We, women

Time period: 1960-present
Number of interviews: 18
Accessibility: by appointment via
Period of interviews: 2022

The struggle for equal status and representation of women and men in Flanders is more than a century old. Great strides have been made, but we are not there yet. Using testimonies and archive footage, the four-part series ‘We, women’ outlines the evolution of the position of women in our society, both privately and in public life.


How have wrong expectations, upbringing, glass ceilings, discrimination, pressure, prejudice or other obstacles made it difficult for women to develop to their full potential in recent decades? For example, in the areas of upbringing, education, marriage, family, sexuality, work and politics. How have they dealt with this? What have action groups, politicians and individual women been able to change? And how do women experience all these obstacles today?


In ‘We, women’, women of all ages and walks of life tell their stories, together with politicians, figureheads of the women’s movement and former ‘Dolle Mina’s’. Their testimonies are illustrated with punishing archive footage. These are at times disconcerting and at other times funny stories about being brought up as a housekeeper, fighting to be allowed to study, the conquest of men’s professions, sexual taboos and men who still think they know better. The four episodes focus successively on sexuality, marriage and family, professional life and politics.


We, women’ uses the tried and tested formula of Children of…: the entire historical and current story is told by committed witnesses who look the viewer straight in the eye.

A surprising look behind the scenes of the struggle for women’s rights. Often stunning archive material that not least puts the sexism of our own public broadcaster on display. And eighteen women who draw you into their stories and leave you with deep respect.

The episodes

Videos can be viewed if you are logged in and have confirmed your Belgian residence or identity


S1 | Afl.1

In charge of your own body

Battle for sexual freedom, from taboo on monthlies to Metoo


S1 | Afl.2

Women must know their place

For decades, women have been brought up to be obedient to men.


S1 | Afl.3

Welcome to the world of men

For a long time, education prepared girls mainly for the household.



S1 | Afl.4

Women in power

Women organised, resisted and conquered their place

Below is an overview of the 18 witnesses – or participants in Canvas’ documentary We, Women – arranged by age.


  • Victoire Van Nuffel (1937): cycling champion and bar owner, openly lesbian at a time when that was anything but obvious.
  • Nelly Maes (1941): politician who fought against sexism in politics and campaigned for women’s rights.
  • Gerlinda Swillen (1942): Dutch teacher and VUB researcher, militant for equal pay for equal work.
  • Ida Dequeeker (1943): emancipation official at VDAB, co-founded the Dolle Mina movement in Flanders and participated in the influential Vrouwen Overleg Komitee.
  • Lieve Flour (1944): administrative assistant in the construction sector, grew up in a stifling traditional environment and overcame a humiliating marriage.
  • Josette Franckson (1946): worker FN Herstal, involved in the legendary women’s strike at that factory in 1966.
  • Margot Roggen (1948): administrative assistant in the insurance sector, often had to fight against male privilege and even overt discrimination as a child and later during her studies and at work.
  • Marie Jeanne Declerq (1950): police commissioner, made a career in the male bastion of the Judicial Police.
  • Liliane Versluys (1951): lawyer and visual artist, engaged in the Leuven refuge and published the controversial book Your Rights as a Woman (1987).
  • Moniek Darge (1952): composer, was active in Dolle Mina and founded Vrouwen Tegen Verkrachting.
  • Kati Couck (1954): ABVV staff member, active with Dolle Mina, founded abortion centre Kollektief Anticonceptie, started Vluchthuis Gent and organised self-defence courses for women.
  • Linda Van Crombruggen (1960): former complaints coordinator VRT, testifies about sexism and sexual harassment in her own home.
  • Khadija Zamouri (1967): politician, distanced herself from her conservative Moroccan Islamic milieu, became politically active with Open VLD, went to work on cabinets and became a Brussels MP.
  • Leyla Yüksel (1971): became a gynaecologist with the full support of her parents and, in her own words, was more bothered by sexism among white doctors than Turkish patriarchs.
  • Wendy Van den Heuvel (1978): administrative clerk and author, her mother was abused by her father. Recently, two male colleagues ambushed her on a dating site and shared her intimate photos. She left the company, but her experience inspired her to write a book.
  • Pinar Akbas (1980): has mixed feelings about her Turkish upbringing, went to college and temporarily entered politics, is currently a nurse and published her autobiography Niran and me this year.
  • Heleen Struyven (1988): worked as a lawyer at reputable firms, but noticed that sexism still exists there too. Yet she kept going for it… until she crashed.
  • Romy Schlimbach (1995): was bullied for her looks in childhood, experienced an eating disorder, an admission and severe depression, but today she is a plus-size model and influencer: body positivity is the alternative she promotes to the stifling beauty ideal.

East Indies in your Soul

Stichting Oorlogsverhalen, Pia Media
Time period: 1930-heden
Number of interviews: 14
Accessibility: beperkt openbaar
Transcripts: samenvattingen beschikbaar
Period of interviews: 2021-2022

Op aanvraag en bij hoge uitzondering kan het ruwe materiaal bekeken worden.


Indië in je Ziel are the personal stories of those who lived through it from the time of the Japanese occupation, and those who know its consequences as spouses, children, grandchildren and, yes, even great-grandchildren. How did the war and the East Indies affect their lives? From then to now. How does this make you feel? And what do you do with it?


Reason for the documentary project Indië in je Ziel was the expected great attention to the Indonesian war of independence in connection with the research results of the research programme Independence, decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945 – 1950 of the Royal Institute of Language, Land and Ethnology (KITLV), the Netherlands Institute for Military History (NIMH) and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

The War Stories Foundation wanted to start a project in which the violence of that time is given a place in personal testimonies. Main questions are: How did the war and the East Indies affect your life? How does it make you feel? And what do you do with it?


War Stories Foundation is still collecting stories to be recorded under the same project name.


Themes include World War II, Japanese occupation, Indonesian revolution, reoccupation, internment camps, prisoners of war, migration, trauma.


Pia Media produced five TV broadcasts for Omroep MAX Indië in je Ziel in 2022 (in the final phase of the project) in which (some of) these interviews were used.


Indië in je Ziel


Five short documentaries by the War Stories Foundation portraying both Dutch East Indies and Indies veterans. It also shows how their experiences continue to have an impact on the second, third and sometimes even fourth generation: they too have the Dutch East Indies in their souls today.

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- )

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.

Zuiderzee project

It is partly a collection of interviews conducted by researchers at the former Social History Centre for Flevoland, which merged with the Nieuw Land Heritage Centre in 2004 and became part of the Batavialand Heritage Park in Lelystad in 2017.


Erfgoedpark Batavialand
Time period: 1975-2021
Number of interviews: 400

Fragmenten via


Interviews cover a wide range of topics: history of the Zuiderzee fishery, the Jewish work village in Wieringermeer, the arrival of residents in the IJsselmeer polders, politics and administration, history of government services in the IJsselmeer polders, history of urban planning and design, agriculture, nature conservation, health care, etc. Erfgoedpark Batavialand also manages interviews conducted by Landschapsbeheer Flevoland with residents of Noordoostpolder and Zeewolde regarding the landscape of the IJsselmeerpolders.

Trauma & Resilience

36 interviews with members of 3 generations from 11 families in the Jewish community in the Netherlands on the impact of the Holocaust in their lives and in their families in terms of resilience, trauma and meaning.

Universiteit voor Humanistiek
Time period: 1930-present
Number of interviews: 36



Dr. Nicole Immler

Dr. Carmen Schuhmann



This project includes 36 interviews with members of 3 generations from 11 families in the Jewish community in the Netherlands about the impact of the Holocaust in their lives and in their families in terms of resilience, trauma and meaning in life. The dataset was completed in January 2018 and will be made available for scientific purposes from 2020 onwards on the condition that the results of the study are published by then.


Description of the research design

This interview collection was collected as part of the research project Trauma & Resilience: Intergenerational Holocaust research from an existential perspective by Dr Carmen Schuhmann (resilience & meaning in life), Dr Nicole Immler (oral history & history) and Dr Wander van der Vaart (methodology), all working at the University for Humanistics in Utrecht.


Description of the interviews
Anonymised designation of families and respondents The project consists of 36 interviews with members of 11 families (A through K) of Dutch Holocaust survivors. In 7 families (A – D and F – H) members of 3 generations were interviewed; in 4 families (E, I, J and K) members of 2 generations. The respondents have been rendered anonymous in the following manner: the first letter (A to K) indicates the family to which the respondent belongs; the indication 1G, 2G or 3G thereafter indicates the generation to which the respondent belongs;[2] for respondents from the first and second generation, the last digit (1 or 2) indicates the number of the respondent of the given family and generation; For respondents from the third generation, of the two numbers at the end (1 or 2) the first number indicates which respondent from the second generation is the parent of this respondent from the third generation, and the second number indicates the number of respondents with this parent.


Schuhmann, dr. C.M. (Universiteit voor Humanistiek); Immler, dr. N. (Universiteit voor Humanistiek) (2018): Trauma & Resilience: Intergenerational Holocaust research from an existential perspective. DANS.