De plantage van onze voorouders – a meeting at the Museum van Loon. From left to right: Jessica Bouva, Peggy Bouva and Maartje Duin (photo: Lowrare Potography & Film).
 

Suriname: a new podcast series delves into a shared yet difficult past

The new podcast series 'De plantage van onze voorouders' by producer Maartje Duin investigates the traces of the slavery past within her family’s history.
25 May 2020

A few years ago, Dutch radio and podcast producer Maartje Duin discovered that in 1863 her ancestors co-owned the sugar plantation Tout Lui Faut in Suriname, then a colony of the Netherlands. At that time, this would have meant that her family owned enslaved people. In the context of the increasing discussions that are taking place in the Netherlands and elsewhere about the issue of ‘white privilege’, Maartje became increasingly curious about this difficult past of her mother’s family, of Dutch noble descent. Her search led to unrest – within her family, with descendants of enslaved people, and within herself. She started wondering: how should this past be dealt with? Ultimately, it led to the creation of a podcast series (in Dutch).

Engaging with difficult histories together

To work through her questions, Maartje decided to seek contact with descendants of enslaved people, and more specifically, the Bouva family. The Bouva family members were forced to work in the Tout Lui Faut plantation. Together with Peggy Bouva, Maartje engaged in a work to reconstruct part of stories of the plantation her family owned and to explore how and why these histories are meaningful today. Together, Peggy and Maartje dove into archives, spoke to their relatives and visited the remains of the Tout Lui Faut plantation. This project led to all kinds of new questions: who does this past belong to? Who feels the consequences of this history in the present and how? And can Peggy and Maartje create and express a shared story?

A difficult past (and present) in 8 parts

The podcast series delves into Maartje’s (re)search into this difficult and shared past in eight episodes. This series brings together different voices and perspectives that often don’t come together in open conversations. Each episode deals with different issues and topics: ‘Privileges’, ‘Family trees and guilt, ‘Blind spot’, ‘A Shared story’, ‘Black on white’, ‘The Surinamese silence’ and ‘The Plantation’. The first three episodes are available from Saturday 30 May onwards on vpro.nl or via nporadio1.nl/podcasts and podcast apps. The series is airing weekly in OVT on Sunday morning from 31 May at 10:00.

‘De plantage van onze voorouders’ is a production of Prospektor, VPRO and NPO Radio 1, by Maartje Duin in collaboration with Peggy Bouva.

This project was supported by DutchCulture’s Shared Cultural Heritage Matching Fund