Current research

A research programme which focuses on the experiences, expectations and actions of the (Dutch) resistance during the occupation and connects them to contemporary experiences and issues.

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Project leader: Prof. dr. Ismee Tames
Researchers i.a.: Prof. dr. Marjan Schwegman, dr. Bas von Benda-Beckmann, drs. Jeroen Kemperman, Milan van Lange MA, Koen Kluessien MA, Lauren Heida MA
Intended publications: websites, blogs, expositions,  presentations, lectures, monographs, articles
Cooperation: Amsterdams 4 en 5 mei comité, Stichting Oranjehotel, Nationaal Archief, Vfonds

More information 

In the historiography of ‘the resistance’ the implicit starting point is that the lives of people 'in the resistance' were, in all respects, the opposite of the lives of those who weren't. This can be seen in the mere use of terms like ‘illegal’, ‘underground’ and ‘clandestine’. The term 'resistance' itself also points to such a contradiction, as it is being set against ‘adaptation’ or ‘collaboration’, with ‘resistance’ automatically indicating ‘good’. Hence, it cannot and is not allowed to be used to indicate 'wrong'.

The research programme Heel gewoon of juist bijzonder? [Very ordinary or quite special?] will take a closer look at these kinds of contradictions by putting itself in the shoes of contemporaries.

In 1940 nobody knew how the war was going to end. People's actions and thoughts were determined by previous experiences, expectations, social networks and religious or political convictions. The later-to-be-named ‘the resistance’ was yet to be formed. By looking over the shoulders of contemporaries we can look at well-known topics, such as the use of violence by resistance fighters, with a fresh pair of eyes.

NIOD's resistance programme aims to change today's prevailing image of ‘the resistance’ during the German occupation as it does not allow the current generation to link knowledge about the resistance with present-day experiences and issues.

That prevailing image strongly accentuates the special character of ‘the resistance’. As a result, resistance practices appear to run counter to other wartime practices and very distant from the present.

Thanks to its innovative approach this study will not be conducted in a social vacuum, but through lively interactions between scholars and interested citizens and organisations.
The research programme consists of various modules. New modules may be added to the existing overview depending on the availability of resources and suitable partners in the Netherlands and abroad.

The following modules have been started:

  • Imprisoned because of resistance: The Orange Hotel: Research about the prison the Orange Hotel during the occupation. (Dutch project)
  • War in the lecture halls: the student resistance during World War II and the Dutch universities: The goal of this project is to investigate Dutch student resistance under German occupation. (Dutch project).
  • Resistance in the Dutch police durance the Second World War: Research into the circumstances individual police officers believed that resistance was necessary. (Dutch project)
  • A Transnational Approach to Resistance in Europe, 1936-48: This project aims to re-evaluate and recast the history of resistance to hegemonic and occupying empires in Europe between 1936 and 1948, which has been occluded by dominant narratives of national resistance, the Cold War and the Holocaust.
  • War and Emotions: Mining expressions of emotionality in Dutch political and public language related to World War II (1945-1989): the researcher investigates emotional expressions in political and public debates related to World War II.
  • Houses of Resistance: Cooperation project with 4 and 5 May Committee Amsterdam. For more information: House of Resistance (Dutch Project)
  • Workgroup Resistance: In this working group researchers from the NIOD, universities and other institutes meet each other about five times a year. They talk about current resistiance research and stimulate new research..
  • Holocaust Memorial Day: The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 is: Resistance!
  • Crowdsourcing Project: Resistance Newspapers: Together with the National Library and the Meertens Institute NIOD is looking for volunteers who are willing to overtype resistance newspapers. The overtype articles will be imported into Delpher. (Dutch project)