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

Dutch Expats in the Ukraine

In the beginning of the 20th century, Dutch expats worked and lived in Stoupky (now Artemovsk), Ukraine, near the Peter the Great salt mine.

Leendert Willem van den Muyzenberg became director of this Dutch-owned mine. In 1911 his seven children and wife, Olga Kiessler, settled in the 'Gooi' district, the Netherlands. Because they lived apart together, a fascinating collection of pictures, letters, postcards, and souvenirs from Dutch and Slavic areas came into being. Leendert and his family members maintained a lively correspondence, and they passionately preserved and indexed all these documents. This collection, the "Van den Muyzenberg Kiessler Foundation," is at the IISH since 2011.

In times of revolution and civil war, the lives of the Dutch colonists in the Ukraine were not safe. On 16 August 1919, Leendert wrote: "In Kharkov in particular, this Supreme Council raised hell. It is said that in Yama, a couple of hundred people were sentenced to death and executed cruelly, and this all happens on the exalted pretext of Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood…." In 1920 Leendert was forced to return to Holland. He and his wife were active in the christian-anarchist and anti-alcohol movement and other organizations advocating an alternative way of life. The archive also bears the marks of these activities.

More photos and information available on the website of the Group Samenwerking Oekraïne- Nederland 2006:

1 October 2011