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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.

Prominent Gelderlanders


Prominent Gelderlanders

5 digitised interviews

Gelderland Heritage


Investigating whether and how the collection can be archived and made public

Interviews with striking Gelderlanders

Mien van der Meulen-Nulle
(The Hague, 17 March 1884 – Winterswijk, 8 January 1982)

Louisa Wilhelmina (Mien) van der Meulen-Nulle was a Dutch teacher of lace technology and director of the Royal Dutch Lace School in The Hague.

Nulle studied useful handicrafts at the Industrieschool voor Meisjes in The Hague. She came into contact with lace through books. She received additional lessons from Elisabeth Manhave, a former pupil of the lace school in Sluis. In 1903, she taught at the Lace School, then based in Apeldoorn. At the age of 22, she became headmistress of the lace school in 1906 when it moved to The Hague. She was given access to an attached studio. She designed the cradle cover for Princess Juliana in 1909. On the occasion of a parade in Leiden depicting the entry of Frederik Hendrik in 1629, she designed several 17th-century lace based on paintings in 1910. It earned several awards.


Louis Frequin
(Arnhem, 29 July 1914 – Berg en Dal, 13 October 1998)

Interview on 11 August 1976 (tape 1 missing – interview 28 April 1976)

Louis Hendrik Antonius (Louis) Frequin was a Dutch journalist, author and resistance fighter. Louis Frequin was married and had eight children, the oldest of whom, Willibrord Frequin, is the best known.

Louis Frequin was Roman Catholic and had worked in journalism since 1930. Former editor-in-chief of the Gelderlander and the Nieuwe Krant.


Herman Martinus Oldenhof
(Apeldoorn, 17 September 1899 – Ede, 11 April 1985)

Interviewer J.P. Gansenbrink, 21 July 1977

Oldenhof was a Dutch mayor. He was a member of the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP). Oldenhof was mayor of the municipalities of Lopik, Jaarsveld and Willige Langerak from 1929 to 1936. He then served as mayor of Kampen from 1936 to 1942 and from 1945 to 1952.

Oldenhof left for the municipality of Ede, where he was mayor until 1962. Under his administration, the municipality grew from 47,656 to 60,162 inhabitants and much was invested in new education and infrastructure. In 1962, he became deputy of the province of Gelderland. He continued to live in Ede, though. Here he died in 1985 at the age of 85 in retirement home De Klinkenberg.



Jan Taminiau
(1 April 1903 – 17 July 1993)

Interviewer G. J. Mentink, 16 October 1975

Taminiau was director of the Gelderland fruit processing company Taminiau Elst Overbetuwe (TEO)


Jan Hendrik de Groot
(Alkmaar 13 March 1901 – Zeist 1 December 1990)

Jan H. de Groot was a poet, journalist in Arnhem.

In 1948, he became editor of Het Vrije Volk in Arnhem and from 1950 until his retirement in 1966, he was press chief of the AKU in Arnhem. From 1950 to 1962, he was secretary and treasurer of the Dutch branch of the international authors’ association PEN.

Girls with skirts, bones and sticks


Author: Hanne Delodder
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gita Deneckere
Reading commissioner: prof. dr. Jan Art/prof. dr. Jan Tolleneer

Research into the origin and evolution of the Flemish majorette
within the socio-cultural context from Expo’58 to the early 1980s.


In the 1960s and 1970s, many majorette corps were founded in Flanders, often attached to an existing brass band or drum band. Some of these majorette corps are still active today, but most of them have been disbanded in the meantime. On the other hand, a lot of new majorette, twirling and show corps are founded today, which also participate in competitions and championships at home and abroad. The majorette societies that steal the show at all street fairs and parades are quietly disappearing.
The folksy character and the often lack of or not caring association archives, make majorette culture a piece of national heritage in danger of being lost. Research in this field is therefore pressing. Until today, little or no research has been done on the history of majorettes. This research project tried to fill this void.
Oral testimonies, alongside film, photographs and personal archive material, formed the
main sources for the study.
The rows of majorettes who, in their glory days, marched in front of the local brass band at every festivity, street fair, parade, procession and village festival, are clearly part of our Flemish festive culture. As part of our popular culture and our collective memory, this girl culture is a valuable field of research.

The beet men

West-Vlamingen in de bietenteelt

Eric Pertz en André van de Vijver, Les Godverdommes sont là, televisiedocumentie, BRTN, 1992

Koekelare municipality owns the film, along with the unused footage (5 hours)




The BRTN made a socio-historical documentary about Flemish seasonal workers in France. Among them were several Koekelarenaars. They went to the French beet fields to earn a living. Not for nothing were these people known to French farmers as “les godverdommes” because they were hard workers. The film dives into the past and puts the seasonal workers at work setting and lifting the beets as it was done then. One sees their living quarters, their ups and downs and hears testimonies. Someone who can always be found among the “Fransmans” is pastor Joris De Jaeger. The film can be viewed at the Fransmans Museum.

From ’79, Eric Pertz was a producer at the science (culture) department of the BRT. Within the science service, he made numerous historical documentaries with a particular focus on ‘oral history’.


This film is entitled “De bietenmannen. Les godverdommes sont là”. The film is a co-production of the BRTN and the municipality of Koekelare. The film shows footage of Koekelare, Tourcoing, the border region and work in the beet fields in the Reims region. It is a socio-historical documentary. Residents of Koekelare testify about this hard work.

Carders and cutters

Haarsnijder aan het werk in de fabriek. Epouse Jacobs. Foto: Stedelijk Museum Lokeren

As carders and carvers tell their stories…

Every town has a reason to be in the history books, and Lokeren deserves a chapter in the history of industry. During the first half of the 20th century, Lokeren was the centre of the hair-cutting industry, a preparatory industry that prepared rabbit and hare skins into felt hair for hat manufacturing all over the world. From the 1960s the industry began to taper off for many reasons, and today it is virtually extinct.
Because the hair-cutting industry was unique and important for Lokeren, it is obvious and necessary that a clear emphasis is put on it in the Municipal Museum. The upcoming renovation and redesign of the museum also provide an opportunity to turn the current, relatively small hair cutting department into a central theme within the permanent exhibition.
Written sources exist about the hair-cutting industry, but all the more telling are the tangible and intangible ‘relics’: the sites, the material, and especially the stories of the former employees. As experts, they are best placed to explain the industry in all its facets. The interviews with people who worked in or were closely involved with the hair cutting industry will be used as a source of information as well as a presentation element.
The interviews will be available to listen to within the permanent exhibition and on a separate information DVD. A documentary will also be made, featuring filmed interviews with some eight respondents and a site visit with one of the former employees. Furthermore, the interviews will be kept at the City Archives as source material for other studies, as the people in question often tell many more stories than that of the hair cutting business alone.
Both for the people with a past in the hair cutting business and for myself, this project is special. Besides their personal account, lots of technical explanations and names of other witnesses, a number of people donated a personal memento-their own knife or scissors, a sheet of their very last load-to the museum. They are happy that the museum looks after ‘their heritage’, and we are happy to care for it.



Leen Heyvaert,
deputy curator
Municipal Museum of Lokeren

Boned out!

Uitgebeend! Vlaamse beenhouwers in Brussel na W.O. II

Philippe Braem en Mariet Calsius (red.)

AMVR, 2005

In researching the butchers’ craft in Brussels, the Archives and Museum of Flemish Life, through the research method of oral history, worked in three phases.
During the preparatory phase, a researcher not only familiarised himself with the world of the butchers’ craft, but also drew up questionnaires and sought out respondents. Mastering the specific terminology, consulting literature, visiting butchers’ workshops, abattoirs and museums with extensive butchers’ collections were the first steps towards an empathy with this distinct world.
Knowledge and interest of the interviewer in the butchers’ life in Brussels increased. Later this to be an essential condition for trust between interviewer and respondent.
The second phase, the search for respondents, required greater effort. Bone butchers at rest after all, often move, sometimes within Brussels, but mostly away from Brussels back to their native region. A first starting point in compiling a good respondent list, was a list of some active butchers with names and addresses of former colleagues. Another lead was the membership list of the Brussels Confederation of Butchers and the membership list of the Belgian Landsbond van Beenhouwers en Spekslagers (as far as Brussels was concerned).

Calls through the AMVB membership magazine and in local newspapers, drew quite a few responses.
For representativeness, the project took into account the geographical demarcation of the Brussels
capital region and the categories in the butchery sector (bacon butchers, butchers, horse butchers, triperies, poultry vendors). Especially for Brussels, the difference between the immigrants and natives was included.
From the list of possible respondents, the AMVB made a selection. In the end, 46 middlemen (bakers, grocers and 33 butchers) were interviewed. The invitation included an information sheet and the request for a possible company archive. The AMVB always scheduled the interviews at the informant’s home.
Photos (e.g. of family, interiors and showcases), recall certain events together, capitalising on occupational pride or confronting them with facts, were techniques that stimulated the memory of the respondents’ memories. Based on the questionnaire, the unique biographical story of each witness was recorded.

The executive or third phase consisted of two parts. The archival disclosure by transcribing, coding and making the interviews available through the sound archives overview on the one hand.
The public-facing disclosure on the other. A study day on oral history communicated to the archives sector, while the general public was introduced to this form of history in the exhibition Boned Out!

STUK, a history 1977-2015

Stuk, een gechiedenis

Marleen Brock

Publisher Hannibal, 2015


In spring 2015, STUK celebrated. For 37.5 years, the Leuven arts centre has been at the artistic forefront. A book (STUK, a history 1977-2015; Hannibal Publishing House) and an exhibition (Was it now ‘t Stuc, STUC or STUK?; STUK Expozaal) underlined this contrarian anniversary. At the same time, the historical retrospection served to pause for a moment and look back, only to choose a new future as the House for Dance, Sound and Vision. Yet such a radical change of direction is by no means unique in historical perspective. Reinventing itself is in the DNA of the organisation, as a logical consequence of the constant search for artistic renewal.


In this smoothly written book, cultural historian Marleen Brock (KU Leuven) tells the story of 37.5 years of STUK – not a nicely rounded anniversary, but as contrary as the arts centre itself. Amusing anecdotes and quotes from interviews with key figures, photos, posters and documents bring the rich history to life.


KU leuven



This study on Catholic-inspired poverty care in Brussels between 1945 and 2000 is conducted by doctoral student Els Minne. Central to the research is the question of how Catholic poverty organisations managed their religious identity in a society that was firmly rooted in Catholic traditions, but where the pressures of ‘secularisation’ and ‘modernity’ began to increase. The research starts from eight case studies of both Catholic personalities and Catholic-inspired organisations that took up the fight against poverty.


Through an analysis of letters, newspaper articles, publications and oral history, the practices and discourses of these actors are examined. What help did these organisations offer, and what target group did they have in mind? What role did religion, from volunteers or clients, play in the organisations? In what ways did they try to influence political policy or academic research on poverty? How did the organisations respond to the increasingly diverse group of people living in poverty? By seeking answers to these questions, the project aims to complement knowledge about the role of religion and welfare states with local experiences, thoughts and practices.

The sociability of patients in Belgium

KU Leuven


Tim Debroyer – Joris Vandendriessche (Promotor) 

Organisations, expertise, and experiences (1950-2000)


This project conducts exploratory historical research on self-help groups and patient associations in Belgium in the second half of the 20th century. It will provide an overview of the development of these associations and identify key source collections (archives, publications, journals, …) to enable further research on this theme within medical history and health humanities. The project consists of a bibliographic survey, followed by a deeper content analysis of journals. In collaboration with the Trefpunt Zelfhulp vzw, it will also engage with current patient associations to identify archival collections and conduct a selection of interviews with early members. Thanks to these exploratory analyses and interviews, the project will offer insights into the diseases or medical conditions around which sociability among patients first took shape, and what patient associations did or did not have in common from a historical perspective (e.g. in their relationship to doctors, the media or the government).

From worried sisters to valuable buddies

Historica nr. 1 2023 – jaargang 46


“Fellow sufferers…they helped me tremendously.” With these words, Johan C., one of 19 historical witnesses in my research, indicated the importance of informal information exchange during the AIDS epidemic alongside official and medical communication such as government campaigns and doctor consultations. Yet both in Johan’s testimony and in the other historical testimonies, it did not remain just peer contact, but appeared to involve a much wider informal information circuit from family and friends to buddy systems and other initiatives. But what were the concrete options in Flanders and Brussels, how were they experienced, what information circulated within these informal networks and was there also a circulation of ignorance?


Ellen Van Laer


Not only official and medical networks proved important in the circulation of information during the AIDS epidemic. The historical witnesses Ellen Van Laer interacted with as part of her thesis also emphasised the importance of more informal networks such as family, friends and peers. These networks, their history, experiences with them and memories of them are the subject of this article.