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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

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.


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.

The treasury – The first witnesses of our century

Paul Julien (1981)

Hilda Verwey-Jonker (1983) (cc – Rob C. Croes / Anefo – Nationaal Archief)

Emile Schüttenhelm in 1968

Serie vraaggesprekken met Nederlanders die aan het begin van de twintigste eeuw zijn geboren


Paul Julien 1901-2001

Interview with 93-year-old anthropologist and chemist Paul Julien. Julien talks about: his childhood in

Utrecht; his exclusively science-oriented interest, as a result of which social and political developments

during his youth; his expeditions to Africa and what he sees as the positive impact of colonialism on tribal war-torn Africa. Julien shows gloom about the future due to the decline in moral awareness and does not even consider it out of the question “…that we are heading for a Third World War.”


Hilda Verwey-Jonker 1908-2004

Interview with sociologist and former member of parliament Hilda Verwey-Jonker (1908) about her childhood in Zuid-Beveland and Zwolle; the SDAP milieu she grew up in; the position of women in the early twentieth century; sexuality as experienced by students; her grandchildren; the rise of right-wing extremism in the 1930s and her functioning in male strongholds such as the SER and the United Nations. Verwey-Jonker fears the consequences of the ageing of Western society. According to her, poorer peoples will take over some of the prosperity without having the technical and scientific knowledge to deal with the environment responsibly.


Emile Schüttenhelm 1909-2003

Interview with former NTS president Emile Schüttenhelm (1909) about: the Catholic environment in which he grew up; World War I; the rise and fall of communism; the rise of right-wing extremism in the 1930s; his participation in the World Jamboree in 1937 and his meeting with Lord Baden-Powell; his liberation in 1945 and the presidency of the NTS, for which he was asked because, according to minister Cals, he was the only one who had a chance to “survive” in Hilversum.

Schüttenhelm reminisces about Henk Terlingen and looks positively to the future, as he believes every generation has the commitment and creativity the future needs.

The first witnesses of our century

Jan Tinbergen – foto: R.C. Croes, ANEFO, 1986

Willy Corsari – foto: Edith Visser, ca. 1948

Arthur Lehning (1976)

Jeanne Bieruma Oosting – Zelfportret (1932)

Chris Walder – Foto: Johan van Gurp, 1993

Corrie de Roos-Oudegeest, 1961

Series of six interviews with people born around 1900 about their memories of and experiences in the 20th century.


Jan Tinbergen 1903-1994

Interview with Jan Tinbergen about his youth, the end of WWI, his study of physics in Leiden and his contacts with his tutors Paul Ehrenfest and Albert Einstein; his work at the Central Bureau of Statistics mn crisis management in the 1930s; about his transfer in 1936 to the League of Nations in Zurich and the cooperation during WWII with experts on international law such as Van Asbeck and van Eysinga t. his research into the role of international treaties; his passivism and anti-colonialism, the research by the CBS into the economic consequences regarding overseas territories and his criticism of Min. Drees’ attitude towards de-colonialisation policy. He also talks about his research into world issues such as developing countries and environmental problems, which according to him require a global approach by means of a world government, and about receiving the Nobel Prize in 1969. Finally, he gave his vision of the future in terms of an economic balance between production and fairer income distribution and his desire for a more sober and idealistic society.


Willy Corsari 1897- 1998

Interview with Willy Corsari about, among other things, her unhappy childhood, the artists’ milieu in which she grew up, the origin of the name Corsari, her studies of piano and singing and writing girls’ books, her memories of The Hague and Berlin, where she took singing lessons; her life with Jean-Louis Pisuisse’s cabaret company and pre-history of his murder. She talks about the publication of her first books, about euthanasia among other things, and her love for the theatre, which she stopped attending on principle during the war; the work of the resistance and helping Jews during the war years and the positive memories of the occupation period with regard to human relationships; about the publisher Leopold, who committed suicide, and her move to cooperative publisher Lubberhuizen/Blommestein (later De Bezige Bij), where she left after conflicts.


Arthur Lehning 1899-2000

Interview with Arthur Lehning about his exciting stay in artists’ and anarcho-syndicalist circles in Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s, the rise of fascism, his views on the political movements of the time, including the Spanish civil war, his initiative to found the international politically engaged art magazine “i10” and the people, including Mondrian, Kandinsky and Nagy, who contributed to it. He talks about his childhood friend Marsman and the ideological conflict between them in the 1920s; about the Spanish Civil War, his reasons for actively supporting the socialist revolution and his stay and meetings there; his experiences in the internment camp on the Isle of Man, England, after the neutralisation refusal, in connection with his political activities, of the Netherlands, his activities regarding the Cold War and the Paris protest movement ’68. He calls the past century “this terrible age” and sees few positive prospects for the next one.


Jeanne Bieruma Oosting 1898-1994

Interview with Jeanne Bieruma Oosting about her childhood years in the affluence of noble and aristocratic circles; her early love of painting and her studies at the Art Academy in The Hague during which time she met Queen Wilhelmina. She talks about her teacher Van Konijnenburg, her impressionist style of painting, her departure in 1929 with Charlotte van Pallandt for Paris and her 11-year stay there where she met Piccaso, among others, and became fascinated by the city’s seamy side and nightlife; about her stay in the south of France after the outbreak of the war, the return to occupied Holland and the productive years in Amsterdam. Oosting talks about her painting and graphic work, including the design for children’s stamps and her self-portraits, the stroke that struck her and the happy life she enjoyed.


Chris Walder 1900-1997

Interview with Chris Walder about his childhood in Breda, where he learnt to play football on the streets early on, his first matches, the mobilisation and outbreak of WWI and his training to become a notary; playing football at NAC, the various Dutch championship matches and the various NAC players around 1920-’21; NAC’s national championship, after which he was selected for the Dutch national team. He talks about the fact that back then there was no training programme for the team and the big difference with today’s football.

He believes he could have come along now too, because it always remains about the talent.


Cor de Roos-Oudegeest 1899-1998

Interview with Cor de Roos-Oudegeest about her background, memories of the railway strike of 1903, her father Jan Oudegeest (chairman NVV and SDAP politician), WWI and the support committee; the reactions in Dutch socialist circles to the Russian Revolution, her joining the SDAP and her activities for the SDAP women’s union, the rise of communism and fascism and the outbreak of WWII, the occupation years and her husband’s resistance work.

She talked about politics after the war, including the Dutch East Indies, about Minister Drees’ views on the inferior position of women, her entry into parliament for the Dutch Labour Party in 1956 and her reasons for leaving active politics. She sees the biggest changes in this century as the great growth of prosperity and participation, but also a much more selfish society, which leaves her with a not very positive feeling for the future.


The interviews were conducted as part of several film projects. Roy Villevoye is a visual artist and filmmaker and has been visiting West Papua since the 1990s. His focus is on the Asmat in southwest Papua. He is interested in personal stories of, and the (historical) relationships between, different groups: Dutch, Indonesians and Papuans. The interviews have been used in several films (partly together with Jan Dietvorst) including Give me soap. Give me a towel and The new dress in which missionaries speak, the film Evidence, And the Trumpet Shall Sound, Owner of the voyage and Propeller.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1945 – 2017.
They mainly discuss West Papua, Asmat, Merauke, the Netherlands and Indonesia. Themes include World War II, Indonesian occupation, colonial times, missionaries, plane crash.

The Transition

Interviews with people of different generations with Dutch and Indo-European backgrounds who migrated from Indonesia to the Netherlands.


Riekje Hoffman interviewed different generations of Dutch people and people with Indo-European backgrounds for the exhibition The transition. The interviews are made up of three parts. The time before departure, the journey to the Netherlands, and the arrival and stay in the Netherlands. Based on these interviews, Riekje Hoffman made collages with family photos of 15 families who migrated from Indonesia to Amersfoort. These were exhibited in 2021 as part of the exhibition IMPACT-photos that matter in the Rietveld Pavilion in Amersfoort. Visual material of 5 of these interviews is available.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1920s – 2021s.
They mainly discuss the Netherlands and Indonesia. Themes include Indonesian revolution, daily life.
Management: The collection is managed by Riekje Hoffman.
Access: The collection is of limited public access. If interested, contact can be made at


Notes on The Transition by Riekje Hoffman:


The Indian Silence? Me Hula!

Riboet YouTube-channel:

YOUTUBE channel

Riboet storytelling is a collective founded in 2012 that uses personal stories to connect heritage institutions and the public. The collective collects stories in a variety of ways. For instance, Riboet collects and shares Oral History in a theatrical setting in front of a live audience in the stage programme Café Riboet, but stories are also recorded via the story swing, the Storymobile, the Storybetjak and the Story Cupboard.


Riboet collaborates in this with the Indisch Remembrance Centre, the Hague Historical Museum and the Tong Tong Fair, among others. Some videos are edited, others are not. The length of the interviews varies greatly, from short street interviews of a few minutes to interviews of half an hour. All interviews are recorded with a predetermined final product in mind. The aim of the interviews and productions is to discuss current and historical themes and contribute to the connection between people and society.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1930s – present.
Mainly Indonesia, the Netherlands and New Guinea are discussed. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, correspondence, migration, arrival in the Netherlands, ties with Indonesia and the former Dutch East Indies, memories, objects, culture.


Management: The collection is managed by Riboet Verhalenkunst. In the near future, the collection will be transferred to the Indisch Remembrance Centre (IHC).
Access: The collection is currently not accessible. After transfer to the Indian Remembrance Centre, the collection can be accessed and viewed.

Dutch East Indies veterans

Doede Bruinsma (1926) grew up in Harpel, Groningen. He had volunteered for the army in 1946 because he saw conscription coming. Bruinsma left for the East Indies in November 1947 on the troopship the Groote Beer. He served as a sergeant major administrator in Sanga-Sanga, the oil rig in Borneo, and later in Wanaredja in Central Java. Bruinsma returned to the Netherlands in January 1950.
After the debate on the conflict between the Netherlands and Indonesia revived in 2012, OVCG created an Oral History project in cooperation with the Gronings AudioVisual Archive (GAVA). This project focuses on the experiences of three Groningen East Indies veterans. With this, OVCG tries to give people a better understanding of the conflict between the Netherlands and Indonesia from the point of view of East Indies veterans. The film below was the result, in which three veterans, including Doede Bruinsma, tell the story of their time in the East Indies.


The interviews were conducted by War and Resistance Centre Groningen. The interviews deal with the Indonesian War of Independence and the role of the interviewees in it. The three interviews have been made into a 30-minute montage.
The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1946 – 1949.
They mainly discuss the Netherlands, Groningen and Indonesia. Themes include Second World War, Indonesian revolution, expectations, conscription, war volunteers, adjustment problems.


Jan Hummel, Doede Bruinsma and Anton Schurer talk about their time in the Dutch East Indies between 1946 and 1949 in this montage. The montage is an excerpt from three Oral History interviews conducted by OVCG.


Oral History Ned. Indië veteranen OVCG from Groninger Archieven on Vimeo.

Disability and Self-Governance

Foto Harry Pot / Anefo (CC0): Mies Bouwman tijdens de actie Open het Dorp


prof. dr. M.K. Baár

dr. P.W. van Trigt
prof. dr. M.K. Baár
E. Pollaert

Instelling: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Tijdsduur: 1 juni 2022 tot 1 juni 2027

Onderzoeksprogramma: SGW Open Competitie

Dossiernummer: 406.20.HW.004

The Village: the idea of an accessible neighbourhood for people with disabilities is gaining traction in several countries. Together with two PhD students, Baár and Van Trigt will investigate how this spread took place. They also want to map the local history of the neighbourhood near Arnhem, partly by using oral history to record residents’ stories. The project should also help to safeguard Het Dorp’s endangered archives and historical objects, which are falling into deterioration.


How can engagement with the concept of disability contribute to writing more inclusive histories? The project pioneers this concept as its central analytical category for undertaking the first comprehensive historical study of Het Dorp â?? a self-governing, accessible residential community for people with severe physical disabilities and chronic illness near Arnhem which was initiated in 1962 by the largest telethon in Dutch history. Employing the methodologies of global microhistory and participatory heritagization the research pursues four major aims:


  1. It reconstructs the (micro) history of het Dorp and uses it as a platform for addressing issues of societal exclusion & inclusion, accessible living, citizens’ rights and responsibilities and the changing role of the welfare state in providing for vulnerable groups in the Netherlands and globally
  2. It generates new insights into postwar global history by illuminating het Dorps enormous and hitherto entirely unrecognized impact as a model inclusive establishment in several countries across the world and by reconstructing its extensive transnational networks which crossed ideological divides.
  3. It adopts a public history perspective and with the active participation of het Dorps community members it integrates its multifarious societal, cultural and architectural legacy into the field of heritage and memory studies.
  4. Synthetizing the accumulated knowledge at the meta-level it instigates new theoretical and empirical avenues in the historiography of disability that challenge and diversify the Anglo-American perspectives currently dominating the field.