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.


Sound and vision, Hedda van Gennep
Time period: 1850-1918
Number of interviews: 63
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: summaries
Period of interviews: 1976-1977


These interviews were made by Hedda van Gennep in 1976 and early 1977 for the nine-part VARA television series (on 16mm film) Voorwaarts en niet vergeten, broadcast between 11 January and 5 May 1977. The series covers the history of the socialist movement in the Netherlands from 1850-1918, with the last part extending the line to 1976. It lasts a total of 5 hours and 45 min. The start of the series was accompanied in the VARAGids (8 January 1977) by an article on the background to the project, which included interviews with the project’s scientific advisor Johan Frieswijk.
The people with whom the interviews were conducted range from all kinds of ‘nameless’ fighters of the socialist labour movement from all over the country – including some of the workers from Friesland already interviewed for the film on Imke Klaver, such as the Brandsma couple and Douwe de Wit – to children of socialist forerunners of the first hour such as Schaper, Vliegen, Troelstra and Domela Nieuwenhuis. Discussions include: the Railway Strike of 1903; the Seamen’s Strike of 1911; the Potato Revolt of 1917; Troelstra’s revolt attempt in 1918; the Algemene Diamantbewerkers Bond (ANDB) and Henri Polak; women’s suffrage; Wibaut and social housing; the SDAP; the trade union movement, including the NVV and the NAS but also the Catholic and Christian organisations; the CPH and David Wijnkoop; the Social Democratic Union (SDB); the Maast


57 interviewees


  • C. Assink
  • dhr. Bildstra
  • mw. W. Boonstra
  • P. Bos
  • L. Bot (2x)
  • mw. T. Bovens-Corsius (2x)
  • dhr. en mw. Brandsma
  • J. Brinkhuis
  • P. Buys
  • mw. Bijlsma
  • A. Caris
  • Cesar Domela (Nieuwenhuis)
  • ir. A. van Emmenes
  • dhr. en mw. Faber
  • D. Groenendijk
  • mw. Halma
  • J. Hippe (2x)
  • Harm van Houten
  • Y. Joustra
  • D. Kiburg
  • mw. Y. Kootstra van der Veen
  • K. Meijnders
  • Dirk Mozes
  • Ies Mug
  • mw. B. van den Muyzenberg
  • dr. Polak
  • dhr. Prakke
  • J. Pront
  • dhr. en mw. Rietstra
  • mw. J. Roetman
  • Jan de Ronde
  • B. Sajet
  • dhr. van Sandbergen
  • mw. G. Sanders-Mantel
  • prof. Schaper
  • R. Schuur
  • J. Seedelaar
  • mw. Sieverts-Vliegen (2x)
  • dhr. Spicht
  • mw. StapelMiddelbeek
  • M. Steenman
  • mw. D. van Swieten
  • mw. Terpstra
  • W. van Tilburg
  • Jelle Troelstra
  • M. Vaartjes (2x)
  • J. Veldhuisen
  • J. Velema
  • W. Vellinga (2x)
  • A. Verhoeff
  • mw. J. Vos-Duchateau
  • mw. H. de Vries
  • Douwe de Wit
  • dhr. Zwerver

The very last witnesses

Time period: 1914-1918
Number of interviews: 100
Accessibility: by appointment via
Period of interviews: 2009-2010

‘The Very Last Witnesses’ is an interview project in which 100 very elderly Flemings testify on camera about the First World War.

Together, their stories form the big story of the war in Flanders, in all its facets. The war was profound, not only for those who fought and lived at the front.

All these witnesses were children during the war. Some had to flee headlong to the Netherlands, England or France, others lived under the terror of the occupying forces. Some suffered hunger and missed their fathers who fought at the front or had been taken to Germany as prisoners of war….

De allerlaatste getuigen van WO I

Author: Philip Vanoutrive

Publisher:  Lannoo, 2018

ISBN: 9789401456210

Based on this, Philip Vanoutrive published the book “The very last witnesses of WW1”. The stories of 43 witnesses traverse 23 thematic chapters in which their war memories are each interwoven with historical background information. Vividly, they recount their experiences and adventures. Repulsive anecdotes about death and destruction but also touching or funny stories they can still vividly recall. For some, it was a ‘nice and fun’ time – something happened for once! For the other, childhood dreams exploded like an exploding grenade.

The war far away

Werkgroep Overijssel Nederlands-Indië Nieuw-Guinea (WONING)
Time period: 1942-1962
Number of interviews: 51
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: Brief summaries available
Period of interviews: 2012-2013



Beeldmateriaal kan niet direct online aangevraagd worden. Er kan contact opgenomen worden met Collectie Overijssel waarna de interviews op afspraak in de studiezalen te bekijken zijn.


Interviews were prompted by the death of Gerrit ter Haars (Overijssel Dutch East Indies New Guinea Working Group) brother in Indonesia during the Indonesian war of independence and his feeling that Dutch veterans had been wronged.

Both Collection Overijssel (formerly Historical Centre Overijssel) and NIOD facilitated the interviews
facilitated by providing cameras and tapes. The objective was to
generate more attention to this war and all those involved through the publication of a book.
Participants were found through personal networks and snowball sampling.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1942 – 1962.
They mainly discuss Indonesia, the Netherlands and New Guinea. Themes include Second
World War, Indonesian revolution, reoccupation, independence struggle, war volunteers, conscripts, veterans, Darul Islam, TNI.


De oorlog ver weg, 1942-1949
Nederlands-Indie, de Japanse bezetting en de politionele acties

Auteur: Gerrit ter Haar

Uitgever: Gigaboek, Broek op Langedijk, 2013

ISBN: 9789085483755


De oorlog ver weg, 1949-1962

verhalen via interviews van burgers, militairen die de oorlog in Indië hebben meegemaakt

Auteur: Gerrit Ter Haar

Uitgever: Abc Uitgeverij, 2015
ISBN: 9789079859238


Last Eyewitnesses Second World War

Stichting Oorlogsverhalen
Time period: 1940-1945
Number of interviews: 57
Accessibility: on demand
Transcripts: summaries available
Period of interviews: 2019 - present

Upon request and on rare occasions, the raw material can be viewed.


The ‘Last Eyewitnesses of the Second World War’ features survivors who experienced the war first-hand both in the Netherlands and in the then Dutch East Indies, and those for whom the effects during and after the war are felt to this day. They are unique, personal testimonies, filmed and published for and by the War Stories Foundation.


The shortened interviews are public and directly accessible through the War Stories Foundation website.


Pia Media produced five TV broadcasts for broadcaster ONS/Nostalgienet The Last Eyewitnesses of the Second World War in the East Indies in 2022, in which (some of) these interviews were used.






Jewish Amsterdam

Joods Cultureel Kwartier / Philo Bregstein
Time period: 1900-1940
Number of interviews: 72
Accessibility: restricted public
Transcripts: 8 complete, rest summaries
Period of interviews: 1975-1977

Copies of the collection are managed by Jewish Cultural Quarter. The original is managed by Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision.

The interviews were made for Bregstein’s film “In Search of Jewish Amsterdam”, created at the initiative of the City of Amsterdam on the occasion of the city’s 700th anniversary celebrations. Film and interviews cover Jewish Amsterdam up to 1940. The film had its premiere on 29 December 1975 in Amsterdam. It was also broadcast on television by the NCRV on 8 February 1976.

Some of the research was done by Salvador Bloemgarten, who also worked with Bregstein on the screenplay. The film was produced by Jan Vrijman Cineproductie.


The integral film text was later published in the book Op zoek naar Joods Amsterdam / film by Philo Bregstein, Amsterdam: Meulenhoff (film texts), 1981 (partly previously published in Parool and Skoop). At the back (pp.59-76) is a diary Bregstein kept on the preparations and production of the film.


More extensive excerpts from the interviews were included in Herinneringen aan Joods Amsterdam / edited by Philo Bregstein and Salvador Bloemgarten, Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1978 (340 pp). Some additional interviews were conducted in 1977 for this purpose. The book includes a list of ‘narrators’, as well as a list of biographical notes concerning the interviewees.

Memories of the Dutch Indies

Indisch Herinneringscentrum (IHC)
Time period: 1930-1990
Number of interviews: 88
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: partly
Period of interviews: 2012-2018

Part of the collection is housed at DANS


Het project Herinneringen aan Indië is gestart in 2012. Guido Abuys (conservator Westerbork, tevens zoon van één van de geïnterviewden) startte het project als een vrijwilligersproject. Aanleiding voor het project was het werk van Esmeralda Böhm en Guido Abuys in Duitsland in opdracht van de NOS/NTS, waar ze op zoek waren naar mensen die de ‘bersiap’ periode hebben meegemaakt. Er waren weinig verhalen beschikbaar. Dit motiveerde Guido Abuys het interviewproject Herinneringen aan Indië op te zetten. In dit project werden levensverhalen verzameld. Doelstelling was om zo veel mogelijk verhalen te verzamelen van de eerste generatie ‘Indische Nederlanders’ voor hun overlijden.
Hoofdvraag: Hoe heeft u de aanloop naar de Tweede wereldoorlog, de Indonesische onafhankelijkheidsoorlog, de periode daarna en de reis naar Nederland en aankomst in Nederland ervaren? Via de IHC-nieuwsbrief is toentertijd een oproep gedaan, mensen konden zich opgeven om geïnterviewd te worden. De meeste geïnterviewden zijn witte Nederlandse mannen. Er zijn ook enkele Indonesiërs geïnterviewd. In sommige gevallen zijn er objecten gefotografeerd van mensen die geïnterviewd zijn.
Deze zijn in de IHC beeldbank opgenomen en zullen nog herleid worden naar de interviews.


De interviews gaan in op gebeurtenissen en ervaringen in de jaren 1930 – 1990.
Er wordt voornamelijk over Indonesië en Nederland gesproken. Thema’s zijn o.a. het leven voor de Tweede Wereldoorlog, de koloniale samenleving, de Japanse inval, krijgsgevangenschap, de bevrijding, de Indonesische revolutie, repatriëring, aankomst en ontvangst in Nederland.


Beheer: De collectie wordt beheerd door het Indisch Herinneringscentrum (IHC) en is deels ondergebracht bij Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS).
Toegang: De collectie is openbaar. Bij interesse kan materiaal opgevraagd en bekeken worden in het kenniscentrum van het IHC (CC 0.4).






Witnesses & Contemporaries

Getuigen & Tijdgenoten (NIOD, KITLV)
Time period: 1945-1949
Number of interviews: 76, of which 5 group interviews
Accessibility: The collection is not accessible (yet). The collection will be unlocked in 2023.
Transcripts: Abstracts are available. Transcripts of most interviews are available; a report is available of a small number.
Period of interviews: 2017-2022
Medium: Digital audio flies (WAV, MP3, M4A, OGG)

Interviews conducted in local Indonesian languages include a translation into Bahasa Indonesia.

The interviews conducted in Bahasa Indonesia by Fridus Steijlen have been translated into English.


The material is managed by the NIOD. In the near future, the collection will be included at Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS).

Within the research program Independence, decolonization, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950, the Witnesses & Contemporaries project focuses on collecting the experiences of those involved in the Netherlands, Indonesia and other countries. The Witnesses & Contemporaries project aims to build a bridge between people who experienced the period between 1945 and 1950 in Indonesia and researchers.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1945 – 1949.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include Indonesian revolution, KNIL, Darul Islam, Tentara Pelajar, TNI, Royal Navy, veterans, conscription, refusal of command, war criminal, MARVA, VHK, Red Cross, daily life, violence, demarcation line, protection camps, republican camps, Bandung Lautan Api, language, loyalties, eyewitness accounts, positioning, remembering and forgetting.




getuigen en tijdgenoten

February strike Netherlands

Comité Herdenking Februaristaking 1941
Time period: 1941
Number of interviews: 72
Accessibility: Online
Transcripts: Yes
Period of interviews: 1970 - 1980
Medium: originally 99 audiotapes. The tapes were digitised in 2015.

Transcripts: For transcripts, see inv. nos. 31-35 Interviews met voormalige deelnemers aan de Februaristaking. Z.j. 5 boxes of this archive. The transcriptions are sometimes more extensive than the audio material (e.g. for the interview with Simon Korper) indicating that there must have been more audio material and that some tapes were edited.

The February Strike was held during World War II in protest against the many anti-Jewish measures and persecution of Jews. Thousands of workers laid down their work. The strike began on 25 February 1941 in Amsterdam and spread a day later to the Zaanstreek, Haarlem, Velsen, Hilversum and the city of Utrecht and immediate surroundings. It was the first large-scale resistance action against the German occupiers in Europe. Since 1946, the February Strike has been commemorated annually on 25 February on Jonas Daniël Meijerplein in Amsterdam, near Mari Andriessen’s statue “The Dockworker”. The collection includes interviews conducted by Jan Dop, Simon Korper and Gerard Maas, among others, with February strikers.


The Foundation Comité Herdenking Februaristaking 1941 was established in 1990 as a successor to the Februariherdenkingskomité.


Kroniek van de Februari-staking 1941

Author: Gerard Maas

Publisher: Pegasus, Amsterdam, 1961

The interviews were conducted by Jan Dop (1943), (filmmaker who, together with Kees Hin (1936-2020) and Frans van der Staak (died 2001), made the feature film about the February Strike Soldiers without Guns (1985). Jan Dop made some interviews alone, some in collaboration with Simon Korper (1907-1988) and later most with Gerard Maas (Zaandam, 1913 – Amsterdam, 1988) communist, resistance fighter and politician.


Maas wrote about the February strike, a.o. Kroniek van de Februari-staking 1941, Amsterdam, 1961 en 1941 bloeiden de rozen in februari, een korte historische schets, Amsterdam [1985].

Heemkring Landrada and Tesi Samanunga archives

Time period: +/- 1900 tot 2023
Number of interviews: >70
Accessibility: on request in the premises of "Heemkring Landrada" and in the magazine "Tesi Samanunga" with approval board Heemkring Landrada.
Transcripts: Partly (in Dutch/Flemish and dialect)
Period of interviews: 1988 to 2023
Medium: Some interviews on CD - most on cassette tape and videotape

The words “Tesi Samanunga” literally mean “this community” and are taken from a two-line verse found in the evangeliary (gospel book) of Munsterbilzen dating from the ninth century. This evangeliary is currently kept in the library of the Bollandists in Brussels under no. 299.
Of the two lines mentioned, one phrase is in Old Dutch and the other in Latin and reads as follows:
     “Tesi Samanunga vvas edele unde scona”.
     “& omnium virtutum pleniter plena”.


As this phrase is the oldest correctly dateable (1130) remnant of Dutch, we as a local history society are particularly proud to have been able to publish our journal under that name.


This journal regularly features edited interviews conducted by the Heemkring over the past 30 years.