Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

"Born a penny, die a penny"

Henny (* 1960) grew up in a working-class family in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant. She left school at the age of 15 to clean offices and work in a biscuit factory. “Born a penny, die a penny”, she said at the time.

Photographer Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski has been following Henny’s everyday life ever since 1975. Between 1976 and 2013 he published six volumes of photographs of Henny.
The first was Neem nou Henny. Zomaar een werkende jongere [“Take Henny, for example. Just a working girl”]. The sixth volume appeared early 2013: “Het zit best wel tegen” [“It’s not going that well”]. This is clearly an understatement. Henny was proved right about being born poor and staying poor.

Go to Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski’s website for further information. A selection from the collection of photos, which are now housed at the Institute, can be found here.


The photos in this collection have made available by the photographer under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.

25 January 2017