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The Interbellum

afl. 1: The Mistake of Troelstra


In 1917, things are rumbling across Europe. The Russian Tsar has to step down, in Austria the throne is tottering. Social revolution seems imminent. Things get noisy in the Netherlands too. In starving Amsterdam, the potato riot breaks out. For a while in November 1918, it looked like the wave of revolution would spread to the Netherlands from Russia and Germany. Anxious SDAP leaders think the revolution is imminent and drop their foreman; Orange hysteria does the rest. The revolution fails.

Historical excerpts from and interviews with:

  • police commissioner Voordewind, involved in the shooting in A’dam during the hunger riot
  • Jan de Ronde, of the soldiers’ councils
  • G. van het Reve senior
  • journalist Cor Schilp
  • former Rotterdam SDAP chairman Arie de Zeeuw
  • J. Moor, labourer, then present at the demonstrative SDAP meeting where Troelstra delivered his revolutionary speech
  • old Truth editors Koejemans and Barend Lutheran
  • Martha Molendijk, former chairwoman of the AJC



This episode is about conscientious objection in the years surrounding World War I and just after, the International Anti-Militarist Association (IAMV), Church and Peace, the anti-Fleet Act demonstration, and the confusion surrounding the Spanish Civil War.

Historical excerpts from and interviews with:

  • Wim Wessels, active in the anarchist youth movement and IAMV, conscientious objector
  • Ge Nabrink, member Jongelingen Geheelontoudersbond and IAMV, also wrote brochure on the Scheveningen penal prison,where two conscientious objectors died in 1929
  • Joke Roos, member from the founding of Church and Peace, rejects any form of violence on the basis of the gospel.
  • Wim Jong, active anti-militarist, on the Fleet Act and actions against it
  • Mrs Sirks: speech in 1926 to the Utrechts Dienstweigeringscongres (spoken after by Kiki Amsberg)
  • Nico Busscher, AJC member, on his imprisonment in Scheveningen and the reprisals against his family
  • Bas Roschar, active in IAMV, among other things about canvassing
  • Widow Motz on the conscription of her husband, Rotterdam man Wim Motz
  • Wim Jong and Wim Wessels on the issue of the Spanish Civil War: to fight or not to fight?



The rise of the radio marked a breakthrough in mass entertainment. In 1919, Ir. A. a Steringa Idzerda was the first to experiment with the new medium, providing some trial broadcasts from Utrecht (later The Hague). In 1923, the Hilversumsche Draadloze Omroep took over that task and broadcast on airtime leased by the Nederlandsche Seintoestellen Fabriek on its transmitter in Hilversum.
In this way, the NSF wanted a regular programme to sell more radio sets. The AVRO emerged from the HDO in 1928. By then, it had been joined by the NCRV (1924), KRO and VARA (1925) and the V.P.R.O. (1926). in 1930, government broadcasting time was divided proportionally between the four major broadcasters (minus V.P.R.O.). About these early days of radio and the competition between them, Mr Jaap den Daas (AVRO), Herman Felderhof (AVRO) and Ger Bakker (VARA) tell.
As for the content of the programmes, the main focus is on entertainment, which was seen as the main task of the new medium. Jaap den Daas invented the successful AVRO revue programme ‘De Bonte Dinsdagavondtrein’.

Interviews with:

  • Ir. H. a Steringa Idzerda (HA 17216), broadcasting pioneer in 1919
  • J. Loeber (HA 15004), provided the first broadcast of the HDO in 1923 with his Larens Strijkkwartet.
  • Mr Jaap den Daas, employed by the AVRO from 1928, programme director from 1930, invented the Bonte dinsdagavondtrein.
  • Herman Felderhof, employed by the AVRO from 1929, first on the Radiobode editorial staff, later as a reporter;
  • Ger Bakker, from 1930 assistant editor, later editor-in-chief of the VARA Radiogids;


Music and radio play excerpts from: Bob Scholte, Louis Davids, Johan Buziau, Snip&Snap, Jack Hilton Orkest, Kees Puris, Ome Keesje (Willem van Cappellen), Huib Wouters (= Martin Beversluis, not authentic), Concertgebouw Orchestra olv Willem Mengelberg.



Low wages and arrogant bosses on one side. Increasing awareness among workers on the other. They created a long line of fierce industrial disputes across the country. One of them was the 1929 farm workers’ strike in East Groningen. Together with Jaap Meulenkamp, Kees Slager went back to northeastern Groningen.
Meulenkamp was the son of one of the strike leaders in Finsterwolde, and experienced the strike himself as a small boy. He wrote the booklet: ‘Wie willen boas blieven’, about that strike, the longest agricultural workers’ strike in the national history.
Also interviews with Ms P. Dorenkamp and Mr E. Kolk, who reminisce about the life of farm workers in those days and the strike.

AFL. 5: Wise Parenthood


The New Malthusian League opposed in word and deed the propaganda, especially from denominational quarters, for the big family, which often also resulted in great impoverishment.


Interviews with:

  • Mrs Kuyt, childhood memories of the lack of and taboo on sex education.
  • Ge Nabrink, on lectures for the NMB, on the sale of contraceptives, and on whether the NMB should continue to deal with family planning or also engage in sexual reform.
  • Kees Rijken on how he tried to do family planning himself.
  • Mrs Kuyt, drug depot keeper, on selling drugs and fitting pessaries.
  • Mrs Bierman, also active in the NMB
  • Mrs Roschar, NMB board member



Despite crisis, strikes, monetary devaluation and austerity, in 1932 the Netherlands completed something the whole world looked at with admiration: the Afsluitdijk
‘A nation that lives, builds its future,’ was chiselled into the monument. And who cares about a few protesting fishermen?”
On the completion of the Afsluitdijk (in 1932) and what preceded it.

Interviews with:

  • Jouke Volgers, a fisherman in Enkhuizen, about fishing on the Zuiderzee, about the fishermen’s resistance to the Afsluitdijk, about their fear for the future, about the discovery that eel can also live very well in fresh water and about the Zuiderzee Support Act.
  • Peter Verbiest, dike worker, about the circumstances that led him and others to become dike workers, about life on a working island, about working on the dike, about fights, boozing and women.
  • Jan Nauta, also a dike worker, on his unemployment after completion of the dike and on the establishment of the National Crisis Committee.



In 1929, panic breaks out at the New York Stock Exchange, which will lead to a global crisis. The effects are also felt in the Netherlands. In the 1930s, the Netherlands has an average of about half a million unemployed, many of whom receive no government support. Conditions in many families are harrowing. This programme covers the misery in working-class families, government control of welfare recipients, attempts to limit spending somewhat (shutting down gas meters, proletarian shopping), the flare-up of resistance to Colijn’s punitive rule, and eventually the bursting of the bomb in Amsterdam’s Jordaan and Rotterdam’s Crooswijk, riots spreading to other parts of the country. The quelling of the uprisings and the effects of resistance.

Interviews with and historical footage of:

  • Jan Weggelaar, worker’s son, on conditions in the Spaarndammerbuurt and on the riots.
  • Jan van Leyden, lived with dad, mum and 11 siblings in a cramped house in Crooswijk: about how things were at home and about the riots in Crooswijk.
  • Radio appeal to Princess Juliana for support for the National Crisis Committee.
  • Kees Rijken, unemployed flower merchant in Rotterdam, on the generosity of the NCC, on shutting down gas meters and proletarian shopping, and on the fear of many to resist the authoritarianism of home visitors.
  • Henk Gortzak, carpenter, on the effects of the crisis, on the riot which he said was a reaction to the provocations of government, police and army, and on his role (important activist) during the Jordan riot.



About the political confusion after World War I, the rise of communism and the rise of fascism that put order in a number of countries (Salazar in Portugal, Mussolini in Italy, Primo de Rivera and Franco in Spain, Hitler in Germany). The somewhat difficult formation of the NSB, with leader Anton Mussert. The anti-fascist movements Antifa (communist), Antifo (socialist) and Freedom, Labour, Bread (social democrats). On the tussles between NSB members and anti-fascists. About the somewhat more moderate opposition to fascism by ‘Unity through Democracy’. On the NSB’s dwindling following and the growing threat of war. On sabotage actions in the Rotterdam port.


Interviews with and historical material from:

  • Mussert, van Geelkerken, an NSB member
  • Kees Rijken, Rotterdammer, communist anti-fascist.
  • Peter Brijnen van Houten, mapped the entire NSB
  • Bertus Schmidt, active in the Antifa and the Marxist Workers’ School.