Sexdiversity in the Netherlands and Flanders




In semi-structured interviews lasting about two hours, intersex people share their experiences. Key topics include the influence of doctors, parents’ decisions, and the impact of “coming out” as an intersex person. At this time, 17 interviews have been transcribed and metadata provided. The original recordings, transcriptions and metadata, along with the consent form, will be archived for future scientific research.

No more secrets

Number of interviews: 15

Transcripts: for some of the interviews

Storage: in due course

Graduate research on the stories of descendants of (grand)fathers with a fraught war past.

Analysis of different forms of representation in which involved respondents relayed their family war history and its significance for their family memory and in the public domain.



TRANSMEMO is a collaboration between the State Archives (Cegesoma), UGent and UCL. It is an interdisciplinary project of historians and social psychologists. Nico Wouters, operational director of CegeSoma, is the project manager for the State Archives.


project transmemo


TRANSMEMO is a two-year research project on intergenerational transmission of memories, specifically how memories of resistance and collaboration during World War II are passed from parents to their children and grandchildren.


The method used is oral history. Through interviews with three generations (survivors-children-great-grandchildren), we examine how certain perceptions about the collaboration and resistance were formed in family circles. In this way we want to better understand how collective memories can become so persistent in a society, which in this case is relevant for example with regard to the different perceptions about WW II in French-speaking Belgium and Flanders.

The project also uses CegeSoma’s extensive collection of oral sources, and aims to open up this historical collection for the first time for the study of collective memory. The interviews made during the project will be deposited at CegeSoma.


The project also has a social component: it aims to allow children and grandchildren of collaborators and members of the resistance to confront and dialogue with each other about how their (grand)parents’ past has shaped their own lives and views. It should lead to a better understanding about the processing of WWII in Belgium, but more globally also about the role that unresolved collective traumas from the past play in creating lasting social tensions.


The series will be broadcast on Belgian radio and will also be available as podcast on the CegeSoma website Belgium WWII.


Author : Koen Aerts
ISBN : 9789463101868
Publisher: Pelckmans

This book is the result of years of research by Koen Aerts (University of Ghent/CegeSoma-State archives) and has already been  published in Dutch in 2018 by Polis (Kinderen van de repressie. Hoe Vlaanderen worstelt met de bestraffing van de collaboratie.). Based on dozens of interviews with children of Flemish collaborators, it tries to define how collaboration and post-war repression in Flanders still echo across generations.


The author combines his research with a broader political and socio-cultural history of the postwar image of collaboration and repression, so that his book becomes a larger reference work on “the past not overcome” of World War II in Flanders and Belgium.

Koen Aerts further conducted part of the follow-up research within the TRANSMEMO project (BRAIN-Belspo), in which CegeSoma (State Archives) was a partner.

Children of the colony

Open University Heerlen

Oral history from ‘colonies’ in the Netherlands ‘lets other voices be heard too’


Historian Wim de Jong examines how life in South Limburg and Groningen changed as a result of mining and gas extraction.

What is it like to live as a descendant of a South Limburg miner, or as a citizen of Groningen next to gas drilling? Wim de Jong will focus on the impact of mining and gas extraction in the daily lives of local residents.


A three-person project team will conduct interviews with some 30 experts by experience in both provinces.

Broken through the glass ceiling?

Number of interviews: 30

Availability: unknown

In the thesis “The glass ceiling broken?”, Lore Goovaerts examines which women at UGent in the recent past still managed to break through this glass ceiling and in what way they did so. My focus is on the female emeriti of UGent and not on the still active female professors. The emeriti of UGent are a clearly defined group and bear witness to a recent past, namely the situation at UGent during the second half of the 20th century. What are the experiences of female emeriti in relation to gender issues? What is their life story and profile? How did they succeed in becoming professors? Did they experience opposition in their careers because they were women? What was the work/life balance like during their career? Did they have a network with other female professors? Through interviews with several female emeriti, Lore Goovaerts tries to answer these questions.

Het glazen plafond doorbroken?

Master’s thesis submitted to the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
for the degree of Master of History.
Academic Year 2015-2016


Goovaert’s thesis focuses on the life stories of women who managed to rise to the highest academic ranks at Ghent University in the second half of the 20th century. This makes her thesis highly relevant both socially and academically. Socially relevant, because to this day, such success is reserved for far too few women and pressure must still be exerted on Dutch and Belgian university administrators to offer women the same career opportunities as men. Scientifically relevant, because beyond the statistical material that often supports policy papers, we actually know very little about how women themselves have experienced the ups and downs of their careers. Lore Goovaerts has produced a methodologically and substantively outstanding piece of work. It does justice to the historical life experience of successful women scientists and also sharpens all of us’ sights on something that should finally become history: the glass ceiling in the university.

Dyed in the wool

Number of interviews: unknown

Transcripts: made

Accessibility: unknown

Oral history project led by Jan Laurier was the third component of workshop-like event on the history of Leiden textiles (abbreviated WOLT).

The other two components were an exhibition on the textile industry and a scientific congress with lectures on Leiden textile history.


Voices from Leiden’s factory past

Ex-employees traced through the Municipal Archives, based on Jaap Moes’ Krantz research. Dirk Jaap Noordam of the Department of History worked with students on the interviews and joined the oral history working group of the Dirk van Eck Foundation.

The project concluded in 1998 with the book Door de wol geverfd

Door de wol geverfd

Author: J. Laurier
Co-author: J.K.S. Moes Jan Laurier
ISBN: 9789057300189 

For seven centuries, Leiden was known far beyond its borders for its textile industry. Many Dutch people have slept under a Leiden woollen blanket or worn a jumper made from yarn from the city of Leiden.


In the 1970s, the last Leiden textile factories closed their gates. For many people, that also meant the end of work they had often done for decades.


This book focuses on these people. Spinners, weavers and others who stood at the machines tell their life stories. But not only them: factory directors and managers also speak at length, shedding light on the former working conditions and the ups and downs of the various textile factories.


In this way, Door de wol geverfd offers a varied picture of Leiden textiles in the twentieth century and of an industrial business culture that has now disappeared almost everywhere in the Netherlands.

Aura and class conflict

University of Leiden

Number of interviews: 164


Ghent University

Number of interviews: 146


Transcriptions: All but a few of these interviews have been transcribed

Accessibility: unknown

Oral history interviews from a partially coordinated study of two groups at Rijkuniversiteit Gent and Rjksuniversiteit Leiden respectively on teachers’ and pupils’ subjective perceptions of education, using the biographical method.


164 interviews with former teachers

90 interviews with 40 teachers (Leiden)

73 interviews with 33 teachers (Ghent)


146 interviews with former pupils

54 interviews with 37 pupils (Leiden)

92 interviews with 46 textile workers (Ghent)


Wij Hebben als Mens Geleefd

This publication by Meulenhoff concerns the text of a dissertation for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Letters at the University of Amsterdam, on 8 May 1987.


Number of interviews: 42 (+ unknown number of anonymous interviewees) 

The source material is a large number of cassette tapes.

In 2022 / 2023, the tapes will be digitised by Pieter Bas van Wiechen

Transcriptions: yes

Accessibility: unknown


Geheugen, getuigen en herinneren

voorbeelden uit een onderzoek naar het amsterdamse joodse proletariaat tussen 1918 en 1940
Selma Leydesdorff

Part of: Mondelinge geschiedenis : over theorie en praktijk van het gebruik van mondelinge bronnen
Red.: Manuela du Bois-Reymond en Ton Wagemakers

pages 80-100



The book concerns the text with accompanying 16 pages of illustrations of a dissertation for the University of Amsterdam. The work also includes a summary in English. For this thesis, the historian Selma Leydesdorff derived data from archives, but especially from interviews with many who in their youth were part of the Jewish proletariat she researched. The author’s intention is to arrive at a better view of ‘that which is no more’. However, some of the ninety interviewees only wanted to speak if their words would not be recorded on the spot with recording equipment or put in writing; their words were thus of necessity elaborated afterwards. In her research, the author includes Jewish culture, the Jewish economy, the attachment of those involved to their Jewish roots, their organisations and the history of the Jewish streets and neighbourhoods in Amsterdam.


In 1987, We lived as human beings: Amsterdam’s Jewish proletariat 1900-1940 in words and images. In it, professor Selma Leydesdorff uses interviews to paint a picture of pre-war Jewish life in Amsterdam. We lived as human beings also appeared in English and German and received a lot of international attention.


The Jewish Proletariat of Amsterdam 1900-1940 is the revised edition of this work. It is graced with paintings by G.J. Staller (collected and selected by Harry Mock) showing Jewish street life between 1900 and 1930 and giving a face to the people – beggars, market vendors and peddlers. The stuffiness of the Jodenhoek with its dark streets is palpable; you can almost hear the raucous cries of hawkers with their wares, all-important is the smell of poverty.


With The Jewish Proletariat of Amsterdam 1900-1940, the names of the war memorial on Amsterdam’s Weesperstraat, unveiled in 2021, also get a face.

OH-SMArt – Oral History Stories at the Museum around Artworks

Funded by:




More information:



dr. Sanneke Stigter

Oral History – Stories at the Museum around Artworks’ (OH-SMArt) is a long term initiative to significantly improve the digital research chain around using Oral History and spoken narratives, with research into artworks and museums as a use case.


Museums have to contend with a serious shortage of digital tools. Additionally, the procedures applied to make recordings of spoken stories about art available are very time-consuming. This is partly due to a lack of applicability and compatibility of technical tools, and to the sometimes highly sensitive information involved. As a result, a considerable backlog has arisen in the processing of this archive material, which is, in fact, a familiar problem within Oral History research.


The OH-SMArt project aims to significantly improve the digital research chain around Oral History. For example, recordings will be directly connected to an automatic time-coded speech transcription service, which will facilitate the unlocking and archiving of spoken stories about art, as well as automatic searching and linking. In addition to improving the workflow, new tools will be developed that are aimed at promoting reflection: user interpretations will be saved with the source material,  as a result of which the viewpoint of the researcher will be put into perspective. OH-SMArt will provide access behind the scenes at museums in a smart and accessible manner and contribute to the improvement of research within Oral History in general.


OH-SMArt is a collaboration between the University of Amsterdam, University of Twente, DANS-KNAW, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Stichting Open Spraaktechnologie (Open Speech Technology Foundation), and participating museums and institutions. The project will be financed until the end of 2024 via the Platform for Digital Infrastructure for Social Sciences and Humanities (Platform Digitale Infrastructuur voor Sociale en Geesteswetenschappen, PDI-SSH)



OH-SMArt curator interview Foto: © Marjon Gemmeke

Stories in motion

© Arie Kers – Studio Erasmus


In progress


Project lead
prof. dr. H.C. Dibbits


Kunst- en Cultuureducatie


1 April 2021 to 1 September 2022


Research programme
Innovation and Networks (NWA)



The research project ‘(Re-)Tracing History. New Methodologies for Making the Past Tangible, Palpable and Negotiable’


Three teams of researchers at Utrecht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen will develop innovative methods that make overlooked or ignored traces of the past tangible, palpable, and negotiable, in order to defuse tensions in society and enrich public debate. They will do so in co-creation with citizens and societal partners, focusing on oral histories (Erasmus University), dance and embodiment (Radboud University), and interactive technologies (Utrecht University). 


Norah Karrouche and Arno van der Hoeven’s subproject, ‘Stories in motion: oral history as sustainable data in urban settings’, seeks to develop, analyse and evaluate methods for making oral histories accessible as sustainable resources for citizens and a range of stakeholders in urban settings.


Oral history projects are generally conducted in communities which may have been overlooked by traditional archival institutions, and around issues that may fall outside the scope of many collection policies. These oral histories are often not stored or curated in a sustainable manner after projects end.

© Arie Kers – Studio Erasmus

From June 2021 onwards, Arno van der Hoeven and Norah Karrouche will develop a model for collecting and enriching oral history data, making these data accessible through standards for data interoperability, and reusing oral histories to generate knowledge on societal issues in urban settings. They will do so in collaboration with several (local) partners: Dona Daria, Stadsarchief Rotterdam, DIG IT UP, CLARIAH and Geschiedenislab.