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The beet men

West-Vlamingen in de bietenteelt

Eric Pertz en André van de Vijver, Les Godverdommes sont là, televisiedocumentie, BRTN, 1992

Koekelare municipality owns the film, along with the unused footage (5 hours)




The BRTN made a socio-historical documentary about Flemish seasonal workers in France. Among them were several Koekelarenaars. They went to the French beet fields to earn a living. Not for nothing were these people known to French farmers as “les godverdommes” because they were hard workers. The film dives into the past and puts the seasonal workers at work setting and lifting the beets as it was done then. One sees their living quarters, their ups and downs and hears testimonies. Someone who can always be found among the “Fransmans” is pastor Joris De Jaeger. The film can be viewed at the Fransmans Museum.

From ’79, Eric Pertz was a producer at the science (culture) department of the BRT. Within the science service, he made numerous historical documentaries with a particular focus on ‘oral history’.


This film is entitled “De bietenmannen. Les godverdommes sont là”. The film is a co-production of the BRTN and the municipality of Koekelare. The film shows footage of Koekelare, Tourcoing, the border region and work in the beet fields in the Reims region. It is a socio-historical documentary. Residents of Koekelare testify about this hard work.