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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.

On your own

Lenie van der Hoorn, in 1985 de eerste officiële winnares, passeert de finishlijn op de Bonkevaart in Leeuwarden. Foto Leo Vogelzang

Op eigen houtje – De ongelooflijke verhalen van vrouwen in de elfstedentocht
Jessica Merkens

Ambo | Anthos uitgevers

ISBN: 9789026360930


Op eigen houtje is about the backward position of women on the ice. The thread running through the revealing book is the history of the Elfstedentocht, a popular festival. But one in which women were not allowed to participate in competition until 1985.

Jessica Merkens bases her research on oral history, visited dozens of former participants or descendants of them.

Frisian war children


With the Frisian War Children project, the Resistance Museum Friesland has captured 15 stories on film of Frisians who experienced World War II as children. In addition to the authentic objects in the tangible collection, the Resistance Museum is using these stories to create a digital core “oral history” collection. This collection is also already a prelude to the Resistance Museum’s new presentation in the new Fries Museum.

Kinderen van de oorlog. Verhalen uit Sneek en Zuidwest Friesland 1940-1945

Ton van den Berg

Uitgeverij Louise, 2013

Children of War contains personal memories of the Second World War in Sneek and South-West Friesland. The core of this book consists of thirteen short and three long testimonies from those directly involved. In words and images, it gives a personal insight into the life of a child during the war. These are not just stories about events in Sneek and South-West Friesland. They are above all poignant testimonies about tension and emotion, about fear and friendship. The many photographs come mostly from personal archives, bringing the stories even closer. The testimonies are placed in perspective with a historical reflection on far-reaching war events in Sneek and South-West Friesland, written by historian Meike Jongejan. The foreword is written by former mayor Bernhard Van Haersma Buma, son of mayor Sybrand Marinus van Haersma Buma, who died in a concentration camp during the war.

In the talking chair

Op de praatstoel – Verhalen uit Noordoost Friesland vanaf 1850

Historische Vereniging Noordoost Friesland, 2008

2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the North-East Friesland Historical Society. As part of this, 14 members went out to interview 31 elderly people.
These interviews cover all kinds of topics, such as the [disappeared] profession of the interviewees, village and city life of the past century and wartime experiences.
As they are not only told from their own experience, but also pass on stories from parents and grandparents and, in one case, great-grandparents, the book covers a time span of up to 150 years.
The interviews are supplemented by a number of ego documents, people’s own previously written accounts of part of their lives.
The 37 stories published in this book provide a beautiful and vivid portrait of life in the Northeast Friesland region over the past 100 years. Some of the stories are recorded in Frisian.
More than 200 photos, in the ± 300-page thick book provide a valuable addition and make the whole a fine reading and viewing book of one’s own area.
Members of the association and interested parties can pre-order the book until 1 March 2008 for just 15 euros + 3.35 postage. After 1 March, the book will cost slightly more + any postage. The book will be released in mid-April and will be presented at the members’ meeting on Saturday 19 April in Dokkum.

King on socks

Kening op sokken

Hylke Speerstra

Friese Pers Boekerij/Uitgeverij Noordboek,1983
ISBN: 9033001608


Hylke Speerstra consulted a dozen former handball players about what inspired them to start playing handball in the first half of the 20th century. This resulted in six portraits of handball players who played for “Master” in those days. Speerstra has written down the stories with a great sense of drama and sentiment, which will appeal to many readers. The writer has not limited himself to those who know the rules of the game, so that the non-bouncer can also get a taste of the atmosphere and humour of the game.

Visiting by skate


Op redens oer, schaatsverhalen

Hylke Speerstra

Bornmeer, 1984



Speerstra talks about the heroes of the ice: speed skaters, men and women, and also about some who took part in the Elfstedentocht. These trips are fascinatingly described; the way the struggle and perseverance on the toughest of them is sometimes breathtaking.


The great Frisian short track ice champions were world-famous in their own landscape. Names that live on. Men and women who in the early 20th century sometimes gathered a whole farm with land and cattle together. Yes, it was not just about honour; in poor times, sometimes it was even more about money.


As such, their stories also reflect the sharp social differences and acrimonious struggle for existence in the first half of the 20th century. Here are women and men who know about bending and cracking, about perseverance and – sometimes – the odd miss. At the request of some narrators, the first and second editions of the book did not mention their names. After consultation with the relatives in later printings, they are. Because they are heroes, they are an example for all Frisians, including today’s skate professionals.


Strong characters, and how strong they were in body and soul. The 15 people interviewed in 1982 would live to be over 88!



Iisleafde – Anne Visser-van Keimpema (1893-1985) Himpens/Earnewâld

De deserteur – Hilbrand Rudolphy (1897-1989) De Gordyk

It ferbûn fan Beets – Pyt Dykstra (1895-1986) Nij Beets

De erflike ferplichting – Albert Koning (1907-1998) Nijetrine/Wolvegea

De faam fan Spaltenbrêge – Easger van der Meer (1889-1987) Grou/Akkrum

It geile iis – Bouke de Vries (1907-1988) Sint Nyk

De Alvestêderider – Abe de Vries (1907-1995) Dronryp/Parys

Sipke Castelein (1911-1995), Wergea/Warten

It koarte draachflak – Gepke Fokkema (1895-1986) Feanwâldsterwâl/Hurdegaryp

De fiifentweintich-gûne-rider – Piter Brouwer (1904-1985) Langwar/De Wylgen

It bline momint – Thys Klompmaker (1903-1987) Aldehaske

It wûnder fan Snikswaach – Jolle de Jong (1907-1989) Sniksweach

Jaap Slof (1902-2002) De Jouwer

Trije oan de stok – Marie de Groot (1911-1999) Wergea

Klompen – Pietsje Feitsma (1918-1991) Hilaard/It Hearrenfean



Hylke Speerstra

Friese Pers Boekerij/Uitgeverij Noordboek, 1996

ISBN: 9789033014734


Simmerlân (1996), in which Hylke Speerstra reported on the walking trips he made (then as editor-in-chief of the Leeuwarder Courant) through Friesland two summers in a row, was again written according to this procedure.

It Simmerlân, based on news that was too small to make the newspaper. ‘Then I spoke to people on the street. In no time, they turned completely inside out about their existence, about their loneliness.’


Simmerlân is a collection of 27 stories that Speerstra initially published as journalistic impressions in the Leeuwarder Courant, when he wandered through Friesland in the summers of 1994 and 1995. Those impressions – expanded and processed – were published as a book in 1996. One of those stories is called In dauwiete moarn yn Spears (A morning – wet with dew – in Spears). During that walk, Speerstra discovers that the time-honoured family farm was no longer there. He then muses briefly about Hantsje Jans: ‘Hy hat myn famylje erflik belêste mei it reedriden’ (He hereditarily burdened my family with skating).

On clogs through the dessa

Op klompen troch de dessa, Indiëgongers fertelle

Hylke Speerstra

Uitgeverij Bornmeer, 2014

ISBN: 9789056156237


Op klompen door de dessa, Indiëgangers vertellen

Hylke Speerstra

Olympus, 2015

ISBN: 9789046706251


In Op klompen door de dessa, Speerstra records a total of eighteen stories of Frisian ‘Indies-draftees’.

Speerstra is Friesland’s oral history specialist and one of the province’s most widely read authors. His fame will certainly have contributed to these men – most of them around 90 – wanting to share their experiences of the Indonesian war of independence (1945-1950).


On the Dutch action in the Dutch East Indies. A colonial war, most boys had no idea what awaited them. To Hylke Speerstra, they could finally tell their whole story.

The Dutch military action in the Dutch East Indies shortly after World War II was a colonial war. Op klompen door de dessa tells what that war meant for the men who had to do the dirty work. A few still think it was good, but most boys never got over their traumas. They literally trudged through the dessa on clogs – they had no idea what awaited them: guerrilla, executions, war, even though they had just emerged from that in the Netherlands. The men are now well into their eighties and finally want to tell their whole story. In Hylke Speerstra, they found someone who is a good listener and a master storyteller.


20150517-Waltzing Mathilda in Fries Landbouwmuseum

Heil om seil

J. Welles - Olieverfschilderij: het laden van turf in een skûtsje

Heil om seil

Hylke Speerstra

Friese Pers Boekerij/Uitgeverij Noordboek

ISBN: 9789033012464 

Speerstra made his debut in Friesian in 1968 with Heil om seil, a successful collection of bargee stories, which would be translated into Dutch three times. In it, he demonstrated for the first time the method by which he would become known: that of a journalist who writes stories, in which the facts he has collected are presented in a literary way. He himself referred to this as “new journalism” during an interview in 1999.

Speerstra has been compared to Geert Mak, who is similarly engaged in chronicling oral history in the Dutch-speaking world. For Heil om seil, he conducted interviews with all kinds of skippers, salvagers, dredgers and tuggers.

Naked and bare before the doctor

Neaken en bleat foar de dokter,  ferhalen út ‘e sprekkeamer

Hylke Speerstra

Uitgeverij Bornmeer, 2006

ISBN: 9789056151348

In his second book, Neaken en bleat foar de dokter (Naked and bare before the doctor) (1978), Speerstra applied the oral history method: it was written based on interviews with doctors and veterinarians.


Speerstra has written down the memories of 15 Frisian doctors, including a surgeon, a dentist and a veterinarian. It has become a readable, exciting book that captures a beautiful piece of folk life. It takes place entirely in the countryside. The stories are anecdotal, funny and often very sensitive, in a natural, idiomatic language. Thus, the great social contrasts experienced by the doctors-in-rest are also touchingly drawn.