Freedom as theme

Freedom often comes up in people’s stories. This is true for people who lived through World War II, for people who had to flee their country, but also for other groups.




Ongekend Bijzonder

Photo: Monument to the Abolition of Slavery in Nantes

The Sprekende geschiedenis Hub is conducting a pilot project titled Freedom as theme.

People in the Netherlands generally take freedom for granted. So much so that they often do not realize what it takes to maintain freedom. In the current discussions following the corona measures, it seems to be mainly about individual freedom. But experiences of people in the past show that freedom means much more.


The aim of the Freedom as Theme project is to:

  1. Examine in practice what is involved when you want to connect different oral history collections and make them searchable on a certain theme.
  2. Make an inventory of what speakers from different periods and groups mean by the concept of freedom.

The project Freedom as Theme started in October 2021 and will last until September 2022.  It consists of two phases


Phase 1: Developing content

  1. Selecting 150 to 200 interviews from the collections of the Netherlands Veterans Institute, the NIOD, the Ongekend Bijzonder (refugees) project and a yet-to-be-chosen oral history collection from the municipality of The Hague.
  2. Developing a tool for volunteers who:
    • Transcribe these interviews where necessary.
    • Label the interviews based on the meaning the speakers give to the concept of freedom.
  3. Support and guide the volunteers in their work.
  4. Publishing engaging excerpts of stories on the Speaking History website.

Phase 2: Making presentations and educational material

  1. With 20 volunteers from The Hague (youngsters from Schilderswijk and Moerwijk and adult refugees) making digital presentations about freedom. For this they use quotes from the interviews and their ideas. The participants will receive a course from artists who work with digital material.
  2. On the basis of the digital presentations they will create a digital exhibition about freedom that will be shown at Sound and Vision The Hague.
  3. In collaboration with young people, developing educational material about freedom for young people participating in Social Service Time projects. This involves material that encourages young people outside of school to work with this theme.
  4. To explore the concept of freedom in greater depth using stories from the past and present, to place it in the current social context and to relate it to the democratic constitutional state.

The project is carried out in cooperation with:





Martin Luther King

There is nothing in all the world greater than freedom.


The theme Freedom:

  • connects past and present

  • invites you to think about the future

  • appeals to very different people and groups

  • touches upon deep human motives

  • is about the relationship between individual people, groups, organizations and the state

  • changes with the times and the social context, but also has a number of constant values