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

Photobook “After Mandela: a Dutch tribute”

After Mandela is a photobook on Dutch tributes to Nelson Mandela. The book contains a complete photographic inventory of places in The Netherlands named after South Africa's first black president.

There is no living person in the Netherlands, besides the Royal family, that has so many public places named after him than Nelson Mandela. The praise and magnification are a result of the 'Mandela Magic', the so-called iconisation of Madiba, who became a brandname for reconciliation.

The pictures and text also give a brief insight in the history of Mandela namings in The Netherlands. Many where inspired by anti-apartheid sentiments and the need to rename streets that had names of former leaders of the Anglo-Boer wars like Paul Kruger or General Botha. Under the impact of the anti-apartheid movement, those names lost their popularity. Mandela's fame causes a naming policy that is unprecedented in Dutch history.

The book can be ordered at Post-editions.

Some selections from the book

Nelson Mandela bridge in Arnhem
Since 3 November 1986

In the autumn of 1986 the city of Arnhem decided on an official anti-apartheid campaign with the following main policies:
1. A municipal economic boycott of South Africa
2. A cultural and sports boycott of South Africa
3. Raising awareness of the effects of apartheid amongst the citizens of Arnhem
The new name of the Roermondsplein Bridge across the river Rhine was an important component of the third policy. On November 3rd, 1986 the bridge was renamed Nelson Mandela Bridge. On June 18th 1988 special plaques were unveiled featuring a portrait of Mandela. This ceremony was disrupted by a bomb scare. A wired case was found, but no bomb. At the time, the council wrote to the cabinet: ‘By doing this we aim to encourage Arnhem’s citizens and its visitors to give a moment of thought to the battle the oppressed black population is fighting against the apartheid regime.’
The cabinet of Arnhem had to resign after two council leaders (Christian Democrats) stepped down claiming the economic boycott of South Africa and South African companies was unlawful. They argued that by creating its own foreign affairs policies the cabinet had exceeded its legal powers as a local government.
Arnhem was also one of the founding members of the association of Local Authorities Against Apartheid (LOTA). Initially 5 local governments and soon after 66 more effected an economic boycott of South African products and services. Dutch companies that did not have ties with South Africa received preferential treatment, while companies with such ties were hindered as much as possible.
The consequences were sometimes far-reaching. In 1992, the director of the Dutch division of Shell, Hein Hooykaas, wanted to celebrate his farewell dinner at the historic museum Prinsenhof in Delft. He had once studied in this town. The local government (a member of LOTA) prevented the museum from hosting the event, claiming that the Dutch-British multinational was a ‘contaminated supporter of apartheid’. The small towns of Oss and Emmen banned their official cars from using Shell fuel stations. The Dutch national government was not happy with the ‘obstinate’ local governments of LOTA interfering in foreign affairs.
After many years of discussions the minister for Internal affairs Ien Dales (Labour Party), under pressure from the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, declared void all local council decisions in relation to economic boycotts and preferential treatments.

Nelson Mandela Comprehensive School, Purmerend
Since 2007

Head master René Visser came up with the name himself in 2007: ‘The symbolic value of Mandela holds concepts like democracy, equality, emancipation and togetherness. A fitting symbol for our vocational school, which trumpets these concepts as well.’

Nelson Mandela Street in Limbricht
Since 15 November 1988

In May 1988, following the suggestion of local council member Bemelmans, the committee in charge of naming streets advised the cabinet to name two streets in Limbricht Unicef Street and Unesco Street. The cabinet did not follow the advice, however, and requested a new proposal. In October 1988 new options were presented: Wallenburg Street and Wiesenthal Street; Willem Drees Street and Jo Cals Street; or De Gaulle Street and Simonds Street. These suggestions were also rejected. For unknown reasons the board settled for Nelson Mandela Street and Martin Luther King Street.