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The history of the Turkish and Moroccan women’s movement in 40 stories


In 1975, the first Turkish women’s association was founded in the Netherlands, the HTKB (Hollanda Türkiye Kadinlar Birligi). The first Moroccan women’s association MVVN (Marokkaanse Vrouwen Vereniging Nederland) followed in 1982. Both national organisations campaigned for equal rights. In 1987, together with other organisations, they founded the Komitee Zelfstandig Verblijfsrecht voor migrant women, which began a long struggle to get migrant women’s dependent residence rights off the table. Other key concerns were fighting prejudice and stereotypes about foreign women and standing up for the right to education. The organisations also organised language classes and thematic meetings for women.


Self-organisations received (modest) subsidies from the state and municipalities in the 1980s and 1990s. Later, the (state) subsidies were deemed undesirable because they would hinder integration. This made their continued existence difficult. The HTKB was eventually disbanded in 1995. Its main tasks were taken over by the Amsterdam branch. The MVVN still officially exists, but is not very active. This is not to say that Turkish and Moroccan women no longer unite. In many multicultural neighbourhoods in the Netherlands, there are organisations of women who voluntarily work to improve the quality of life in their neighbourhoods, offer support to people who are struggling and organise numerous thematic meetings.


With the project the History of the Turkish and Moroccan women’s movement in 40 stories, the BMP foundation/ the Hub ‘Sprekende geschiedenis’ aims to:


Conduct 40 oral history interviews with women who are (have been) involved in the Turkish and Moroccan women’s movement over the past 47 years.
Work with them to create a digital exhibition and organise a live programme to present this history in neighbourhoods and districts to a diverse audience.
Develop educational activities to engage wider local and national audiences with the stories and history of Turkish and Moroccan women in the Netherlands.

The project started in June 2023 with a preparatory phase in which a literature review is conducted, pilot interviews are held and a Steering Committee for the project is formed. The total duration of the project is one and a half years.