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Dutch Indies and Moluccan patients of sanatoria

Renkum, Oranje Nassau's Oord 1930-1932 - Gelders Archief: nr. 1513 - 723, Boekhandel Joppe

Podcast series on Dutch Indies residents of sanatorium Oranje Nassau Oord in Wageningen

About ‘Black Sinterklaas’ and caring for returnees with tuberculosis

The podcast focuses on how Indonesian and Moluccan Dutch with tuberculosis were received and cared for in the Netherlands and how they experienced their stay in the sanatorium. The focus is on events in the late 1950s at Oranje Nassau’s Oord (O.N.O.), a sanatorium for lung sufferers in the municipality of Wageningen.

The podcast series touches on current themes. For instance, it focuses on a highly contagious, deadly disease (tuberculosis) for which patients had to live in quarantine or isolation. It also deals with the reception of tens of thousands of displaced people who had to be given shelter at short notice. All this happened at a time of very high housing shortage. The podcast passes by solutions that The Hague came up with for these problems at the time.

The creator of the podcast series is historian Anton van Renssen. The reason for making the podcast series are some documents he discovered in his mother’s archive. She worked as a social worker for the municipality of Wageningen from 1957 to 1959. Her main task was counselling Indonesian and Moluccan Dutch people in Oranje Nassau Oord. In her archive is a notebook with names of people she visited to help. This list of names served as a starting point for the search for former patients and their relatives. That search yielded extraordinary stories that can be heard in the podcast.

In the podcast, Van Renssen tells the story based on conversations with, first and foremost, his mother, but also with historians, former O.N.O. nurses, the son of the sanatorium’s spiritual attendant, a Moluccan former patient and a survivor of an East Indies patient. To put the story in context, he did historical research in various archives.