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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.

Forever connected

Foto's: Peter Groenenberg, Bertwin Leentvaar, Erik en Lyanne Paskamp, Frank Clement

Voor altijd verbonden – De inzet van de eerste Nederlandse blauwhelmen in voormalig Joegoslavië 1992-1994

Maranke Pater



Together with Anton van Renssen, Maranke Pater interviewed over 20 ‘Bosnia veterans’, including Sergeant Major Arie van der Marel from Harderwijk, about their experiences in Croatia and Bosnia for her podcast. The battalion left from the barracks in Garderen. When the connectors arrived in the UN-protected areas, some international battalions were not yet present, leaving the connectors to survive in an area where there were still several tense situations due to the conflict.


September 2023 saw the publication of the book ‘Forever Connected’, which Maranke Pater wrote based on these interviews and the more than 40 additional interviews conducted. The book is full of stories from veterans of the 1 (NL) UN Signal Battalion, the liaison battalion that travelled to the former Yugoslavia in April 1992 under the leadership of her father, commander Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Vermaas.

It not only tells her father’s story of the origins of this peacekeeping mission under UNPROFOR and the shelling of the Rainbow Hotel in Sarajevo where he stayed with the main force, but also the stories of 60 other veterans involved in the mission. In more than 30 locations in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, the liaison officers managed to rustle and pioneer connections that mattered to the UN. They are stories of survival, powerlessness, trauma, but above all: camaraderie. Forever Connected represents the connections these soldiers had to make, but also the bond they had and still have with each other. It had been the first and last time an entire liaison battalion was sent out. The biggest adventure for the Dutch Liaison Service.


Together with Anton van Renssen, Maranke Pater made the #podcast ‘Forever connected’ about 1(NL) UN SIGNAL BATTALION in former Yugoslavia, in cooperation with the Dutch Veterans Institute.

In time, the interviews with the #connectors will be included in the Interview Collection Dutch #Veterans of the #NLVi #ICNV #UNPROFOR

Connected forever

Podcast on the Liaison Battalion
Maranke Pater-Vermaas is the daughter of Hans Vermaas, the first commander of the 1 (NL) UN Signal Battalion going to Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia in April 1992. A fierce civil war is going on between Serbia and Croatia and the UN sends peacekeeping force UNPROFOR to the area. It is the first time an entire battalion of liaison officers is sent out. In this podcast, Maranke delves into her father’s past and follows the tracks of the liaison battalion in eight episodes.

For the podcast, over 20 veterans were interviewed about their experiences in Croatia and Bosnia. Creators of this podcast are: Maranke Pater, Anton van Renssen, Misha van der Hoef and Piet Nelemans.

The Ranchi Babies

On the way from Indonesia to the Netherlands, 37 babies are born on steamship Ranchi. It is 1950: Indonesia has just gained independence. KNIL soldiers and their families had to leave the country in a hurry by ship. They had often lived in the colony of the Dutch East Indies for generations and many of them had never been to the Netherlands. In the podcast The Ranchi Babies – a colonial legacy, Joost Wilgenhof tracks down all the ‘Ranchi Babies’; they are now in their seventies. He delves into their family history and the fraught colonial legacy their parents gave them. What are they stuck with?


Wilgenhof also follows historian Esther Captain, who was commissioned by the Dutch government to help research Independence, decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia. Esther finds herself caught up in a debate resembling trench warfare and confronted with her family history.


Passengers steamship Ranchi, including ‘Ranchi Babies’ and their relatives with Indian, Javanese and German-Chinese backgrounds, among others

Genesis, objective and/or main question: The project started with the discovery of a photograph of the arrival of the steamship Ranchi, departing for the Netherlands from Indonesia in August 1950. Passengers are KNIL soldiers with their families. After a month, the ship arrives in Amsterdam. In the meantime, 37 babies have been born. An exhibition at Museum Perron Oost (Amsterdam) (with partner International Institute of Social History (IISG)) prompted documentary maker Joost Wilgenhof to go in search of these ‘Ranchi babies’. He made five audio portraits that have been published on Museum Perron Oost’s website. He then worked on a six-part podcast series. The podcast is a production of Stichting Autres Directions and Aldus’ for NTR and NPO Radio 1 and co-sponsored by the NPO Fund and the Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten.


The main questions are: How did your parents end up in Indonesia and what do you know about it? How did it affect the family? How did the family fare in the Netherlands? What stories did you get from your parents and how do you deal with them? Photos were also issued for some interviews. Joost Wilgenhof continues to search for descendants of the ‘Ranchi Babies’, including the third generation. In addition to the audio portraits and podcast series, he is working on a book of stories from those involved.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the 1920s – present.
They mainly focus on Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, migration to the Netherlands, migration to the United States, colonial legacy.


Management: The collection is managed by Joost Wilgenhof. He wishes to transfer the interviews to an archive such as the IISH in the future.

Accessibility: The collection has limited public access. The rights for use lie partly with Joost Wilgenhof, partly with the producer of the podcast. If interested, please contact Autre Directions Foundation:


Preservation: The collection has been digitised. To preserve the digital files permanently for the future, transfer to an e-depot is desirable.

‘What do you actually know about me?’

Baby Pam van der Veen met haar moeder Marjan. Beeld privéarchief Pam van der Veen



During the months when her husband is at sea, Marjan van der Veen, the mother of journalist and podcast creator Pam van der Veen, writes him airmail letters. A box containing some three hundred letters turns out to be in the attic after her death. With the text: for Pam.

It is a golden find, the letters provide a wonderful time picture of housewife life in the 1960s and 1970s. And of the emancipation of a smart woman like Marjan in a Dutch village.

The podcast Wat weet jij eigenlijk van mij? features excerpts from letters and also features Pam’s father Charles and friends of her mother. You hear the past passing by: oral history at its best.

War on the Veluwe

The podcast series War on the Veluwe covers war events from five Veluwe municipalities. The episodes consist of a combination of oral history, interviews with experts and results of literature research and new archive research. The first episode deals with consequences of the Putten raid, which will be commemorated next week. Special features of this episode include an interview that the last deceased returned Putter, Jannes Priem, gave at Putten railway station in 2012 about his experiences.


Roel Zuidhof, director of the Nijkerk Library: ‘The podcast series Oorlog op de Veluwe introduces people to the history of the Second World War in an innovative way. The use of background sounds evokes a penetrating atmosphere. Publishing podcasts is a new service ideally suited to libraries. It fits perfectly with several of our statutory tasks, such as making knowledge and information available, providing opportunities for development and education, and introducing people to art and culture.’

In several episodes, people read from original documents. In De gijzeling in het stadhuis, 15-year-old Loïs Bredemeijer reads from the diary of Cootje Callenbach. She was 15 in 1944 when she wrote her story about the taking of over 40 Nijkerkers hostage in the Nijkerk town hall. In the episode Farm De Harscamp, a voice actor reads from a brother’s diary. In addition, the brother’s son is interviewed.


The podcast series focuses on war stories from the Veluwe municipalities of Barneveld, Ede, Ermelo, Nijkerk and Putten. The five participating municipalities are funding part of the production. In addition, as part of 75 years of freedom, a contribution has been granted by the Mondriaan Fund on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. In awarding the grant, the Mondriaan Fund spoke of the project demonstrating “good cultural entrepreneurship”. The podcast series was created by Nijkerk historian Anton van Renssen in collaboration with sound engineer Piet Nelemans from Veenendaal


For the podcast on Oorlog op de Veluwe, Anton van Renssen used interviews from previous projects in addition to interviews with experts and relatives of those involved. For instance, he was able to draw on the interviews he made for the Witnesses’ Stories project. This gave these stories a new target audience.

Renssen officially made the series for the Biblitheek Nijkerk, but also for five Veluwe municipalities: Ermelo, Putten, Nijkerk, Barneveld and Ede. The podcast series has nine episodes. This project brings together his love of history and radio. In this project, he works together with sound engineer and musician Piet Nelemans and more than 50 volunteers. Renssen signed up for the research, script writing, editing and final editing. In short: actually for almost everything.

For these podcasts, Renssen uses new and existing interviews. The music is by Dutch Jewish musicians who were victims of the Holocaust. He may use these with the permission of the Leo Smit Foundation.

Dutch Indies and Moluccan patients of sanatoria

Renkum, Oranje Nassau's Oord 1930-1932 - Gelders Archief: nr. 1513 - 723, Boekhandel Joppe

Podcast series on Dutch Indies residents of sanatorium Oranje Nassau Oord in Wageningen

About ‘Black Sinterklaas’ and caring for returnees with tuberculosis

The podcast focuses on how Indonesian and Moluccan Dutch with tuberculosis were received and cared for in the Netherlands and how they experienced their stay in the sanatorium. The focus is on events in the late 1950s at Oranje Nassau’s Oord (O.N.O.), a sanatorium for lung sufferers in the municipality of Wageningen.

The podcast series touches on current themes. For instance, it focuses on a highly contagious, deadly disease (tuberculosis) for which patients had to live in quarantine or isolation. It also deals with the reception of tens of thousands of displaced people who had to be given shelter at short notice. All this happened at a time of very high housing shortage. The podcast passes by solutions that The Hague came up with for these problems at the time.

The creator of the podcast series is historian Anton van Renssen. The reason for making the podcast series are some documents he discovered in his mother’s archive. She worked as a social worker for the municipality of Wageningen from 1957 to 1959. Her main task was counselling Indonesian and Moluccan Dutch people in Oranje Nassau Oord. In her archive is a notebook with names of people she visited to help. This list of names served as a starting point for the search for former patients and their relatives. That search yielded extraordinary stories that can be heard in the podcast.

In the podcast, Van Renssen tells the story based on conversations with, first and foremost, his mother, but also with historians, former O.N.O. nurses, the son of the sanatorium’s spiritual attendant, a Moluccan former patient and a survivor of an East Indies patient. To put the story in context, he did historical research in various archives.


The Pool Club


For the podcast The Pool Club, Annegriet Wietsma used oral history


Annegriet, with the memories of protagonist George in her pocket, will explore whether she can check his story (fact-check) with stories of other possible (eye) witnesses, in archives and at locations. In other words, a search for the truth of a hidden past.


George grows up in post-war Amsterdam, in a poor family. He roams the streets a lot. To earn some extra money, he scavenges with interested male passers-by. He is approached by a kind photographer who allows the lad to pose in exchange for money. Naked. The photographer also takes him to a public swimming pool where working-class kids are allowed to swim occasionally for an evening. And then the story takes a bizarre turn.


“Well… and then came the pool club. That you had to swim in the nude. And that there were grown-ups who appreciated that. And then there was always money in your jacket pocket. Five guilders or so.”


In this interview you can read more about Annegriet Wietsma’s motivation to start making this series and the role of oral history.


The Pool Club is a podcast by NTR, created with support from the NPO fund and the Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten and can be listened to via the website and app of NPO Radio 1, the free NPO Luister app and other podcast platforms.


The story is partly based on the book Verboden Photos; an Amsterdam Novel, Helmut van de Berg (pseudonym), Uitg Gigaboek, 2005-2019

Moluccan takkie

Through takkies with guests and experts, Uriel Matahelumual and Rio Lekatompessy share stories as their Moluccan ancestors did. Stories from there to here, from then to now, from you and from me.
Rio and Uriel take you on their quest for Moluccan identity. As third-generation Moluccans in the Netherlands, there is so much to discover about the rich history, the black pages, but also certainly the beautiful sides of the culture and portraits of Moluccans anno 2021. So let’s start, whose are you?

Cerita Cisca – encounter with history

She looks back on Apartheid in the colony of the Dutch East Indies, her student days, the Proklamation and the optimism and dynamism of the young Republic of Indonesia. She also talks about her family and the great importance of women’s emancipation.


In 10 episodes, you will listen to moments from the life of Cisca Pattipilohy, who, as a 95-year-old, looks back on various periods in her life. Periods that were partly marked by the great line of history and the various cultural transitions she experienced.


Cisca was born in 1926 in Makasar as the only daughter of Moluccan Bandanese parents in a family with three brothers. She grew up within the hierarchical structure of the colonial society with an exceptional father who, as an ‘inlander’ – an inhabitant of the indigenous group that was on the lowest rung in his own country within the apartheid society – managed to acquire his own business and a position that allowed him to send his children to study in the Netherlands, where he had to pay triple the amount of a Dutch inhabitant. Studying in the Netherlands, Cisca saw that the Dutch did ordinary work here, something that was unthinkable in the class society of the Dutch East Indies colony.