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Occupation and Liberation in Amsterdam

3 oktober @ 10:15 - 12:15


The memory of the occupation and the resistance during the Second World War and the joy over the liberation mark the developments of the Dutch fifties and sixties. After a traumatic occupation period, the real liberation comes during the reconstruction period in Amsterdam, as a new generation dances away yesteryear’s conservatism in the Casablanca on the Zeedijk. As that new generation works its way out of poverty in the busy port and at modern Schiphol Airport, and as that new generation discusses away conservatism in the city council. In a series of eight lectures and two excursions, historian Dionijs de Hoog explains to you about war and resistance in Amsterdam and about the wonders of the reconstruction period immediately after the war.


Session 1: The Occupation


During this lecture we will discuss the situation during the interwar period immediately prior to the German invasion. Then we will look at  the German invasion of the Netherlands and the way the Germans occupy Amsterdam. We will discuss the first occupation year, with an emphasis on the reason why events in Amsterdam made the occupier’s attitude in the Netherlands much more hostile.


Session 2: Amsterdam gets a harsh treatment


During this session we will look at the way in which the occupation took shape during its second phase. How were the Dutch treated and how was the Jewish Amsterdammer sidelined? How did Amsterdam react to this? We look at the resistance and the misbehavior of the Nazis. How did the deportations of the Jewish Amsterdammers take place in this period? … but also: how was life for the rest of the Amsterdammers in this period?


Session 3: World War II excursion


During this excursion we visit the Hollandsche Schouwburg, where the Jews of Amsterdam were gathered for deportation. We also visit the Resistance Museum and the brand new Holocaust Museum to see what happened in Amsterdam during the Second World War.


Session 4: Hunger winter and liberation


During this lecture we will discuss the last occupation year, during which the south would be liberated, but the north and certainly the west would not. We deal with the Hunger Winter in Amsterdam, the last acts of the German authority and the ultimate liberation.


Session 5: Commemoration and Reconstruction Excursion


During this excursion on bicycle we visit the most important places of commemoration in Amsterdam. We also take a look at the current Gerrit van der Veen College, where during the Second World War the feared Sicherheitsdienst was housed. In Amsterdam South we also visit the monument on the Apollolaan. Then we look at the most striking buildings of the Reconstruction.


Session 6: Politics after the war


During this lecture we see how after the war the first PvdA mayor in Amsterdam comes to power. It is the energetic Arnold Jan d’Ailly, who is to lead a city council in which the CPN is the most powerful party. The cooperation is going well at first, until the mayor turns away from the communist party, partly as a result of the tensions of the Cold War. He is succeeded by resistance hero Gijs van Hall who is a strong supporter of the construction of the IJ-tunnel and ‘the Bijlmer’. Van Hall led the city in a proper manner, which made him the face of the conservative establishment in the turbulent sixties. The societal rebllion of that time cost him his head.


Session 7: Restoration inner city


During this lecture we will discuss the physical repair of Amsterdam. After the Second World War, things went badly with the city center of Amsterdam. A large part of the residents of the inner city have disappeared and in the places where they lived, demolition is often the only answer that politicians come up with. There is optimism and there is faith in the future. That future looks like the inner cities in America … and Rotterdam. That is how Amsterdam should look like! Early on there are Amsterdammers who fight for the preservation of the original city center, but initially nobody pays attention to their ideas.


Session 8: The harbor


During this lecture we see how the port gets its old function back after the war. There are many shipyards and in the eastern port area there is a concentration on passenger transport to the Dutch East Indies in particular. But soon passenger transport is discarded, as Indonesia becomes independent in 1949. Not to worry – with the same level of ambition, the construction of oil tankers gets a boost. These oil tankers are getting bigger and bigger and that also applies to the size of the port. Whoever wants to create employment in Amsterdam, always concentrates on the development of the port.

Session 9: Schiphol

During this lecture we will discuss the situation of the national airport in May 1945. The airfield was so severely damaged in 1943 by American bombing that it was no longer usable for the Germans. The same Germans completely destroyed the airfield at the end of the war, so that the Netherlands had to start again with the construction of an airport. For a moment, it was a question of whether Schiphol was still awarded that honor, but in 1949 the decision was finally taken that Schiphol would regain its old function as the most important airport. The economic engine that Schiphol would soon become afterwards greatly helped the Netherlands to get back on its feet during the Reconstruction.

Session 10: Culture and the City

During this lecture, we see how the baby boom from after the Second World War rejuvenates the city and how a consequent youth culture explodes during the turbulent sixties, when the generation of the baby boom is coming of age. Nevertheless, a great deal of tension had already been placed on the strict approach of the Reconstruction years. Because Amsterdam remained the most liberal city in the Netherlands, it attracted freethinkers and bonvivants from all over the Netherlands, who brought even more freedom to the city. Together with the real Amsterdam youth who act increasingly rebellious, they oppose the mores of the times. The political parties in Amsterdam also participate in the resistance of the youth.

The actual liberation of the Second World War comes with a revolt against the establishment. This time it is the baby boomers who revolt. They do away with the imposed conservatism of the reconstruction period. In a playful manner they undermine the establishment and the safety of the prosperity and social security of the Netherlands of the sixties ensures that they can do it with a smile!

This course consists of ten meetings, which are held on Wednesdays from 10:15 in the morning until 12:15 in the afternoon Amsterdam City Archives at Vijzelstraat 32. The course starts on Wednesday October 3rd. The course end on Wednesday December 12th. There is no lecture on Wednesday October 24th.

You will receive a free digital syllabus with this lecture series.

Price: € 248, –


3 oktober
10:15 - 12:15
Evenement Categorie:


Vijzelstraat 32
Amsterdam,1012 HKNederland
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25 beschikbaar
Occupation and Liberation248,00

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