John Jansen van Galen
(Velp) studied political and social science. From 1968 to 1990 he worked for the Haagse Post, the last five years as editor in chief. Nowadays Jansen van Galen until 2015 was one of the regular presenters of a NOS current affairs radio programme. In 1970 he came to Surinam for the first time to work as a radio journalist and he soon became acknowledged as the Netherlands' expert on Surinam. In 2000 his book Hetenachtsdroom (Hotnight's dream) was published. This is about the influence of Surinam's nationalism. In 2004 his book De toekomst van het koninkrijk (The future of the Kingdom) appeared, about the decolonisation of the Dutch Antilles and Aruba. Jansen van Galen also writes books about hiking. In 2016 his book De gouden jaren van het linkse levensgevoel: Het verhaal van Vrij Nederland, a history of the left wing weekly Vrij Nederland.(2016)
Archive available for: John Jansen van Galen
How can literature serve a greater understanding of history? Ellen Deckwitz (1982) wanted to write a poetry collection about her grandmother's life during the dying days of the Dutch East Indies and decided she could not do so without traveling to Indonesia herself. The resulting De Steen Vreest Mij (2011) earned her the C. Buddingh' Prize for best poetry debut. One of the most important poets of her generation, she is a welcome guest at literary venues. Deckwitz writes about history in poems that render its events palpable.
Over her storied career, South African writer and journalist Antjie Krog (1952) has been deliberating on the question whether the power of words can stand up to the power of actions. Writing in Afrikaans and English, many of Krog's books and poetry collections have been published or translated into English, including Country of my Skull, A Change of Tongue, and Lady Anne: A Chronicle in Verse.
After the end of apartheid, Krog started writing about the possibility of reconciliation with a great sense of faith. She believed it to possible as long as everybody's stories would be heard, yet now she encounters the limitations of language more and more, in both society as well as her own work. Krog's work has won many awards, such as South Africa's Hertzog Prize and, in the Netherlands, the Gouden Ganzeveer, which she accepted in 2018.
On Friday 15 February, Ellen Deckwitz and Antjie Krog took the B-Unlimited stage to discuss what literature can contribute to historiography. Their moderator is John Jansen van Galen, who has made great contributions to the history of decolonization. (Dutch /Afrikaans spoken.)
This program was curated by Toef Jaeger (Writers Unlimited).
Book sales at the venue by De Vries Van Stockum.
This year too VPRO's history programme OVT ends the festival in a live broadcast from café Dudok. The Surinamese writer Theo Para is a guest to talk about his book De Schreeuw van Bastion Veere (The Cry of Bastion Veere), dealing with the history of Surinam since the 1982 December murders. With music by singer and percussionist Victor Sams, who comes from St Eustatius.
A debate. Creole, Hindostani or Javanese, Bakra, Makamba or Indian. How do the various population groups live together on the Antilles and in Surinam? Are there problems with integration or have the colour barriers been levelled? What is the difference with the Netherlands in comparison with these experienced multicultural societies?
The Netherlands is struggling with multiculturality. While within the kingdom for centuries there has been practice with regard to the advantages and disadvantages of multi-ethnic society. In Surinam all the feast-days are celebrated by all the population groups jointly, all the languages are respected. But do the groups live together or rather do they live at cross-purposes? How tangible is the distinction made according to cultural origin on the Antilles? Can the societies in the Netherlands, Surinam and the Antilles learn from one another? Mito Croes from Aruba introduced the discussion with a sketch of the situation on his island. Writer Cynthia McLeod and poet Sombra from Surinam, poet Changa Hickinson form Sint-Maarten and journalist John Jansen van Galen from the Netherlands entered into a discussion with him and the audience. The discussion was hosted by Ruben Severnina. Dutch spoken.
In this public debate a closer look is taken at the development cooperation between the Netherlands, Surinam and the Antilles. This phenomenon takes many different forms: governmental development cooperation, the help offered by Dutch, Surinam and Antillean private organisations, and the private help, such as money or goods, sent to family and friends overseas. Is there a question of addiction to this aid and if so, what is the best way to kick the habit?
Supporters and opponents face up to one another: Gilbert Wawoe, Joanna Werners, Erich Zielinski, John Jansen van Galen and Ronald Julen. The chairman of this debate is Ruben Severina (chairman of the Movimentu Antiano Arubano pa Participashon Politico). To start the discussion Gilbert Wawoe, member of the Council of State, will give a short introduction. On his initiative the private help organisations were convened recently in order to bring them up to date regarding the poverty and social development on the Antilles.The report about a new aid structure, made for the Kingdom of the Netherlands by the Jesserun committee, will also be discussed.
At this time in the programma, writer Hella Haasse would have spoken on her latest book 'Bij de les' ( At the lesson ) on school-posters on the Netherlands-Indies, used in schools in the colonial era. Last Friday Mrs. Haasse informed us that she was ill and unable to perform at the festival. In all haste we have put together an alternative programme around her new book. Eight writers, all experts on the Dutch Indies and friends and admirers of Hella Haasse, have been asked to choose one of the school posters, give his or her commentary on this and also react to the accompanying text. They will compare Mrs. Haasse's memories with their own image evoked by the posters and comment on Mrs. Haasse's observatons. Up to now the following people have promised to take part: Adriaan van Dis, Helga Ruebsamen, Sitor Sitomorang - Indonesian poet and contemporary of Mrs. Haasse - writer Hans Vervoort, journalist and writer John Jansen van Galen and Peter van Zonneveld, who with Mrs. Haasse went over the rough version of her book. Paul van der Gaag, presentor of VPRO's radio programme O.V.T. will chair the discussion. In the course of this week more names of participants will be published. We are convinced that in this way the book 'Bij de les' (At the lesson) and Hella Haasse will receive the attention that they so justly deserve.