gahetNA in the National Archives

Documentary Dutch colonial descendants at IDFA

The Hague

Eline Jongsma and Kel O'Neill, two young Dutch/American filmmakers, have documented the unintended consequences of Dutch colonialism in Asia, Africa and South America. This project - Empire - resulted in a series of documentaries under which the documentary Migrants. Migrants is made under the auspices of the Mutual Cultural Heritage Team of the Dutch Nationaal Archief and financed by the Dutch Ministry of Culture. The Empire project will be presented at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Installations will be on view from 16 – 25 November at the Brakke Grond daily from 10:00 AM - 11:00 PM (free admission).

The film

The documentary is remarkable in its subjects, and shows sometimes intimate portraits of individuals whose life in one way or the other is connected to the Netherlands. In the jungle of Brazil for instance, the filmmakers went to the former Dutch colony Holanda in de state Espírito Santo. Many inhabitants are fair-haired and speak a strange mix of Portuguese and Dutch. Their ancestors once took the risk of leaving their homeland and settling in Brazil in search for a better life. They didn’t succeed; their descendants now live in poor conditions.

More to see

Before ‘Empire, Migrants’ Jongsma and O’Neill made similar documentaries on intangible remnants of the Dutch presence in modern-day India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and South Africa. These documentaries will also on view at the festival.


The Nationaal Archief is one of the actors within the Mutual Cultural Heritage programme. An important goal of the MCH programme is to create more awareness about the shared history of the Netherlands with other countries. 

gahetNA is a website of the Society for the Nationaal Archief in cooperation with the Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo.
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