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The ZMV women’s movement in Brabant


As part of the BHIC fellowships, Kirsten van der Wielen conducted research on the ZMV women’s movement in North Brabant (black, migrant and refugee women). For this research, she focused specifically on the Centers for Foreign Women in Oss and in Tilburg. Based on archival research and interviews conducted, an overview of the organizational formation of ZMV women in North Brabant was created. An overview (page) of the project can be found here.


This project can be divided into a research proposal and the results and uses thereof. Van der Wielen focused on the 1980s, specifically feminism and migration. Her goal was to map the ZMV women’s movement in North Brabant. She focused on the initiatives for and by ZMV women (through the CBV, Centers for Foreign Women), both through archival material and interviews. For this, she researched the cities of Oss and Tilburg.


The final products are aimed at both a broad audience and researchers. First, it produced research results on the different functions and origins of CBVs. Future researchers can easily pick up this same topic with this research guide and a list of available primary sources.


The interviews will eventually be posted on the website.

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.

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 …


Forgotten heroes

Vergeten helden : tien portretten van vrouwen over migratie
Sema Yildiz

Heusden-Zolder: RIMO Limburg, 2012 

ISBN: 9789081899406

Much has been written about migration. Very often it was then about men who worked in coal mines, among other things, as part of labour migration. Rarely were women discussed.


The Steenveld neighbourhood association in Beringen therefore launched a heritage project focusing on the life stories of women from the neighbourhood. The result of numerous interviews and the collection of private documents and photos is a publication with the women’s stories. While their husbands were able to develop social contacts through their work in the coal mines, the women went through a very different journey. Their stories are little known.


Ten women from the Steenveld district in Beringen shed the veil of their souls in this book. Each of them tells strong life stories that offer a surprising insight into their world of experience. Travel stories with in one hand a suitcase full of memories and in the other one full of hope for a better future, stories about having to say goodbye, gnawing homesickness, fear of the unknown, and the unconditional love for the children that makes every sacrifice acceptable. Flemish women are also featured, as migration was a profound event for both migrants and natives.


The non-profit organisation Rimo Limburg conceived the plan to record life stories of older women to gauge their existential experience of migration. ‘I focused on the experience of women because they occupied a totally different position from the men,’ says Sema Yildiz. ‘While the men had many contacts through work in the mine, the women had fewer opportunities for integration.’

The women interviewed are all from the Steenveld district in Koersel. Sema Yildiz worked there as a community worker and has a trusting relationship with them. Steenveld was a small mining district four kilometres from the Beringen mine. In the 1970s, the neighbourhood was taken over by the Cantonal Construction Company. It expanded the neighbourhood with social housing, which was mainly occupied by residents of Turkish origin, some 75 per cent. In the old neighbourhood, mainly Belgians, East and South European migrants live there. But in recent years there has been an influx of Turks here too. The neighbourhood had 260 families in 2012 . Yildiz interviewed 10 women: three Turkish, one Spanish, one German, one French, two Belgian, one Italian, one Dominican and a local kindergarten teacher. ‘First-generation migrant women speak little Dutch. That is why the stories are printed in two languages each time: Dutch and a summary in their own language.

Freedom is a big concept

Muurschildering in Akrê (Iraks Koerdistan) ter nagedachtenis aan de Al-Anfal-operatie. Levi Clancy op Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei


Stichting BMP


Vrijheid is een groot begrip. Onderzoek naar de beleving van vrijheid, onvrijheid en herdenken door Bosniërs en Irakezen in Nederland.
Saskia Moerbeek en Frank von Meijenfeldt (red.)
Nationaal comité 4 en 5 mei / Stichting BMP

pdf onderzoek

Research into the experience of freedom, unfreedom and remembrance by Bosnians and Iraqis in the Netherlands.


The National Committee for May 4 and 5 is continuously looking for an appropriate interpretation of the activities on May 4 and 5 to ensure the inclusive character of the commemoration and celebration on these days. It is also important to understand people’s motivations for participating or not participating in said activities. The Committee has therefore asked the Stichting Bevordering Maatschappelijke Participatie (BMP), as part of its lustrum year 2020 (75 years of freedom), to conduct research among Bosnians and Iraqis who came to the Netherlands in the 1990s. The question of this research is how people from these groups experience freedom, unfreedom and remembrance in their countries of origin and in the Netherlands.


This exploratory study partly used existing interviews with Bosnians and Iraqis interviewed as part of the oral history project Unprecedented Extraordinary. 12 Bosnian and 12 Iraqi interviews were chosen for analysis, of which 8 interviewees were interviewed a second time on the theme of freedom, unfreedom and remembrance.

In addition to this, 8 more interviews on the research themes were conducted with Bosnians and Iraqis who were not interviewed as part of Unprecedented Extraordinary.

This oral history project thus involves a total of 16 new interviews.

In 2024, these interviews will be housed at DANS-KNAW


See also:

bosnians and iraqis on freedom and remembrance

Anno Turkey


Betsy Torenbos (Annen, 1969) is a dancer, choreographer, director and theater maker. She made a name for herself with projects in which she integrates oral history into her performances. For Anno Turkije she interviewed six ‘old-comers’ from the Northern Netherlands on their native soil in Turkey. From these interviews she made a film that was shown at Anno Turkey on two screens. In it, the Turkish men talk about death, their earliest memories, their first love, violence, life in the Netherlands and Turkey.
During the screening, the women prepare Turkish food, while the men silently accompany the film footage with simple choreography.

Personal histories tell a different story than the history books.

Red Aid

Rode Hulp, de opvang van Duitse vluchtelingen in Groningerland 1933-1940

Ruud Weijdeveld

Uitgeverij: Wolters-Noordhoff

EAN: 9789062430550


Het spoor terug – VPRO

The communist refugee organisation De Rode Hulp helped between three and five thousand German communists cross the border illegally in the 1930s. The communists here wanted to continue the struggle against Hitler. Especially in the Groningen-German border area, many crossed the border. The Colijn government was deeply troubled by the refugees. It therefore tightened the right of asylum and refused residence permits to active ‘revolutionaries’.


VPRO Radio 5 – Het spoor

‘De Rode Hulp, opvang van Duitse vluchtelingen in het Groningerland 1933-1940’.
With a tour of smuggling trails, and interviews with those involved, including:
-Klaas Telkamp, son of a smuggler from Bellingwolde,
-communist Willem Kuiper
-Hennie Stal from Groningen;
-Friedl Baruch of the ‘General Council’, which had to investigate the political reliability of the refugees;
-co-author and historian Ruud Weijdeveld


Huis van Derk Telkamp in Bellingwolde

Hageland seasonal workers

Hagelandse seizoenarbeiders

Evrard Mattheus en Willy van Calster

Rillaar, 1988



In en uit het Hageland – Arbeidsmigratie 1850-2010

Greet Draye


Evrard Mattheus interviewed 52 seasonal workers and those involved for his book Hageland seasonal workers in 1988. In his book, he quotes liberally from them. He saves the complete interviews on cassette tapes. Transferring them to a digital medium seems highly desirable, but negotiation attempts came to nothing for the time being.


The Hageland lies in the east of Flemish Brabant and a part in the west of Limburg (Belgium). It is the area between the towns of Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, Aarschot, Leuven, Tienen and Diest, and the rivers Dijle, Demer, and (Grote) Gete.


De Hagelandse seizoenarbeiders, sommigen met Walenzak, anderen met bietenhak, worden ontvangen door Mgr. Théas van Lourdes. Foto uit 1960. Collectie Stadsarchief Leuven. Archief Paul vanden Eynden.



In this six-part podcast, Marije Schuurman Hess explores the secret of good aid. She does so using case study Bosnia, which received a lot of aid after the war in the early 1990s. But the stories she finds also say something about other aid situations. Why do we help each other? What are the pitfalls? What exactly helps and what doesn’t?

Marije meets accordionist Merima who fled Bosnia and aid worker Margriet who went to war precisely to help. Travelling by bus through Bosnia, Marije also visits an artist, a diplomat, a retired cook, a climate activist and many others.
Their stories help Marije unravel the secret of good help, one piece in each episode.

Neighbourhood Makers

Verlenden Week UGEnt


Team: Fien Danniau, Tina De Gendt, Margo De Koster, Bruno De Wever

Students: Alessia De Meulemeester, Mick Menu

One in five Gentenaars has a foreign origin. 20th-century migration flows from successively France, Italy, Turkey, Algeria, Ghana and Bulgaria shaped the city into its current face. The city’s appearance also changed under the influence of post-war migration. Drag Street, a stone’s throw from the Industrial Museum, with its Turkish and other world restaurants, is the most famous example. Using oral history and (audio)visual sources from private collections, the city and VRT archives, we examine in and with the neighbourhood how the Sluizeke-Ham neighbourhood transformed into its current face since the 1950s. What role did restaurants and shops play as meeting places for old and new inhabitants of Ghent?


In October 2020, the Sluizeke-Ham neighbourhood will have an exhibition at STAM. Together with public historian Tina De Gendt, we are experimenting with how to present this participatory neighbourhood history. Can we reconstruct restaurants and their social history in 3D? How do you move the (ge)views of a neighbourhood? How do we put a neighbourhood with its old and new residents, literally and figuratively, on a museum map?