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Oral history archive Jordaan

Riek Volkers-Van der Hoek na de voorstelling Verhalen van water, werk en leven, 18 december 1988 in het Open Haven Museum dat was gevestigd in Passagiersterminal van de Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Maatschappij (KNSM). Foto: Theo Veenboer


Around 1985, Mieke Krijger made audio and film recordings about people whose lives are not well known. These are recordings of elderly people from Amsterdam’s working-class neighbourhoods, particularly the Jordaan, who were born and grew up around 1900. They grew up with a generation born around 1875 and even before that.

Special in the stories recorded are the subjects from everyday life, about living conditions and living conditions.

The events during the potato riot , a riot in which women played an important role, are also discussed.


President of the Jordaan Museum, Mieke Krijger, made a montage of one of the interviewees: Tante Riek Volkers (1897-1993) tells.

Riek Volkers recounts the circumstances in which she grew up and events during the potato riot (1917) she witnessed. She narrates with topical urgency and wit, as if talking about yesterday’s day. Although this family did not appeal to the urban poor, they repeatedly lived over the edge of starvation.

For this film, additional archival research was done on the living conditions, disease histories, etc. of the family she grew up in. Contact was also made with people who played a role in her life, such as her family doctor and local residents.

Riek Volkers-Van der Hoek’s grandson was willing to talk about his memories of his grandmother using photos from the family archive.


The film was shown on 30 April 2023 in the Jordaan at a well-attended gathering with many concerned questions.


12-06-1984 VARA

Digital carriers: 1x WAV

Analogue carriers: 1x Magnetic tape

Programme, from an idea by Mieke Krijger, on the potato riot of 1917 and the women’s struggle during World War I in Amsterdam, this was the period of struggle of bourgeois women for suffrage and for right to work, and the struggle of working-class women for food and better working conditions. With newspaper reports read aloud and personal recollections by Brecht van den Muijzenberg-Willemse (communist) and the Amsterdam couples Gortzak and Huyben, who lived in the Jordaan and on the Eilanden at the time. Their parents were directly involved in actions.