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Boy of the village

Een jongen van het dorp – Honderd jaar Ingen, een dorp in de Betuwe

Chris van Esterik

Bert Bakker, 2003

ISBN: 9789035125995

Villages have always been subject to ongoing change and modernisation. That is a message from Chris van Esterik in Hundred Years of Ingen, once a mundane, yet beautifully dreamy village on the Rhine. How did the village and landscape change between 1900 and 2000. Van Esterik delved into archives and conducted many interviews with residents.


The often romantically glorified 1950s and 1960s are portrayed as turbulent social periods. Small middlemen suddenly began to become successful, and this upward movement undermined established hierarchical structures. People were so afraid of change that reality was inventively obscured by staging small but impressive plays. A house painter, for instance, recalls how he always had to make sure he appeared at well-to-do farmers’ houses in worn overalls. His wife would go round the bills at the end of the year, and she always used an old bicycle. Because, they said, you had to show poverty.

In such descriptions, Van Esterik comes into his own best: he offers social historiography with fascinating examples of oral history.