Diplomatic Witnesses

Created by Marc Dierikx and Cees Heere, with support from Stijn Berendsen, Arthur Bruin, Boukje van der Hoeden, and Mari Smits.

Diplomatic Witnesses is oral history project on the history of the foreign relations of the Netherlands. It is comprised of interviews with ca. 40 former diplomats and policy officers who contributed to the making and execution of Dutch foreign policy., from security policy and European integration to development aid and conflict mediation. The total collection comprises almost 100 interviews sessions, which are presented here as a resource collection for historical research.

The interviews detail the recollections and reflections of Dutch diplomats, thereby creating a composite image of key international events from the perspective of the Netherlands. As personal recollections, these interviews also contain information that has not been included in the documentary archive.

The interviews have been recorded in video format, and subsequently transcribed as written text. To ensure the collection’s accessibility, various transcription and search technologies have been deployed to create a website that can be searched in a variety of ways. The interviews presented here are intended as a historical source for researchers to acquire further insight into diplomatic practices, strategies, and challenges. The collection is only available in Dutch.