Founded in 1996, the Leo Smit Foundation is dedicated to the music of Dutch composers who were persecuted during World War II. Many of these composers were Jewish; a number of them did not survive the war. Subsequently, their music was forgotten.
To draw attention to this theme, the Leo Smit Foundation has set up an exhibition entitled ‘Composers in wartime’. This exhibition travels through the country and can be seen in the Nieuwe Kerk in Middelburg until November 3, 2023.
This part of Dutch music history has been told very little. On eight long double-sided printed panels, 20 composers are introduced through the following themes: choirs and orchestras, music schools, film and theatre, Concert Hall, hiding, camps, after the war. Visitors get to know these – almost – forgotten composers by reading stories and letters, looking at photos and manuscripts and listening to the music. This brings the composers (eight of whom did not survive the war) and their work closer.
There is a QR code on the panels, making the music directly available to listen to on a smartphone.
For this project, a collaboration was established between several (Middelburg) organisations: ZB Library of Zeeland, Etty Hillesum House, Music School Zeeland and the New Church. A project for schools is organised by the Etty Hillesum House in relation to the exhibition. Pupils of Muziekschool Zeeland will play pieces from the composers’ repertoire during the opening and/or the meeting at ZB Library of Zeeland.
After ‘The plantation of our ancestors’, I started to delve further into my ancestors. More specifically, into the relationship between my great-grandmother, Marietje countess van Lynden – Calkoen (1886-1986), and her servant, Mina Marinusse (1912-2003). For half a century their lives were intimately intertwined: before the war at Ter Hooge castle near Middelburg, afterwards at Berkenbosch in Oostkapelle.
As the countess’ great-granddaughter, I have known both women and have felt a lifetime of discomfort over their relationship, which I see as the epitome of unfreedom. But what did freedom mean in 1930s Zeeland? And how did that change in the 20th century, which was revolutionary for women?
In the podcast series ‘Mina & Madam’, I search for answers. In conversations with family and acquaintances of both Mina and Madam, I stumble upon a rich history of women that keeps overturning my assumptions. In eight episodes, ‘Mina & Madam’ tells a story of class, choice and dependency that spans generations. It raises bigger questions: what did Mina and Madam pass on to us about what you can be as a woman? And can you ever break free from your background?
As descendants of Marietje countess van Lynden – Calkoen, we are in the happy circumstance that the diaries she kept from the age of 13 to 100 have been preserved. In no fewer than 87 volumes, she describes from day to day her childhood, her marriage to Rudolph Willem Count van Lynden, pre-war life at Ter Hooge Castle near Middelburg and post-war life at Berkenbosch near Oostkapelle. I understand from historians that we have a treasure on our hands.
Unlocking these diaries is a very labour-intensive process, for which I formed a working group of family members a year ago. With assistant Lotteke Boogert, graduating historian, we are in the process of inventorying them and transcribing parts. We are working towards an inventory in which anyone can search by name or event.
Excerpts from the diaries will be included in the podcast. With this, we hope to reach as large an audience as ‘The plantation of our ancestors’, which was listened to over 1.5 million times. The VPRO history programme OVT (NPO Radio 1), where the series will be broadcast spring 2024, already accounts for 250,000 listeners.
In addition, we are specifically targeting a Zeeland audience through an audience participation programme. We will organise a series of meetings at different locations, asking the audience to share their experiences on themes from the podcast. We will develop this programme further in the coming year. The Nazomer Festival has committed to this component as a partner.
An important by-product of the research is that the diaries will be transferred to the Zeeland Archives. The latter has already contributed to the project by scanning the diaries free of charge. As to the extent / term of disclosure, we as descendants still need to agree on this in view of the privacy of still living family members. We will decide when all volumes have been read and processed.
The Hurgronje Family Fund has made a financial contribution to the creation of the podcast series.
Project Flute Colors is an idea of Dutch flutist Rogier de Pijper. During his studies, de Pijper immersed himself in the possibilities of the flute, especially modern playing techniques. The original aim was to make the techniques newly developed in the 20th century for flute more accessible to a wider audience, both the listener and the amateur player. Rogier developed a teaching method that has now been translated into English and German and is used worldwide. Rogier also gives workshops and concerts internationally.
The Flute Colors Cities Project
Project Flute Colors expanded its goals in 2019 when cultural life was largely at a standstill due to Corona. Rogier sought contact with composers, poets and musicians active in the Netherlands and, while brainstorming, the Cities Project was born. Composers from the historical cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague were asked to write a new composition for flute and piano and (city) poets wrote a poem describing the city for each composition. This collaboration led to a successful premiere in the Amstel Church in Amsterdam. The city project is gradually expanding to other cities. Rogier works with professional musicians and poets.
City project Middelburg
Rogier de Pijper has been invited for this concert by flutist Maaike van der Heijdt, who lives and works in Middelburg. They have worked together before; in 2022, Rogier was a guest in Kapelle, where over 45 flutists took part in the Flute Colors workshop. Following this, and after the premiere in Amsterdam, the idea arose to realise a version of the city project together in Middelburg.
As one of the founders, Maaike van der Heijdt was involved in the programming of the Stichting Klassiek van Dichtbij. That Foundation has received several donations from the Family Fund, but unfortunately the founders were recently forced to dissolve the Foundation. A number of activities have stopped, but there are also new initiatives, including the present Flute Colors project.
A week before the concert, a workshop will be organised to which all amateur flute players and teachers from Zeeland are invited. For the concert, cooperation has been sought with poet/writer Anna de Bruyckere (city poet 2018-2019), pianist Rien Balkenende (organist in the Koorkerk and piano teacher at the Zeeland School of Music) and Middelburg composer Christian Blaha.
In 2022, Christian Blaha wrote a 4-part work for flute and piano dedicated to the flute-piano duo Maaike van der Heijdt and Rien Balkenende. In addition, this duo plays Rudolf Escher’s sonata. Rogier de Pijper plays 2 works from the Cities Project, where Anna De Bruyckere will create a text about Middelburg for one of these works. Rien Balkenende accompanies both flutists.
Goals of the project
To put the city of Middelburg in a different light in context with several other Dutch cities with a rich history. In this programme, these are Utrecht and Rotterdam.
Bring contemporary music and poetry closer to the listener in an accessible way, precisely because of the connection with the city and with the artists who live and work there now. The works form a whole and will be performed as a full concert programme.
Getting young people excited about poetry, classical music and getting them to take an interest in the history of their city. This angle offers them a new perspective. Contact will be made with schools and young people will be able to attend the concert at a discount.
The Hurgronje Family Fund made a financial contribution to the realisation of this project.
The Raepenhofje on the Palmgracht in Amsterdam was founded in 1648 by Pieter Adriaensz Raep, treasurer of the city of Amsterdam. The property originally had six houses, with a total of 12 downstairs and upstairs dwellings. One house was converted into a regent’s room in 1905.
The foundation Het Raepenhofje aims to preserve the national monument and provide housing for underprivileged women. Originally, these were widows without children and old unmarried women. In addition to free housing, the residents of the hofje received 25 baskets of peat, a forefoot of an ox and a deuvecater (type of currant bread) at Christmas every year.
To maintain order at the hofje, an overseer was appointed and there were regulations. Anyone who did not follow the rules was fined or had to leave the court within a month for serious offences such as theft.
Around 1980, older residents could hardly be found for the simple little houses. It was therefore decided to amend the statutes. To preserve the hofje, young, unmarried women were allowed to occupy the houses. From then on, rent was also paid, a relatively small amount.
The hofje is still inhabited by young women, mostly students. Meanwhile, there are two overseers.
On September 17, 2023, the Raepenhofje Foundation celebrated the 375th anniversary of the Raepenhofje. The first part of the celebration took place on the (filled-in) canal with local residents. The Amsterdam municipality granted the hofje the jubilee medal and chairman Mariëtte Zoetmulder was honoured with a royal decoration.
The festivities then continued at the hofje with (former) residents, board members and those involved in the recent restoration.
My name is Iris Haverkamp Begemann, and I am a documentary photographer from Amsterdam. Through my work, I often shed light on the stories of people who are less visible in society. I strive to create images that empower my subjects, and I undertake projects that span over extended periods.
With the photobook “I Went on a Holiday to the Country You Fled From,” I aim to break free from the prevailing perspectives of “me” and “the Other” that reduce the lives of refugees to abstract concepts. Instead, I hope to foster a collective consciousness by telling the story from a “we” perspective because I believe that we are all both part of the problem and part of the solution.
In the summer of 2021, I faced a dilemma when contemplating a holiday to Mexico. It wasn’t just about choosing a destination; it was about the impact of my decision on my dear friend Alejandra Ortiz, a Mexican writer and activist who identifies as a trans woman. As a white cis-gender woman, my privilege granted me easy access to visit Mexico, but the same freedom was nearly impossible for Alejandra, given the challenges she faced as a trans woman living in her own country. Meanwhile, Alejandra has been denied a residence permit in the Netherlands for seven years because Mexico is considered “safe” for her.
The questions gnawed at me – Would my visit inadvertently shape the image of Mexico as a carefree vacation destination, while it remained unsafe and unwelcoming for Alejandra and others like her? I felt the urgency to address this disparity and shed light on Alejandra’s plight. This journey marked the beginning of my photo series, “I Went on a Holiday to the Country You Fled From.”
Through this series, I sought to deconstruct the common perception of Mexico as a mere vacation spot and delve into the complexities and hardships faced by marginalized individuals like Alejandra. Guided by a hand drawn map, I immersed myself in her hometown, capturing her memories and experiences. When I returned to the Netherlands, Alejandra beautifully complemented the photographs with her profound thoughts and reflections.
But this project transcends the individual story of Alejandra; it extends to embrace a larger community. For the epilogue of the book, titled “They Can Cut All the Flowers, but They Cannot Stop Spring,” I ventured to meet, portray, and interview other transgender individuals who continue to live in Mexico, seeking refuge in places where they feel safe and accepted.
Publications and exhibitions
The photo series has resulted in several beautiful publications, including features in WePresent, Het Parool, De Volkskrant, PF Magazine, and Switch Magazine. Recently, the series won the Dutch Photography Award ‘23. Additionally, the photo series has been exhibited at Melkweg Expo in Amsterdam and at Outernet Global in London, curated by WePresent.
About the photobook
In addition to the photo series of Alejandra’s birthplace, the epilogue titled “They Can Cut All the Flowers, but They Cannot Stop Spring” is printed as a zine on smaller format newspaper paper and bound within the book. Anthropologist Nancy Siblini (a transwoman who fled from Lebanon) has also contributed an essay on identity and belonging for the book. Finally, the book includes a conversation between Alejandra and me about the relationship between the “subject” and the “photographer,” and our collaboration.
Together with graphic designer Tjade Bouma, I have worked with great joy and dedication to compile all the stories into a photobook.
During the weekend of 16 and 17 September 2023, the art fair Art within Means will take place for the third time in a row. The fair is an initiative of family member Nadja Willems-Raadsen.
As an artist, Nadja has experienced first-hand that it is not easy to advertise your artworks, let alone sell them. Artist fairs are often very expensive for participants without the organisers seeming to put much effort into attracting a good trade fair audience. That’s why Nadja decided to organise a fair herself. But one that is low-threshold, affordable for the artists and free to the public.
Thus, the first Art within Means saw the light in 2021 in the Royal Stables of Soestdijk Palace. Despite corona restrictions, the fair attracted 1,000 visitors. In 2022, the fair was organised for the second time, this time in the Royal Greenhouses, and attracted 2,000 visitors!
This year, the fair will take place in the Prince Bernhard Garage of Soestdijk Palace. The advantage of the Garage is that it is larger than both the Stables and the Greenhouses, making room for more participants this year. The following artists will present their work:
Bastiaan van Amstel, Ilse Blommestein, Eefje van den Braak, Mies van den Brûle, Jola Geldermans, Pieter Haagen, Trudie van Haaster, Soraya van Houwelingen, Josua de Jong, Mieke Jonker, Frank Linsewski, Anne-Marie Mackor, Peter van Oostzanen, Chris Rodenburg, Peter Schipper, Mary Splinter, Petra Spigt, Jean-Marie van Staveren, Corine van der Werf, Sandra Westgeest, Inge Prins van Wijngaarden, Nadja Willems and Erik Zwaga.
Although not originally from Zeeland, Martien Beversluis lived much of his life in the province of Zeeland, in Veere to be precise. He did not live there alone, but together with his (second) wife, Johanna Verstraate. This young lady – a lot younger than Martien! – , with the clear nickname Jo, was born and raised in Veere, the daughter of a lockkeeper.
After a career in radio, Martien turned to writing poetry and novels. His wife also wrote, but sought her themes closer to home: the rural novel. Her stories were set in the province (and especially on Walcheren) – and the text spoken by the characters was rendered in dialect. She used various pseudonyms for her work (Dignate Robbertz, Jo van Wentveldt, Sylvia Mares, Jola de Canter) and had a lot of success – especially in the province of Zeeland. In many Zeeland families one would find Jikkemien, Volk van Basalt, Geertrui, the witch of Veere, Man te Roer or her later youth books.
Their personal lives were, to put it mildly, rather turbulent, and Martien Beversluis’s in particular stands out: he evolves from moderate Protestant to socialist, later even communist. He turned to the Reformed faith and in World War II he joined the NSB and even became a sympathiser of the German SS. At the end of his life, he moves into circles of Catholicism and anthroposophy. What kind of man is this? An opportunist? A weather vane with no backbone? Ordinary follower?
Theatre is an important medium particularly for portraying emotional processes. In a theatre play, the protagonists speak for themselves, react to circumstances and also share their doubts.
Valreep Foundation develops and performs theatre plays with a Zeeland background. In early 2024, Stichting Valreep plans to release the play Dansen op der Boede, a play about the complex life of the above-mentioned Martien Beversluis and his wife. This solo performance is performed by one actress: she plays Johanna Verstraate who tells the story of her husband. She is of course loyal to her husband, but in some cases perhaps also shows the doubts she had about his peculiar manoeuvres.
The performance is strongly localised in the municipality of Veere, long home of the illustrious couple, but also portrays the social climate in the province of Zeeland, and particularly Walcheren between the two World Wars. The performance is a moving play that intertwines personal history with the historical context of the province.
Last June, publisher Het Paard van Troje published a special book in cooperation with Liberation Museum Nieuwdorp: Zeeland in World War II in comic book form. The text of this comic book is by historian Jan Zwemer, the drawings by Danker Jan Oreel. Both have previously published “Zeeland in comic book form”.
The book is suitable for young and old, and it will certainly appeal to young people. It is the first comic book to depict the entire war in Zeeland.
Rien de Graaf, churchwarden of the Reformed Church of Stavenisse is kind enough to regularly update the Family Fund on the latest developments regarding the restoration of the mausoleum of the Lord of Stavenisse Hieronymus van Tuyll van Serooskerke. Several articles about this fascinating project can already be found on the website.
In July this year, we received the following message from Rien de Graaf:
The effigy is in Amsterdam in the studio of Tobias Snoep, two slots have been cut into it at the bottom and stainless steel strips have been placed in it to reinforce the statue. We are currently awaiting the outcome of the examination on how to handle the desalination; samples have been taken in consultation with TU Delft by Ms Barbara Lubelli and Hendrik Jan Tolboom of the RCE. The remaining parts are stored in the church due to lack of space in the studio in Amsterdam.
Another interesting piece of news is that filmmaker Sander Snoep, brother of the sculptor Tobias, is going to make a documentary about the restoration of the tomb.
Specifically, the following work has now been carried out:
Work floor raised to the floor height of the tomb.
Side pieces of tomb and front frames splinted and carefully lowered to flat on the floor and then packed into wooden crates.
All remaining parts of the tomb detached and packed for transport.
Loaded everything very carefully and left for Amsterdam, where everything was neatly stored in Tobias Snoep’s studio.
Chipped loose the stone-filled space between the tomb and the back wall and removed iron bar with dowels
Reinforced the underside of the back wall to prevent it from collapsing.
“Kick-off meeting” in the consistory on the restoration of the church and the mausoleum.
Scaffolding erected, skulls taken off and packed into crates.
Both “wildemannen” dismantled and packed.
Crown dismantled and packed.
Family coat of arms dismantled and packed.
Right half circle black marble disassembled and packed.
Crates made for various parts.
Left semicircle black marble and short sections of cornice dismantled and packed.
Cracked pilaster chopped loose and packed various parts.
Hourglass and corner pieces of the cornice dismantled and packed.
Left intermediate piece and upper skulls dismantled and packed. Preparations are being made in Amsterdam to cut slots in the front in order to reinforce the sculpture.
Both corner pieces dismantled and packed. In Amsterdam, slots are cut and stainless steel strips 1 cm thick and 5 cm high are successfully installed.
Preparation to dismantle the right-hand cornice.
All coats of arms dismantled and the crates with parts all tidied up and prepared for transport to Amsterdam.
All loose parts put together at the back of the church and all crated pieces moved there in view of transport to Amsterdam. Noir de Mazy parts stored in the tower.
Continued loosening the middle heavy part of the cornice.
Last part of the cornice chopped loose.
The rest cleared and partly measured in from the back of the monument. Amsterdam to finish the underside of the sculpture and return it to its usual position.
Remaining part of the monument measured in.
Preparation for dismantling cornice.
Left small pilaster dismantled, this will go to Amsterdam with three coats of arms for additional salt examination by Barbara Lubelli. Furthermore, everything selected and numbered for specimens to be examined by TU Delft.
In Amsterdam for partial removal of the reinforced plaster.
Work area in the church cleaned up.
Storage area behind the wooden pews shielded with wooden boards and started preparations for dismantling the cornices.
Right-hand cornice and middle cornice dismantled.
Middle Noir de Mazy piece above the text plate and left cornice dismantled.
Started by freeing the text plate at the rear to cut through the dowel for subsequent disassembly.
Continued removing the plaster on the Amsterdam statue.
Continuing with the removal of the plaster corset.
Removed brickwork behind the stone components to access the dowels.
Cleaned up in preparation for evening of singing in the church on 30 April.
Continued chopping loose the stones behind the natural stone back wall.
Some parts of the left side of the back wall dismantled.
Further dismantled left side back wall and text plate.
Further dismantled left side of back wall and removed masonry from behind tomb.
On August 18, 2023, Consort of Voices was back in the Great Church of Veere. With Apollo e Dafne by G.F Handel, the ensemble, led by conductor Korneel Bernolet, performed an ode to the arts. Vocal soloists were Heleen Goeminne (soprano) & Kris Belligh (bass). The collaboration with visual artist Renée Herleef was exceptional. During the concert, she created visual work on three canvases, starting on the first note of the music and ending on the very last. The audience followed the full creative process from A to Z.
The artistic result was a dialogue between classical music and visual arts, involving the live audience. During the live performance, visual artist Renée Herleef appeared on stage as a third soloist, so to speak.
Apollo e Dafne
Apollo e Dafne is a story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. This timeless story fits surprisingly well with our fast-changing society, whose main themes are desire and transformation.
In 1625, Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) commissioned Cardinal Scipione to create the world-famous sculpture Apollo e Dafne, which can be found in Galleria Borghese in Rome. Other artists have also been and continue to be inspired by this ancient story. Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) set the story to music in 1710 in the form of an extended secular cantata (a kind of mini-opera) for two vocal soloists (soprano and bass) and baroque orchestra.
Consort of Voices
The ensemble has been active since 2010 with a base in Middelburg. It is the only baroque ensemble in Zeeland that makes music according to the principles of historically informed performance practice. This means that the ensemble approaches the music as much as possible from sources such as autographs and facsimiles, researches playing methods and plays on historical instruments or copies thereof. In this way, the ensemble builds on the ideas of the great pioneers of the second half of the 20th century such as Gustav Leonhardt, Nicolaus Harnoncourt and Frans Brüggen. Musicians with whom the Netherlands built an important international reputation in the field of baroque music.