Two years ago, Maartje Duin created the podcast series “The plantation of my ancestors”. In this podcast (Prospektor/VPRO, 2020), she searches for traces of the slavery past in her family history. She discovers that her great-great-grandmother held a share in the Surinamese sugar plantation Tout Lui Faut and seeks contact with descendants of the enslaved. Together with Peggy Bouva, she reconstructs this history. At the end, they bring their families together.
The series is one of the best-listened-to Dutch-language podcasts and won several awards. It inspired many listeners to look for traces of the slavery past in their own family history.
Following the series, Maartje founded the Tout Lui Faut Foundation in June 2021 together with Peggy Bouva and Rehana Ganga. The foundation aims to bring about a permanent change in the historical knowledge and perception of Dutch people. It does so in the conviction that, as a society, we can only move forward from togetherness. It wants to continue the dialogue that arose following the podcast “The plantation of my ancestors” in a sustainable way.
The foundation organises public evenings to make the personal involvement of Dutch people with the history of slavery visible and open to debate. These evenings are always marked by dialogue. The public is actively involved by talking to each other in groups.
Other activities of the foundation include facilitating meetings between descendants of both sides of the slavery past and giving guest lectures at schools.
This year, the foundation organised three public evenings in Zeeland. The first took place on March 30 in Middelburg’s Civic Hall with former newsreader Noraly Beyer and former GP Jan de la Hayze in attendance. Jan was descended from Evert van Emden, a plantation owner who kept domestic servants in slavery. One of them was Noraly’s foremother Sophietje. When Evert’s wife died in childbirth, Sophietje became his son Egbert’s wet-nurse.
Over a century and a half later, their descendants felt they had a distinct bond with each other. Jan: “At the end it dawned on me, and that moved me, that our ancestors drank milk from the same mother’s breast.”
The second meeting took place on July 6 at the MuZEEum in Vlissingen. Discussions were held with Maartje’s mother Albertine Duin – van Lynden, psychiatrist Glenn Helberg and Angelique Duijndam of Anti Discrimination Bureau Zeeland on the impact of the slavery past.
The third meeting will take place on October 21 Jochem Sprenger as guest. Following the podcast, he went looking for the slavery past of his patrician family from Zeeland. “Well, I was shocked by the enormity of it. (…) It was as if an entire bookcase fell on me.”
These meetings were made possible thanks to a financial contribution from the Hurgronje Family Fund.