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Textile workers in Enschede


In the late 1970s, a textile museum was opened in the former Jannink textile factory on Haaksbergerstraat in Enschede. To gain insight into how people lived and (co)-resided in the working-class houses of Textielstad Enschede in the period from around 1900/1920 to the 1960s, a number of interviews with elderly textile workers were held in 1982 and 1983. The main theme was the three Ws: Living, Working and Welfare. Based on the descriptions, themed rooms were set up in the museum . The interviews were conducted by Carla Bruynel, museum educator at the time, and by Mieke Grobbink, who was an intern at the new museum. The interviews can be found on the Erfgoed Enschede website.


The interviews focus on the home and home furnishings, facilities such as water and light and cover issues like the large families, having fun together, poverty, alcohol consumption and violence.



Enschede fireworks disaster

Title: Het stond in de krant: Twente door de lens van de persfotograaf

Author: Marco Krijnsen

Publisher: Uitgeverij Wbooks, Zwolle, 2023

ISBN: 9789462585898

On May 13, 2000, in the middle of the Roompot neighborhood in Enschede, the fireworks storage facility of S.E. Fireworks exploded. The explosions killed 23 people, including four firefighters. Nearly a thousand were injured and about two hundred houses in this neighborhood were destroyed.


On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the commemoration of this disaster, a series of interviews with people involved were made between 2018 and 2019. Marco Krijnsen, public historian and journalist portrayed 23 people who were affected by this disaster. The interviews give a good picture of the experiences during and after the disaster of both residents of the neighborhood and various other people involved including a journalist, a police officer, a firefighter, the widow of a firefighter who died, a factory manager, a head of social affairs and an alderman. The interviewer has also published a photo book about Twente. Using 125 selected photographs, Krijnsen discusses the history of Twente, including fireworks disasters.


An overview of the interviews can be found on the Atlasvanooit

The interviews can be found on Youtube with the search terms “Atlas van Ooit interviews vuurwerkramp” – They are on the Youtube channel @atlasvanooit5632

Broken promise [Verbroken belofte]: 70 years of Moluccans in the Netherlands

Link to interviews
Mijn Stad Mijn Dorp


Verbroken belofte

Ditta op den Dries



The book was self-published.

Ordering can be done by sending an email to: dwllatupeirissa[at]

The book Verbroken Belofte is an initiative of the 70 Years of Moluccans in Overijssel Foundation [Stichting 70 jaar Molukkers in Overijssel]. The personal interviews with Moluccans of the first, second and third generation were conducted by journalist Ditta op den Dries. The oral history stories give a picture of how Moluccans in Overijssel – 70 years after – look at their history and how they have found their way in Dutch society.

In addition to the personal stories, the book includes sketches of the seven places in Overijssel with Moluccan neighborhoods: Zwolle, Deventer, Staphorst, Almelo, Wierden, Rijssen and Nijverdal. At the official book presentation in Nijverdal, Moluccans from all seven municipalities gathered for the first time for a day of remembrance.

The pain of their history is still palpably present in all generations of Moluccans. The fact that younger generations in the Netherlands do not know Moluccan history is perceived as very distressing. There is little or nothing written about “the Moluccan issue” in educational books. In order to learn from history, the Moluccan story must be told permanently.

Lessons for the future

Bommel, M.A.J. van, fotograaf - Afbeelding van Willem Bley achter zijn fruitkar in de Koningstraat te Utrecht. - Utrechts Archief - 823256

The Volksbuurtmuseum feels it is important to record the stories of working-class Utrecht residents from the period after World War II to the 1970s as well. The interview project is broader than just Wijk C; residents of the ‘new’ neighbourhoods such as Kanaleneiland and Overvecht are also interviewed.
The original Utrechters, but certainly also the new Dutch will have their say, the guest workers, as they were called at the time.
What was it like to come here and how are they doing now? They tell about life in the working-class neighbourhood between 1945 and 1990. One hundred and one people were interviewed about their lives, their work and their neighbourhood. How do they look at it and what ideas do they want to pass on to (young) people for the future?

Het leven in de volksbuurt, 1945-1990

Adrianne Dercksen, Ingeborg Hornsveld

Nederlands Volksbuurtmuseum
Uitgeverij Betelgeuze
ISBN: 9789087081010


Het leven in een volksbuurt




The book and podcast series focus on the history of Utrecht’s working-class neighbourhoods and their residents. More than a hundred working-class neighbourhood residents were interviewed about their lives and how things used to be.


The book

The book tells the story of the lives of people from Utrecht’s working-class neighbourhoods from 1945 to around 1990. They tell about their childhood, their parents, school, dating, sexuality, work, the neighbourhood, the city, their own families. Stories about poverty and working hard to get ahead. About togetherness in family and neighbourhood, but also about drunkenness and domestic violence. How were migrants received and how did they find a place in society?
Each time, the question is how people look back on their lives. On the opportunities they got at school and at work. What obstacles did they encounter in life and how did they overcome them? How do they think about destiny and personal responsibility? What do they want to give young people of today based on their own life experiences?
The book ‘Life in the working-class neighbourhood’ was written by Adrianne Dercksen and Ingeborg Hornsveld and is on sale in the museum shop or through Betelgeuze publishers.


The podcast series

In this series, you will hear excerpts from the interviews. Popular neighbourhood residents share their memories, teach us lessons and tell stories about life in the popular neighbourhood. The podcast series was created by Jaap Hoeve and Bart Verbeek.

Here I am at home


The film “Hier ben ik thuis” was made by Metropolis film in 2011, commissioned by the project group 50 jaar gastarbeiders Utrecht to accompany the exhibition of the same name. This film features three generations of Utrecht migrants.

The first guest workers who arrived in Utrecht in 1960 are now elderly or have already died. Their stories are precious.

In 2010, the project group ’50 years of guest workers in the city of Utrecht’ started recording them in an exhibition and on a website. In March 2020, the website was converted to a new system with a new layout so that it can be viewed and supplemented a lot in the years to come.


RTV Utrecht made five portraits of guest workers …


Soldiers’ boots and chewing gum

Soepbedeling door Winterhulp tijdens WOII - © Heemkring van Achel

The project deals with the globalisation heritage of World War II in the Limburg Kempen region. This heritage was created during and after World War II by foreign influences on the local, conservative and rather closed society in northern Limburg.


One of the aims is to collect and map intangible heritage -the stories of the last witnesses- and movable heritage; with a special focus on globalisation heritage.

The five themes were:

  • Flee or stay behind? the start of the war, May 1940
  • Playing and learning between the bombs: children’s daily lives and leisure activities
  • On the ticket? Livelihoods and material culture
  • Strangers in my village: a hodgepodge of nationalities
  • Liberated at last? September 1944

A total of 45 interviews were conducted by both individual volunteers and local history circles. By collecting stories, and taking stock of photos, letters, the aim is to gain insight into what impact this had on the local, fairly closed and rural community. The focus is not on the feats of arms but on people’s experiences.


Ten North Limburg municipalities united in the project association Erfgoed Limburgse Kempen, namely Bocholt, Bree, Hamont-Achel, Hechtel-Eksel, Leopoldsburg, Lommel, Meeuwen-Gruitrode, Neerpelt, Overpelt and Peer.

Dyke breach 1925/1926

Aantal ingenieurs bekijken het punt waar de dijkdoorbraak plaats vond tijdens de watersnoodramp. Overasselt, 1926 [SFA022813801], Het Leven, Spaarnestad Photo

Erfgoedplatform Heumen







Three stories about the flood disaster in Overasselt and Nederasselt on New Year’s Eve 1925 have been recorded from eyewitnesses who lived in Overasselt during the dike breach. They were respectively 7, 5.5 and 5 years old at the time. What they did not know in 1925 was that the water had been up to the crest of the dykes for days due to snow and heavy rainfall in late December. On New Year’s Eve, the south-westerly wind was right on the vulnerable dike and the water punched a hundred-metre hole in the dike between Overasselt and Nederasselt near ´t Roth farm.
Pastor van Riel was at early mass in Overasselt church with parishioners at the Gospel just after 7.30am. Before he knew it, the church emptied and was left with one altar boy. They heard someone shouting, “D´n diek is doorbroken.”



Women from Reiderland

Idea: Tjerkje Dijkstra

Camera: Truus Hoge-Verheij

Hours of intensive interviews were conducted with women from Reiderland ranging in age from 63 to 88. Conversations that were captured on DVD.


The project recorded their own personal history. A piece of oral history. Small stories that make the known history more complete. Women were especially asked, because very little is known about their lives. The ladies interviewed all still live independently and each has an eventful life behind them, often a life of hard work. These women have a lot of stories to tell.


Reiderland is a former municipality in the Dutch province of Groningen, in the region of the same name, Reiderland. In Reiderland lies the easternmost place in the Netherlands (near the village of Bad Nieuweschans)


Interviews with: Tinke Modderman, Tantje Kuiper, Grietje Stek, Gezien Mellema, Annie Hillinga en Bieuwke Lodewegens


Back on the scene

Oude vrouw en kinderen, concentratiekamp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bundesarchiv Bild 183-74237-004

Terug van weggeweest – Getuigenissen over en uit joods Groningen in de jaren dertig en veertig plus razzia-lijsten met 3064 namen

Johan van Gelder
Publisher: Van Gorcum, 1993
ISBN: 9789080146518

Publicist Johan van Gelder came into possession of the original German raid lists used to round up Groningen Jews. The municipality of Groningen had an important part in compiling the lists, as did the national government.
Groningen, like many municipalities, was purged of its Jewish inhabitants. Without a fight, most of its Jewish inhabitants were expelled for good during the Second World War.

In ‘Back from Away’, survivors in the Netherlands, Israel and the United States – who returned due to a curious coincidence – as well as non-Jews testify about Jewish Groningen with an emphasis on the 1930s and 1940s. Those years were so characteristic because, on the one hand, there was a thriving Jewish community, which also had its problems – which, on the other, was destroyed by a reign of terror in a relatively short time.


In this oral history Van Gelder hears the stories of the people themselves. Letting former Groningers who lived through it tell their stories. Van Gelder went to the people with his tape recorder and typed out and edited all their stories.

Proud of Darp

Darp is in 1948 opnieuw opgebouwd (foto: archief Oud Meppel)

The Drenthe village of Darp has an eventful history closely linked to the Second World War. The old village was evacuated during the war and the houses were demolished in connection with the construction of a German airfield, and it was not until 1948 that houses reappeared.

Wim van der Wijk wrote a book about it in 2018 together with some fellow villagers, entitled Proud of Darp. “The inhabitants received a letter from the municipal administration that everyone had to be gone by six o’clock on 25 July 1944. The population was dispersed. They ended up in Ruinerwold, Havelte and Steenwijk, for example. Cattle were also dispersed. People just had to leave.” A total of 33 houses were demolished, destroying the village.