The Wereldomroep (Dutch World Service) Donates Expat Archives to the Expatriate Archive Centre

June 27th 2013

The Board of the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) in The Hague, the Netherlands, are very pleased with the decision of de Wereldomroep (Dutch World Service) to donate their digital expatriate archives to this young international archive. The donation consists of the web content of, and

The EAC ‘s mission is to collect and preserve the social history of expat life. It started out as part of the Shell group, but has been an independent archive since 2008 with a very broad mission. The EAC adheres to high archival standards and makes the collection accessible to researchers worldwide.


The collection consists of over more than 100 private archives of 10 different nationalities. A very important archive is the Outpost collection. Outpost is the partner support organisation of Shell which supports expatriate partners and families of Shell International. To guarantee the high archival standards, the EAC collaborates with the Hague Municipal Archive for expert advice and storage.

Due to severe budget cuts RNW was forced to part with its archive.  For the expat-archives the EAC seems to be the perfect place as the donated material supplement the present collection very well. The first archive to become available for research will be the Wereld Kids collection, which contains a huge amount of stories by young children about their expat lives. “This children’s archive will be sort of a goldmine for researchers”, says departing director Elske van Holk. It is a very extensive archive, very well kept by the former RNW employee Michiel Haytink.

Martien Sleutjes, former RNW archivist, is preparing the RNW archive for insertion in the EAC collection’s registration system. Rosita Arnts, archivist at the EAC, expects that most of the RNW collection can be found in the online catalogue of the EAC by January 2014.

For more information please contact Peta Chow, PR Officer at the Expatriate Archive Centre by email: or telephone: +31 (0)070 427 2014.

Categories: Donations

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Guest Post: Preserving Your Expat Memories

June 24th 2013

Whatever your reasons for moving abroad, and no matter what nation you move to, your time as an expat is likely to be exciting and daunting in equal measure.

New places to see, new people to meet, new experiences to enjoy – at the time it can all seem a bit overwhelming and it’s often only with hindsight that we can look back and really appreciate the most thrilling periods of our past.


But once you’ve returned home or moved on to another country, day-to-day life usually intrudes and your expat memories can start to fade.

That’s why preserving aspects of your life overseas is so important, so that in years to come you can look back and remember not only how you, but how your family and your world in general, were affected by your move to foreign shores.

There are many ways of preserving memories in a physical form, like keeping a diary, taking photos, keeping postcards, tickets, leaflets and gifts. These kinds of items should be stored or displayed together so you can easily lay your hands on your expat past when you get nostalgic for your former home. In order to protect your items from damage and fading, keep them in a dry place, away from direct sunlight.

However, in this information age many people are producing more digital material than physical.

Now photos, emails, videos, texts, websites and audio files can help form a complete picture of our lives, a veritable time capsule we can look back on in the future – but only if we take the time to preserve them properly.

The problem with digital memories is that they are far more easily erased, lost or recorded over than their physical counterparts – but there are ways of protecting them.

Here we share some top-tips for making the most of your digital expat history.

Digital Photos

Go through all your digital photos. This means trawling through social networking sites, cameras, memory cards and computer files. Pick which are the most important to you. (That blurry picture of a man in a sombrero might not be worth keeping for example, while that one of your first expat friend just has to be saved). You may also want to go through all your physical photos and pick out the best ones for scanning in.

Organise the photos by naming and dating them (where possible) and when you have the time create a unique file for them.

Make copies of this file and save it in different formats and on different types of computer software, storing your copies in different areas.

To avoid data loss, create new media copies every five years.

And, if you’re willing to pay out a little, you may want to get the photos printed so that you have one physical version to keep.


Go through all your email accounts, work, home, personal etc. For each account look in all the folders (sent/deleted/saved/archived) and pick out the most important, interesting or emotional communications.

Remember to look at any attachments connected to the important emails!

Export the emails (you can do this using the ‘save as’ command in the email browser if you’re happy to export them as individual files).

Save messages in an open format if you can, and retain the ‘metadata’ – meaning the email subject, sender, date and time etc.

Name and date each email file.

Create a special folder to hold all of your email files.

Make copies of this folder and save it in different formats and on different types of computer software, storing your copies in different areas.

To avoid data loss, create new media copies every five years.

As with the photos, you may want to consider printing out a physical copy of your email communications.

This advice is based on information sourced from the Library of Congress, so for more information about archiving your digital memories check out this really useful resource.

Archive Your Memories

And for those of you who prefer physical forms of communication and interaction, but are afraid that you just don’t have the room to store all your expat memories, there is a solution – The Expatriate Archive Centre.

The whole aim of the Expatriate Archive Centre is to store the memories of expatriated and repatriated individuals, keeping them safe and secure so that they can be accessible to future generations. Their hard work also means that they are successfully documenting a vast social history.

The Archive Centre is happy to store all sorts of materials in its collection, from newsletters and blogs to paperwork, journals and scrapbooks.

And once you’ve started a collection you can continue adding to it, no matter how long your expat adventure lasts.

If you’ve got some Expat memories you’d like to protect simply contact the Expatriate Archive Centre for more information.


the-expat-hub-logoThis post was provided by The Expat Hub, a top online stop for expatriate advice, support and information.

If you’ve already moved abroad, if you’re in the process of moving abroad or if you’re only thinking about it, the Expat Hub is here for you.

Categories: Articles

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EAC at KVAN-dagen 2013 in Amsterdam

June 11th 2013

The new Director of the Expatriate Archive Centre, Kristine Racina, is attending this year’s KVAN-dagen together with Archivist Rosita Arnts. KVAN (Koninklijke Vereniging van Archivarissen in Nederland – Royal Association of Archivists in the Netherlands) is the professional organisation for archivists and records managers in the Netherlands.


The 2013 KVAN-dagen is being held in De Bazel in Amsterdam on 10 and 11 June. The programme is dedicated to the choices and challenges being faced by information professionals. More and more archival institutions are having to rethink their role and identity in a changing world, with shrinking budgets and new technological developments.

The Expatriate Archive Centre were fortunate to secure two places for such a popular day. This year there are around 400 attendees, with the event being so well-subscribed that there was even a waiting list.

Reports from the day are being posted on the Archive 2.0 website, or you can follow @KVANDagen on Twitter for more information and updates.

Categories: Events

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Celebrating the Importance of Archives on International Archives Day 2013

June 7th 2013

In recognition of International Archives Day on 9 June 2013, all archivists in the Netherlands are signing the Universal Declaration on Archives, a statement about the relevance and importance of archives to the general public.

Why Archives are Essential

Archives record decisions, actions and memories. Archives are a unique and irreplaceable heritage passed from one generation to another. Archives are managed from creation to preserve their value and meaning. They are authoritative sources of information underpinning accountable and transparent administrative actions. They play an essential role in the development of societies by safeguarding and contributing to individual and community memory. Open access to archives enriches our knowledge of human society, promotes democracy, protects citizens’ rights and enhances the quality of life.

Archives also support the growing interest in personal histories, documenting people’s experiences and development in society within and outside the Netherlands. Archivists in the Netherlands are working hard to keep the nation’s memory alive.

Archives are not just there to preserve, they are also there to browse, research, dig, learn from and enjoy. They offer something for everyone. More and more information is available online and searching is becoming easier via tools such as the Expatriate Archive Centre’s online catalogue. The past is within everyone’s reach.


Archives in Need

This year there is a particular emphasis on those archives which are in danger, archives that may be affected by climate issues, financial worries, and other influences. Find out more on the #followanarchive website or check the hashtag #savearchives on Twitter.

Expatriate Archive Centre

The Expatriate Archive Centre aims to give a voice to expats and their families worldwide, and preserve the social history of expatriate life. These valuable stories might otherwise be lost, collections broken up or thrown away, or stored improperly in attics and garages. Expat history is growing in popularity as a theme in migration history research, and the EAC is also there to support these researchers. By donating your expat story, your memory will be preserved both for generations to come and for future academic research.

Find Out More

You can show your support for the Universal Declaration on Archives by signing the register yourself, or go to the ICA website for more information.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the Expatriate Archive Centre, please contact Peta Chow by email: or telephone: +31 (0)70 427 2014. You can also arrange to visit the archive at Paramaribostraat 20, 2585 GN The Hague.

Categories: Articles

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A Mystery Man: Can You Help?

June 4th 2013

Sometimes a mystery item makes its way into our collection, and often we are able to provide some context with a little detective work. Usually there is a name, a date, a place – some clue that we can use to begin our search.

This Shell badge, found in a flea market in The Hague in 2007, provides very little information for us to start our sleuthing – and so, we turn to YOU for help!

The badge has a photo, is from Shell in Suez and is dated 1951. It reads “A.E.O. SUEZ, C.S. 180, DATE 23-8-51, MANUFACTURING”. There is some Arabic text underneath. AEO refers to the Anglo Egyptian Oil Fields Company which existed until the 1960s.


The badge ended up at the Expatriate Archive Centre because the finder knew of our history with Shell. We were originally founded by the Shell Ladies’ Project, to give a voice to Shell families around the world. Since 2008, we have been an independent organisation collecting the life stories of all expats, regardless of employer, from any country and in any language.

Do you know anyone who may have worked for Shell in Egypt in the 1950s, or who is related to someone who did? Can you help us translate the Arabic text? Please help us spread this as wide as possible, so that we may finally discover the background of this item in our collection. Help us to solve the mystery.

If you have any information, please contact Peta Chow, Expatriate Archive Centre on or telephone +31 (0)70 427 2014 during office hours (10am – 3pm, Monday – Thursday).

Categories: Donations

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