Blog post

Contraceptives, buttons and more

Material culture and feminism

Ingeborg Verheul (opens in new window) (Atria)

Since a few years and to a growing extent, objects form an additional source for historical research. Digitisation makes the material easily accessible for research. The objects collection of Atria consists of over 1700 objects that are related with the Dutch and international women’s movements and women’s organisations.

A number of objects come from personal archives of women who played an important role in the emancipation of women and/or the suffragette movement in The Netherlands and abroad. A nice example are: the fan or the writing folder of Aletta Jacobs (1854-1929), the first female medical doctor and leading suffragette, who played an important role in the achievement of voting rights for women in The Netherlands from 1900 until 1919.

To learn more about Aletta Jacobs, take a look at Europeana's online exhibition about remarkable women Pioneers.

In the collection, one finds lots of obvious objects, the typical heritage material of many social movements everywhere: banners, pins, ribbons, buttons, bags, T-shirts etcetera. Quite remarkable is the number of contraceptives, portraits, games and stamps. Really interesting are the unique pieces that commemorate historical events from the (Dutch) emancipation movement, such as for example the National Exhibition of Women’s Labour in 1898, the exhibition ‘Woman 1813-1913’ or the protest-actions from Dolle Mina (Mad Mina) in the seventies of the last century.

Explore the collection of Atria through Europeana.

Feminism Netherlands women's rights Europeana