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Oldambster agricultural female labourer

In de schuur bijgetimmerde bedsteden, gevuld met stro en een deken. Zaten dikwijls vol met ongedierte als vlooien en muizen (De Lethe, plm. 1900)

We hadden geen keus – interviews met landarbeidsters uit het Oldambt, 1920-1940

Amarens Hibma, Wiebe Hoekstra, Tilly Uil
Publisher: Wolters-Noordhoff, 1987
ISBN: 9789062430703


Nieuwsblad van het Noorden – 1987

In the (Northern) Dutch countryside, agricultural labourers worked from the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century in the Oldambt, that East Groningen clay area that had been emerging from the Dollard bit by bit since the late Middle Ages.


The Oldambtster farmers were prosperous. First, because they constantly acquired new reclaimed marshes through the right of uplift. In the middle of the last century, the Oldambtster arable farmers became gentlemen farmers. However, their servants remained deprived of wealth. The distance between farmer and servant was reinforced by the fact that the staff was tucked away in the back house or lived outside the farmyard. An arable proletariat emerged that managed to overcome its plight situation with the help of major strikes in 1901, 1906, 1919 and 1929.


The social history of Oldambt is widely known but the specific almost feudal-dependent role of women in it long remained underexposed. The booklet “We had no choice” brings that Oldambt woman worker into the limelight. The compilers interviewed 56 very elderly female workers.