas on public governance.


By collecting the oral histories of those directly involved in these events, this project will generate new openings for the study of Dutch foreign policy, and of the Dutch diplomatic service as an institution. To enhance the accessibility of these interviews, the department for Digital Data Management and Digital Infrastructure (DI) will support the project by developing automatic processes for the recognition of named entities, such as people and places. DI will also develop the online environment in which users will be able to study and listen to the oral histories.


The end result is website where you can watch the video recordings of the interviews together with automatically generated (but manually controlled) transcripts and subtitles. Moreover, it is possible, via search functions, to search through the total corpus of interviews for interview fragments dealing with a single topic or country. In short, an innovative oral history project that uses the latest digital techniques and will thus be very useful for future researchers and for educational and training purposes.


VPRO / H.J.A. Hofland, Hans Verhagen, Sytze van der Zee
Time period: 1938-1948
Number of interviews: 24
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1974

In DAAN, the digital archive Sound & Vision the interviews and other material can be found with the search terms “Vastberaden maar soepel en met mate”

Medium: 28 sound tapes

Vastberaden maar soepel en met mate, 1938-1948. Herinneringen aan Nederland

Auteurs : H.J.A, Hofland, Hans Keller / Hans Verhagen

Uitgever : Atlas Contact B.V., 1976
ISBN : 9789025420376

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

A historiography of the Netherlands from 1938 through 1948 based on interviews with mostly ordinary people about the crisis years, the brief revival from 1938, WWII and the decolonization of Indonesia interspersed with archival material including feature film and sound clips.

Beginning in the 1970s, there was a shift in perspective on WWII. It was no longer good to beat oneself up and only point the accusing finger at the collaborator, the Nazi or the criminal.


This change was reflected in the 1974 VPRO documentary. The emphasis was on the failure of the authorities and the mental kinship of collaborators and “ordinary” citizens. The story is an “anti-epic” of confusion, self-interest, doubt, helplessness and absurdity.


The interviews were made for the VPRO production Vastberaden, maar soepel en met mate. Memories of the Netherlands 1938-1948, by H.J.A. Hofland, Hans Keller and Hans Verhagen. Television broadcast took place on October 15, 1974 (2 hours 55 min.). An edited version was broadcast on June 29, 1977 and repeated on August 27, 1989.


The interviewees recount their memories of the last prewar years, World War II and the first postwar period from the different positions they held at the time. Sometimes they are authorities such as the politicians Burger and Schermerhorn, the historian Bouman, the communist resistance fighter Gortzak and also the press chief of Reichskommissar Seyss-Inquart, Willi Janke. In addition, however, several “ordinary people” are featured, on whose history in and around the war the producers especially wanted to emphasize. Examples include the Amsterdam-based Mrs. de Bruin and her friend, the resistance fighter De Graaf, the NSB member J.B. and the German soldiers stationed in the Netherlands during the occupation. Rasterhof, Van der Schaaf, Scheps and Slui give their views on the so-called Schokking affair. Mr. F.M.A. Schokking was mayor of Hazerswoude during wartime and played a role in the arrest of the Jewish family Pino. After the war, he became mayor of The Hague until the affair was brought up and forced him to resign. At Slui’s house, the Pino’s had been in hiding for some time during the war.


Most of the interviews were conducted by Hans Verhagen. Sytze van der Zee also participated in the interview with Willi Janke. The interview with Van Walsum – ultimately not included in the documentary – was conducted by Henk Hofland.


Chris Vos made an analysis of the documentary in his article ‘An indifferent history? The significance of the VPRO documentary Vastberaden, maar soepel en met mate for Dutch audiovisual historiography’, in: Yearbook of Media History 5, Amsterdam: Stichting Mediageschiedenis/Stichting beheer IISG, 1993, pp. 227-260. He did the same in his dissertation Television and Occupation. A study of the documentary representation of World War II in the Netherlands, Hilversum: Verloren, 1995, pp. 128-153.


In 1989 the documentary was repeated as part of the VPRO series TVTOEN. or: How Dutch Television Writes History. There the makers talked about the making of the film, their underlying ideas, the Schokking affair and about (former prime minister) de Quay refusing an interview.


The following were interviewed:

Henriette de Beaufort
H. Blok, Hoogovens, about the crisis years: the relationship between rich and poor; the provision of work; the injustice towards the common man
Mrs. de Bruin and Mrs. Anchelon, about the Germans in Amsterdam, who drove through the Kinkerstraat after only four days of war and about their irritation about the German language, which they kept afterwards
Prof. Dr. P.J. Bouman, former professor of history, about meetings, among others in Woudschoten, for the foundation of a broad people’s party, its elitist character, the search for new terminologies; Mussert’s role
J.A.W. Burger, about his work and political interest at the time
Henk Gortzak
Willi Janke, former journalist, on his work as a German press correspondent in the Netherlands; internment after the German invasion
J.B. Groningen, former NSB member
Cas de Graaf
Mr. P.J
Mrs. Kruger[s], retired warehouse manager, about the Germans’ good maps and weapons during the invasion
B.J. Kouw, representative from Amsterdam, about working at a young age, the merits during the crisis years
Gerrit Kouwenaar
J. Osten, about the first German soldiers in Scheveningen, after the invasion
L. Rasterhof
S.J. van der Schaaf
Prof. W. Schermerhorn, former prime minister, on the will to establish a broad people’s party; absence of an endangered feeling for Germany among the people
Daan Slui
G.E. van Walsum

Lex van Weren, former musician, on the revival of entertainment life from 1938; absence of fear of German Nazism; his position as trumpeter in the army; the German invasion
J.C. de Wit
J.H. Scheps
Mr. Kwiet
2 (anonymous) German soldiers
H.W. Speet, farmer, about the German invasion near ‘s Heerenberg
4 other ‘border residents

Dutch East Indies

Dick Verkijk
Number of interviews: 24 (27 people)
Accessibility: restricted
Transcripts: summary
Period of interviews: 1971

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:


DAAN, the digital archive of Sound & Vision does contain the following item: De repatriëring. Een eind en een begin 01-01-1950

Medium: 5 audio tapes

Japan’s capitulation marked the end of World War II, but also the beginning of the mass exodus of people with Dutch citizenship from the Dutch East Indies.


Some 100,000 Dutch Indians (both of European and European-Asian descent) arrived in the Netherlands on ships in the first years after the war. They came to recover from the hardships of war, internment camps and violence during the struggle for independence, which had erupted immediately after the Japanese surrender.


The series of interviews involves mostly short conversations (ranging from four to 40 minutes) with Dutch East Indies people. They discuss their arrival in the Netherlands and their assimilation into Dutch society. The material was used for an NOS radio program, broadcast in March 1971.


Interviewer(s): Dick Verkijk



Ms. van Bamiset, Mr. Bochove, Mr. Corsmit, Mr. Doeff, Fermin February, Mr. Hakker, Mr. and Mrs. Heering, ir. van Helsdingen, Mr. and Mrs. Jans, Dr. Kraak, Prof. Dr. van Lier, Ms. Nicola, Mr. Oort, K. Pavilcek, father and son Pietersz, Mr. Pratacik, Coen Pronk, Mr. de Riemer, Mr. Robinson, drs. H. Ruiter, ir. J. Sluyters, prof. dr. J.D. Spekman, mr. and mrs. Tielman, ir. de Vries




East to West

UvA / Theo Stevens
Time period: 1942-1963
Number of interviews: 27
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1992-1995

KITLV / UB Leiden




Het materiaal kan worden aangevraagd via de online catalogus van UB Leiden. De opnames zijn te beluisteren in de Leeszaal Bijzondere Collecties.

Medium: cassettebandjes

Archive and inventory no: D H 1565. The cassette tapes have been transferred to the AV collection of the KITLV.


The interviews are part of the working material resulting from the curriculum at the UvA on the history of the former Dutch East Indies led by Theo Stevens. P. Schuurmans was allowed to use these interviews for her doctoral thesis Adapting to Holland. The collection consists of the research material belonging to Schuurmans’ thesis.

Besides transcripts of several interviews, the collection also contains a notebook with notes and completed survey forms.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1942 – 1963.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II,
Indonesian revolution, migration, repatriation.


Publications linked to the collection: Schuurmans, P. (2002). Adapting to Holland: research
on Indonesian Dutch and their experience of repatriation 1950-1963 [Doctoral thesis]. University
of Amsterdam.

Repatriated citizens former Dutch East Indies

Aankomst Johan van Oldenbarneveldt met repatrianten in Amsterdam
NIOD / Stichting Onderzoek Terugkeer en Opvang (SOTO)
Time period: 1946-1952
Number of interviews: 29
Accessibility: restricted public
Transcripts: Comprehensive summaries/reports arranged chronologically by theme or period
Period of interviews: 1999

link to collection


Follow the link.

Click on:


3. Egodocumenten

  3.2 Interviews

   45 Uitgewerkte interviews over de ervaringen van burgers die gerepatrieerd zijn vanuit Nederlands-Indië, 1999.


De collectie is slechts raadpleegbaar na verkregen schriftelijke toestemming van de directeur van het NIOD.


Stichting Onderzoek Terugkeer en Opvang (SOTO)

NIOD 889, inventory numbers 45, 48-51, 72


The interviews are part of a study into the experiences of citizens from the former Dutch East Indies on return and reception in the Netherlands in the period 1946 – 1952.

The Foundation for Research on Return and Reception (SOTO) was set up in the summer of 1998 at the invitation of the Cabinet. The aim was to test the hitherto prevalent view that the reception of victims of the Second World War was cold and bureaucratic.

The interview collection consists of 29 interviews. The interviewees were selected on geographical distribution, different social and ethnic backgrounds, age at the time of repatriation, period of repatriation and gender.


The research resulted in an exhibition.
Return and reception after World War II, the educational project Thinking of Holland and
four publications.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1900 – 1999, with an emphasis on the period 1942 – 1960. They mainly discuss Indonesia, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Thailand, the Netherlands and Japan. Themes include connection to the former Dutch East Indies, family history, daily life, Japanese occupation, World War II, Internment Camp, liberation, Red Cross, Rapwi, NICA, evacuation from camps, family reunification, reception, aid organisations, repatriation, migration, Ataka, reception address, reception in the Netherlands, medical care, education, aftermath, processing, KJBB, Pelita, WUV, WUBO, retrospective, role employer evacuation, BPM, KNIL, KPM, social career.



Bossenbroek, M. (2001). De meelstreep. Terugkeer en opvang na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Bert Bakker.

Piersma, H. (Ed.). (2001). Mensenheugenis. Terugkeer en opvang na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Getuigenissen.
Bert Bakker, Stichting onderzoek terugkeer en opvang.

Kristel, C. (Ed.). (2002a). Binnenskamers. Terugkeer en opvang na de Tweede Wereldoorlog: besluitvorming.
Bert Bakker.
Kristel, C. (Ed.). (2002b). Polderschouw. Terugkeer en opvang na de Tweede Wereldoorlog: regionale
verschillen. Bert Bakker.

Our Dutch Indies for the Indonesians

Jan Bosdriesz
Time period: 1940-1950
Number of interviews: 42
Accessibility: restricted public
Transcripts: 19 of 42 available
Period of interviews: 1983-1984

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: the documentary in five parts “Ons Indië” voor de Indonesiërs 25-11-1984 NOS

Medium: 120 audiotapes

Interviews with Indonesian Dutch, Japanese who played a role during the occupation, officers and other military personnel (British Army, British-Indies Army, Dutch Army, KNIL), Indonesian nationalists and Dutch administration officials.


The interviews were conducted for the purpose of Bosdriesz’ (16mm) film Ons Indië voor de Indonesiërs. This film was broadcast as a television series by NOS in 1984. The makers’ aim was to capture the decisive developments in the Indonesian struggle for independence by recording the positions and experiences of the interviewees. The focus was on the period of World War II and the year after. The interviews were then also used for a book.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1940s – 1950s. They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include Indonesian struggle for independence, World War II, Japanese occupation, Westerling’s Coup, transfer of sovereignty, internment, independence, governance vacuum, authority vacuum, Hatta, Soekarno, Van Mook, Spoor, Westerling, federalists, nationalists, diplomatic consultations.


From various perspectives, the inviewer’s book Ons Indië voor de Indonesiërs de oorlog, de chaos, de vrijheid describes the disengagement process of the colony of the East Indies. A mixture of experiences and opinions, Japanese, English, Javanese, Dutch, these create a good picture of the historical course of events.



Title: Ons Indië voor de Indonesiërs de oorlog, de chaos, de vrijheid

Author: Jan Bosdriesz, Gerard Soeteman, C. van Heekeren, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting
ISBN: 9789061354017
Year: 1985

Postwar Moluccan period Schattenberg 1951 – 1971

Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork
Time period: 1930-present
Number of interviews: 50
Accessibility: Limited public - on-site listening
Transcripts: Partly
Period of interviews: 2000-present

The use of the interviews for research and educational purposes requires prior permission from the Camp Westerbork Memorial Center. Transcripts can be sent to you. The interviews can only be listened to on location.

Abuys, G., Martín, J., & Mulder, D. (2011). Molukkers in kamp Westerbork:
het verhaal van woonoord Schattenberg 1951 – 1971. Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork

The main questions for the interviews with former Moluccan residents are: What was daily life like before World War II? How did you experience the migration? How did you experience your time in residential Schattenberg. What was daily life like? How did you experience moving to the neighborhoods? Some of the interviews include ego documents and photographs.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1930s – present.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, migration, reception in the Netherlands, daily life in Schattenberg residential area, upbringing, Moluccan neighborhoods, education, food, religion, Dutch culture.


Moluccans in Camp Westerbork is a beautiful reading and viewing book with over 300 photographs, documents and drawings. It provides a fascinating picture of a Moluccan world on the Drenthe heath. Numerous former residents, both Moluccans and resident staff, speak out and recount daily life in the camp. Bystanders also talk about their contacts with another culture. For most of those involved, Schattenberg residential camp was an unforgettable experience, which they remember with warmth and often nostalgia. On March 22, 1951, the first Moluccan families arrived at the former Westerbork transit camp. These former KNIL soldiers and their families had come to the Netherlands from the former Dutch East Indies by order of the Dutch government. The name camp Westerbork was changed to Schattenberg residential facility. Over the years, more than 3,000 Moluccans would come to live there. There was a school, a hospital, a theater, a cinema and a bathhouse. Gradually, many contacts with the Dutch population developed. For example, traders offered their merchandise or opened a store in Schattenberg after the introduction of self-care. The stay in the residential resort was to be temporary. But the promised return to their homeland turned out to be an illusion, and so the Moluccan history of habitation became the longest in the camp. The last Moluccan families did not leave until 1971.

In Search of Silenced Voices

Hersri Setiawan
Time period: 1945-1965
Number of interviews: 50
Transcripts: Not available
Period of interviews: 1992 - 1998
Medium: Digital audio files (WAV)

Archive manager: International Institute of Social History (IISH), also at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
Language: Indonesian
Database/inventory: Inventory list with names and other metadata

The collection was recorded in the late 1990s. Hersri Setiawan, himself a political prisoner (tapol) from 1969 to 1978 in Jakarta and on the island of Buru, conducted the interviews in various countries in Europe and Asia. The aim was to collect individual life stories of Indonesian political emigrants who still live or were living in Western Europe, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. The interviews explore their activities as part of the Indonesian left-wing intelligentsia before 30 September 1965 and their lives after 1965 outside Indonesia. The project was supervised by Henk Schulte Nordholt and Willem van Schendel and funded by the Ford Foundation. In addition to the interviews, a large number of ego documents were collected including memoirs, reports and letters from or about Institute of People’s Culture (LEKRA), the trade union movement and the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), among others.