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Children of the colony

Open University Heerlen



Oral history from ‘colonies’ in the Netherlands ‘lets other voices be heard too’


How do inhabitants of the Limburg Mining Region and the Veenkoloniën in Drenthe view the development of their region as a place where energy-bearing minerals were extracted? Some speak of ‘wine regions’. The fact is that both regions went through a difficult transition phase during and after the phasing out of this mineral extraction. With ongoing challenges in terms of employment, liveability and landscape development. How did the mining past of these areas affect the lives of future generations and the towns, villages and landscapes where extraction once took place? And what can we learn from this history for mineral extraction now and in the future, such as gas extraction in Groningen?

Children of the colony is the project by Susan Hogervorst, Wim de Jong and Maurice Paulissen on the impact of the past in the lives of residents or former residents of Dutch ‘mining regions’. Both in Limburg and Drenthe, the researchers will conduct some 30 video interviews with people of several generations, with different experiences and relations to that past and their region. The intention is to make these interview collections permanently accessible to the public and for follow-up research. To this end, several heritage institutions were involved in the project at an early stage, in order to think together about the future storage, findability and usability of the interviews. Apart from interviews, we are also thinking about possible other spoken forms in which people can record their own stories.


Would you like to participate, do you know people who are interested or do you have ideas that could contribute to the project? If so, please email


Veenarbeiders bij Vledderveen (Groningen) in 1905.

Turfstekers poseren tijdens turfwerkzaamheden. Fotoarchief DVHN