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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.

Broken promise [Verbroken belofte]: 70 years of Moluccans in the Netherlands

Link to interviews
Mijn Stad Mijn Dorp

 

Verbroken belofte

Ditta op den Dries

9789083183411 

 

The book was self-published.

Ordering can be done by sending an email to: dwllatupeirissa[at]gmail.com

The book Verbroken Belofte is an initiative of the 70 Years of Moluccans in Overijssel Foundation [Stichting 70 jaar Molukkers in Overijssel]. The personal interviews with Moluccans of the first, second and third generation were conducted by journalist Ditta op den Dries. The oral history stories give a picture of how Moluccans in Overijssel – 70 years after – look at their history and how they have found their way in Dutch society.

In addition to the personal stories, the book includes sketches of the seven places in Overijssel with Moluccan neighborhoods: Zwolle, Deventer, Staphorst, Almelo, Wierden, Rijssen and Nijverdal. At the official book presentation in Nijverdal, Moluccans from all seven municipalities gathered for the first time for a day of remembrance.

The pain of their history is still palpably present in all generations of Moluccans. The fact that younger generations in the Netherlands do not know Moluccan history is perceived as very distressing. There is little or nothing written about “the Moluccan issue” in educational books. In order to learn from history, the Moluccan story must be told permanently.

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 …

 

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.

Indonesian portraits

Elderly Indonesians and Chinese-Indonesians in Yogyakarta

The art project Indonesian Portraits by Martin van den Oever, Petra Timmer and Jos Janssen was created as part of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies’ research programme From India to Indonesia. It consists of two parts. This part consists of interviews with elderly Indonesians in Yogyakarta, who learned Dutch during the colonial period.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1920s – 2006.
They mainly talk about the Netherlands and Indonesia. Themes include World War II, Japanese occupation, fear, connection with the Dutch language and the Netherlands, youth, Indonesian revolution, schooling, Japanese language.

The collection is of limited public availability. If interested, please contact Jos Janssen.
The collection is on DV tapes. To preserve the interviews permanently for the future, digitisation and transfer to an e-depot is desirable.

The female hero

Wendy Janssen . De vrouwelijke held. In Wim Willems & Jaap de Moor (red.), Het Einde van Indië: Indische Nederlanders tijdens de Japanse bezetting en de dekolonisatie.
Sdu Uitgeverij, 1995

 

PhD research on identification processes in a postcolonial context; a study of intergenerational transmission among three generations of women of Indian background.

 

Wendy Janssen was a PhD student at the Belle van Zuylen Institute for Multicultural Gender Studies where Selma Leydessdorff was director. She wanted to investigate how narratives are passed on within families, and how different generations view their families’ reception in the Netherlands and their place in society over the years. Questions included: How are you seen? How do you see yourself? And how do you deal with that?

 

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1920s – 1996.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, arrival and reception in the Netherlands, identity, Dutch society, positioning, adaptation.

 

Management: The collection is managed by Wendy Janssen.
Preservation: The collection is on cassette tapes. To preserve the interviews permanently for the future digitisation and transfer to an e-depot is desirable.

Education in St. Maarten from 1954 to 2000

Education in St. Maarten from 1954 to 2000 – An Oral History Account

Milton George

ISBN: 978-1-4438-8892-9

Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016

Sample

 

Semper Progrediens – A Story of the Coming of Age of Education in St. Maarten (1954 – 2000)

KU Leuven, 2013

PDF Dissertatie

 

This book narrates the development of education in St. Maarten between 1954 and 2000, by tapping into the experience of the protagonists, giving them a voice in the recording of their own history. As such, it lends a voice to postcolonial subjects, who have often been bypassed or forgotten by most traditional historians, and thus rendered voiceless. The work is based on both written and oral history, including interviews with important educational agents, as well as former pupils and parents. By doing this, it describes the overall framework of education in St. Maarten within the juridical space of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

 

The first part of the book deals with the Dutch Antilles in general, and with St. Maarten in particular, examining the effects of slavery and its consequences. Both before and after the restructuration of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1954, education was essentially shaped by the different religious denominations on the island. Over time, St. Maarten’s schooling system developed from an almost non-existing entity to a well-structured one, which closely resembled the educational framework in the Netherlands, its former colonial ruler.

 

Part two reflects the respondents’ reactions to several issues concerning education in St. Maarten. It was only after local St. Maarten students became teachers that topics about the island found their place in the curriculum. Even though it took some time to integrate St. Maarten in the curriculum, the people did not (and still do not) have the feeling that education has let them down. It is only now that they are beginning to question whether, and to what extent, schools were, and are, able to positively influence young people. In the past, they believed that schooling – however foreign its curriculum may have been – did actually help them to find a niche in the world.

 

After studying both written and oral sources, the book concludes that the coat of arms of St. Maarten is representative of its findings about education on this island: Semper progrediens – “Always progressing”. Education in St. Maarten has progressed without showing radical breaks.

 

Dr Milton George was born in Suriname, and has lived and worked in St. Maarten, the Netherlands, London, Belgium, and Oman. His research interests and publication comprise education, religion, linguistics, and the sociology of the Caribbean. In addition, he has also coordinated and taken part in several volunteer projects in India, Ethiopia, and Egypt.