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About this site

The gulf between the Second World War and the way we remember it today is growing ever wider. Music has the power to narrow that divide, transporting the past into the present day.

This website makes the war understandable through music and the musical life of the former Kingdom of the Netherlands (which at the time included the Netherlands, the former Dutch East Indies, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles). It tells about the meaning music had for people living in extreme conditions. At the same time, it is an ode to the music and musicians of that era and to the people who lived through the war.

Selection of information
These English-language pages contain only a very limited selection of the information and music available on the Dutch site, which is a portal site with a separate reference structure (e.g., the 'Wegwijzers' and right-hand columns on the Experiences and Musicians pages) with links to music, radio excerpts, documents, literature, and links to external sites. These English-languageSurinamese army in 1943. Even though Suriname did not fall under German occupation in the war, after conscription was introduced in 1942 the Surinamese army grew to 5000 men. Five hundred Surinamese soldiers ended up fighting the Japanese in the war in the Dutch East Indies. After the war ended, they found themselves part of the Dutch colonial war against the East Indies, which declared independence on 17 August 1945, just two days after Japan surrendered. Suriname is independent since 1975. (source photo: NIOD/WWII Image Bank)
Surinamese army in 1943. Even though Suriname did not fall under German occupation in the war, after conscription was introduced in 1942 the Surinamese army grew to 5000 men. Five hundred Surinamese soldiers ended up fighting the Japanese in the war in the Dutch East Indies. After the war ended, they found themselves part of the Dutch colonial war against the East Indies, which declared independence on 17 August 1945, just two days after Japan surrendered. Suriname is independent since 1975. (source photo: NIOD/WWII Image Bank)
pages are not equipped with this portal function, as all references to Dutch-language sources, documents, audio excerpts, and other material have been omitted. The filmed interviews accompanying the personal stories have not been included either, as they are not, as yet, subtitled. A selection has been made of the thematic background information (for financial reasons); this selection comprises 'the Netherlands' and 'musical life at the transit camp of Westerbork'.

The 'Wegwijzers' on the Dutch site contain unique key documents from the archives of Dutch organizations which were digitized specially for this project. They illustrate both the cold-blooded machinations of Nazi politics and, by contrast, the personal experiences of people whose lives were directly affected by them.

Music
The Dutch site features an extensive webshop with over seventy Dutch musical works accompanied by explanatory notes. These include works by leading Dutch composers during the war years (both banned music and commissioned works) and Dutch light music and jazz, propaganda songs, and commemorative music. Rights in respect of musical works offered as downloads apply to the vast majority of the works. The relevant payment system does not provide for payments made outside the Netherlands.

In the future, we may offer all the works as a stream, which will also be available on these English-language pages. In that case, an announcement will be made on this website. You can find the works already available as a stream on the Music page.

See also Colophon.

Should you have comments or suggestions, please contact MusicForce.