The Archive Newsletter

13 January 2012

Dear Friends of the Expatriate Archive Centre,

We are nearing the end of the year 2011. It has been a year full of events and growth.

We were very privileged to welcome Dr Corien Glaudemans, senior researcher and archivist at The Hague’s Municipal Archive, for one day a week. Dr Glaudemans advised us in our endeavour to professionalise the archive centre.

All the accessions procedures have been reviewed, and we also have climate control in our archival storage.
Dr Glaudemans has registered the Outpost archive, and it is now being described by one of our volunteers. This archive is very much an archive that can continuously be updated with new “old” material from all the Shell Outposts around the world. So Outposters… when you clear out the office, think twice.

We are really thrilled to find that our hard work, to make the world aware of this interesting young archive, has started to pay off. More and more donors seem to find the archive. It is a recognition of the idea that was started at the end of last century to create a home for the expatriate family’s story.

The Board has been joined by Dr Marijke Huisman, a senior lecturer at the Center for Historical Culture of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. She took her place and then left immediately for the United States to do research at the University of California in Berkeley, Los Angeles. It gave her a bit of first hand experience about what it is to be an expatriate. She has now fully taken up her post, and has been very helpful in putting our case forward at the Master-thesis market of the Centre for Historical Culture, to attract Master students to the Expatriate Archive Centre.

On 9 June we celebrated International Archives Day in style. It was opened by The Hague’s Deputy Mayor Ms. Marjolein de Jong; Alderman for International Affairs and Culture. There was an early morning reception, where many members of the international community were present. It was followed by a lunch concert by the New Dutch Academy; a baroque ensemble. Simon Murphy, its founder and principal conductor, introduced some expatriate composers who worked and lived in the 16th and 17th century at the court in the Netherlands. During the day we had two Skype contacts. One with an archive in Oporto, Portugal, and the other one with the University of the West Indies in Barbados. The day ended with a debate on “What is an expatriate?”, led by the business historian Dr Keetie Sluyterman of the University of Utrecht. Dr Sluyterman headed the team of historians, that wrote a History of Royal Dutch Shell (2007). Everybody worked very hard to make this day a success, but I especially like to mention Mirena Radulova, one of our dedicated volunteers, who was the team leader for this major project.

Our PR department, headed by Donna Worrall – assisted by Navah Hochstein and Peta Chow – has been moving heavily into the social media, so that we are now connected with much of the world through our Facebook pages; you will be constantly updated on everything that is going on in the Expatriate Archive Centre. So if you would like to follow us, do join us there.

Next year we plan to have our collection available online. This is a new step for us, and we are carefully preparing this, in view of the sensitive nature of our collection. Do not worry; your stories will not be online for all to explore. Online researchers can only get information on names, dates and countries. If they would like to pursue further research, then they will first have to contact the Expatriate Archive Centre. We strictly adhere to all privacy legislation, and only open archives when we have full consent to do so.


We are very proud to have so many very talented volunteers working at the Expatriate Archive Centre. In 2011 we welcomed Caroline Kappers, Margaritha van Zuilen, Darin Attard, Karen Lowe, Chi–Liang Lia, Peta Chow, Kathi Ellermann and Julia Flores as newcomers in this year.

We have had to say goodbye to Jo Brown, who found a job and Darin Attard, who returned to Malta to pursue his career there.

Johan Hoekemeijer lives part of the year in Portugal, but when he is in the Netherlands he comes in to assist Catherine with the administration.

We had wonderful news that Navah Hochstein, our web 2.0 volunteer consultant, gave birth on 19 August to a little boy: Bram Philemon. Sally Batten had a little baby boy (Jack Robert) shortly after; on 6 September. Congratulations to both families.


In January we found our former volunteer Catherine Swindles prepared to join the staff for a few hours a week to be our Office Manager, responsible for the day to day administration and the running of the office. She actually continues also as a volunteer; working many more hours than officially in her contract.

Rosita Arnts had a health scare at the beginning of the year and was off for over two months. It made us realize how dependent we are on her, but it was for all of us also reassuring to see that the archive centre did not collapse. Fortunately she returned before the summer and we hope that as from 2012 she will have our volunteer Caroline Kappers as her assistant. The transfer from CALM to Adlib is time consuming, but – at the end of 2011 – we have now 20 family archives in the new Adlib system.

Donna Worrall has moved the PR and Marketing Department into the 21st century. Her volunteer assistants Navah and Peta are very adapt with the Social Media. We could not live without anymore. Donna lead two Introduction Mornings, which were received very enthusiastically by the attendants.

We visited the Feel at Home Fair in The Hague, and the Expatica Fair in Amsterdam to reach out to expats in the Netherlands.


We received some very interesting donations this year from families and individuals. The large “van Wettum” family archive was registered and described this year. It contained some fascinating films which were digitalized, so that we can more easily share them. Some smaller family archives came in, but again with super material. The Expatriate Archive Centre collection grows steadily.


We have one researcher from the University of Humanistics in Utrecht, who actively uses the collection for his PhD research into loneliness of expatriates. There have been some requests for information or advice on expatriate issues. I specifically want to mention the request from the Open Air Museum in Arnhem. They exhibit a telephone booth from the fifties and want to record a telephone conversation between a Dutch expatriate and a relative back home. For this they came to the archive centre; to have a look at some films and go over correspondence from that period. A very nice project that we have supported with great pleasure and the Expatriate Archive Centre will of course be credited for its support.

2012 is looming..

In 2012 we hope to reach out more internationally. Donna and her team have been contacting English language newspapers around the world. Elske will give a presentation in March 2012 at the Family in Global Transition Conference in Washington DC, and of course there will be another International Archives Day in June.
When we go online with our collection, we will notify you!

We wish you a good and joyous holiday season, and a wonderful 2012.

We will continue to look after your memories and stories now and in the future.

Warm regards from the Expatriate Archive Centre team.

Catherine Swindles
Donna Worrall
Rosita Arnts
Elske van Holk