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OUR COUNTRY – Decolonisation, generations, stories

Currently, about two million people live in the Netherlands with special ties to the former Dutch East Indies. They or their ancestors came to the Netherlands after the proclamation of the Republic Indonesia. It was the largest wave of migration ever. Some of them thought their stay here would be temporary.

 

The voices of eight families form the core of the  semi-permanent show Our Country. The interviews are incorporated into the exhibition. These personal and diverse but for many recognizable stories give a picture of the complex postcolonial history, and how differently it was and is experienced. The family stories in Ons Land start in the present. From there they lead us back into the colonial past. The exhibition ends again in the now.

 

Ons Land was created by the Moluccan Historical Museum and the Indisch Remembrance Center in collaboration with Kossmanndejong and TiMe Amsterdam.

 

Also see the upcoming expert meeting at the Sophiahof in The Hague

An oral history of the Groningen gas extraction

The Eyewitnesses of Gas Extraction project will record the stories of at least 100 people on video over the next two years (from April 2024). In this way, recent history will be told through personal stories in a unique way. Many stories have already been collected in recent years. But never before have the testimonies of residents and those involved in gas extraction been recorded in a systematic and scientific way. This initiative is being led by researcher Nienke Busscher and counselor Marjo van Bergen. The first interviews are expected to be recorded starting April 2024. So you can still participate in this project!

 

Here you may find more information concerning this project.

And here you may contact the project and participate in the interviews.

Here you may find an NPO interview with the leaders of this project.

 

Ooggetuigen van de Gaswinning is an initiative of nine organizations with roots in Groningen based on an idea by Diepduik Media. Each party contributes its own expertise, guaranteeing (scientific) quality. A foundation is being set up especially for this project. In this way, independence is guaranteed and the proceeds of the project can be properly and carefully managed.

The history of us all

 

The history of slavery is a very painful, important and until recently underexposed part of our shared history. During the Slavery History Commemoration Year, which runs from July 1, 2023 to July 1, 2024, the entire kingdom will pay extra attention to this past and its repercussions in the present. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has a coordinating role in the organization of the Slavery History Memorial Year. With the goal of increasing knowledge and awareness of this theme in society. BKB, AMARU and Canvas Black together created the communication strategy and campaign for the Slavery History Memorial Year.

 

The Slavery Past Memorial Year marks the 150th anniversary of the actual abolition of slavery. By commemorating our slavery past, we ensure that we do not forget this history. Commemoration reminds us that it should never happen again. We pay attention to the pain, suffering and far-reaching consequences, as well as the resistance of enslaved people and the pride of their descendants and in the history before slavery. By sharing stories, and making the slavery past an equal part of our history, we keep this history alive.

 

The campaign “The history of us all’ consists of six conversations, focusing on the personal experiences of well-known storytellers. The campaign takes place entirely online. All six conversations can be found online.

 

The following conversations can be found online:

1. Shirma Rouse (singer) and Safi Graauw (director)
2. Lucelle Comvalius (teacher) and George Adegite (illustrator)
3. Hesdy Lonwijk (director) and Carmen Felix (writer)
4. Lukas Eleuwarin (creator of the fashion brand Knowledge by Roots) and Jill Mathon (writer)
5. Lex Bohlmeijer (presenter) and Prof. Soortkill (writer)

The last conversation can eventually be found on the site.

 

Some conversations received a sequel. This can be found at the bottom of linked pages.

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.

 

 

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

podcast

 

 

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 …

 

Limburg coal miners speak

Mijnen. Limburgse koolputters spreken‎

Diverse auteurs

EPO, 1981

Interviews with miners for the TV documentary “Limburg coal miners speak” by Erik Pertz (BRTN – 1983)

 

The Provincial Museum for Industrial Heritage (Hasselt) gives attention to miners a.o. with the travelling suitcase exhibitions “Coal in Limburg” (1983 – updated and renewed in 1987), with the cooperation in Dré Peremans’ radio documentaries on “Het Zwarte Goud” (BRT 1 – 1986) and with the historical input for Erik Pertz’ television documentary “Limburgse koolputters spreken” (BRTN – 1983), broadcasts in which the working group Mijnwerkersgeschiedenis also played a fundamental role.

See also the book: Mijnen. Limburgse koolputters spreken (uitg. Projektgroep Mijnwerkersgeschiedenis). 1981.

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.

Born to

The conditions for giving birth have changed rapidly over the past century. The City Archives looks back at the evolution of pregnancies, births and the maternity period over time. The exhibition takes you back to the old Ypres maternity home in Lange Torhoutstraat where thousands of babies from Ypres and the surrounding area were born.

Using photos, objects and archive documents from the museum’s own archive collection and private collections, you can imagine yourself back in the Bieke, Bartje or Roosje department. Stories of mothers and midwives and a unique collection of medical instruments bring history to life.

 

Thus, the Ypres City Archives has supplemented its collection with a pack of new material in the form of life stories and testimonies. The archive team conducted interviews and, with sound files and videos, collected an aural and visual record for future generations. Above all, this method of working was heartwarming. The collaboration with so many enthusiastic people makes this exhibition a project of many. A comprehensive catalogue accompanies this expo. In it, individual themes such as ‘midwifery in Ypres’, ‘the history of the maternity home’ or ‘from delivery table to maternity bed’ are explored in depth and widely illustrated with archive documents, dozens of photos and personal documents.

 

Altogether, these are testimonies from some 25 people about giving birth in the Westhoek.

The interviews could be heard in edited form at the exhibition ‘In de Wieg Gelegd- bevallen door de eeuwen heen’, which ran in CC Het Perron in November/December 2021.

The last witnesses

De laatste getuigen. Vlamingen over hun Tweede Wereldoorlog.

Jens Franssen

Publisher: WPG Uitgevers BE, 2005
ISBN: 9789022319086

 

Het archief.be

 

In 2004, Jens Franssen achieved success with his radio series The Last Witnesses, featuring 30 interviews of ordinary Flemings about the occupation, later published as : The Last Witnesses. Flemings about their Second World War.

 

In De laatste getuigen, Flemings tell about their unique experiences during the Second World War: Belgian soldiers who were overrun by the Eighteen-Day Campaign in May 1940, men and women who chose collaboration or resistance out of conviction, Jews who were deported to extermination camps, political prisoners who were imprisoned in German concentration camps, civilians who were bombed, compatriots who helped with the Normandy landings and the liberation of Belgium in 1944, country traitors who were presented with the bill during the repression. ..Before the war, they were ordinary people.

 

De verzetsmensen 1940-1945. Cegesoma