Current research

This project investigates social responses to the Dutch food crisis in the period 1944-1946.

Still film Hunger ('Honger') from Rudi Hornecker. A documentairy about the Hunger Winter in the Netherlands

Researcher: Ingrid de Zwarte
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Peter Romijn, dr. Ralf Futselaar
Duration: 2013-2017
Intended publication: dissertation
Cooperation: University of Amsterdam (Institute for Culture and History)

More information

The Dutch food crisis – known as ‘the Hunger Winter’ – is familiar to every Dutchman: food-finding trips to the countryside (hongertochten), soup kitchens, eating sugar beets and tulip bulbs, hunger edema and starvation. The social consequences of the food crisis for Dutch society, however, have never been studied as such. How did a ‘modern’ society like the Netherlands cope with a food crisis? What choices did the government, institutions, neighborhoods and individuals make in coping with the hunger and deprivation? But also: how did the relationships between men, women and children change during the food crisis?

This research project investigates social responses to the Dutch food crisis in the period 1944-1946. The most important themes are: measures taken by the institutions formally responsible for the food supply, the organization and effectiveness of relief, manifestations of social self-organization within communities (e.g. local relief campaigns and food protests), and responses on household and individual level – hongertochten, for instance. Finally, this project also aims to analyze changes in household dynamics during the food crisis.

Since the problems with the food supply were not suddenly solved after the liberation in May 1945, this project analyses the food crisis between the first signs of public anticipation to an impending food crisis in 1944 and the end of emergency measures in 1946.