'Met terugwerkende kracht': an audiotour in Utrecht
A history of emancipation and feminism in Utrecht
‘Met terugwerkende kracht’ takes you on a journey across stories of emancipation and feminism in Utrecht.
Welcome to Met terugwerkende kracht (‘With retroactive force’), an audio tour and podcast from Utrecht University in honour of International Women’s Day. During six podcast episodes, we take you across locations with overlooked histories and listen to people with a story.
How to listen to and walk this audio tour
You walk the route at a time that suits you, alone or with a group of friends. Put your headphones on and start listening! Do you live outside of Utrecht? Just listen at home and imagine yourself to be in Utrecht for a little while. Listen to the audio tour directly via Spotify or Soundcloud, or scroll down for the links to all episodes, extra footage and transcripts (both in Dutch and English). Do note: this audiotour is in Dutch.
An illustrated route map has been made especially for this audio tour by illustrator Nanna de Jong. Click the image to enlarge the route map. If you prefer to walk the route via Google Maps, download it here.
All locations and episodes
Moreelse bridge, track 11: Eline Pollaert on the disability movement in Utrecht
Did you know track 11 (at Utrecht Central Station) was an important place for disabled emancipation? And that Utrecht is a focal point of the struggle for disability rights and acknowledgement in the Netherlands? Come with us to the Moreelsebrug, looking out across platform 11, and listen to the story of historian, activist and policy maker Eline Pollaert (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Office).
TivoliVredenburg: Rosi Braidotti on feminism and punk
If there is one thing that’s important to Rosi Braidotti, founder of the Gender Studies programme in Utrecht, it’s music. Looking out across TivoliVredenburg, one of the largest pop venues in the Netherlands, Rosi takes you across the history of punk, feminism and music. This is also the spot where Rosi talked to her punk idols in 2016: anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot. This episode is partially in English.
University Hall, Dom Square: Ernestine Comvalius and Pearl Hengel about Nadia Comvalius
This is the story of Nadia Comvalius, told at the location where she received her diploma as the first black woman. Because Nadia is 96, her nieces Ernestine Comvalius and Pearl Pengel tell the story of their inspiring aunt. Imagine yourself to be in 1950s Utrecht at the University Hall, a time in which the first generation of Surinamese students came to Utrecht University.
Savannah Bay: Marischka Verbeek and Melle Schakel on gender and literature
An all-too-familiar place to some, a totally new word to others: Savannah Bay, one of the few bookstores specialising in gender, sexuality and literature. In the past decades, it has grown from an underground basement for witches to a celebrated phenomenon in the LGBTQIA+ community. Let owner Marischka Verbeek and volunteer Melle take you on a tour of bookcases full of deliciously smelling books, witches and a black table.
Janskerkhof: Nancy Jouwe on Utrecht’s slave trade history
If you scratch the surface of Utrecht’s facades long enough, you will see that Utrecht’s history was not always rosy. Utrecht, both the city and the university, played an active role in the history of slavery. Some university buildings are constructed with money that is directly or indirectly acquired through slave trade. How can a city and a university relate to such a violent and racist past? Nancy Jouwe guides you across the Janskerkhof, a place in Utrecht with many visible traces of slavery.
University Library City Centre: Beatrice de Graaf on Hortense de Beauharnais
If you ask an unsuspecting passer-by who our first queen is, not many people will guess it right on the first try. Her name is Hortense de Beauharnais, who spent part of her life with Louis Napoléon Bonaparte in their former home, which is currently the University Library in Utrecht’s city centre. Even less people know that she was a victim of slut shaming avant la lettre. Utrecht University historian and professor Beatrice de Graaf tells the extraordinary story of this equally extraordinary woman.
Some final remarks and thanks
This audio tour is a production by Audio Collective Horens, in collaboration with the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) programme of Utrecht University in honor of International Women’s Day 2022. Many thanks to Eline Pollaert, Rosi Braidotti, Nancy Jouwe, Beatrice de Graaf, Nadia Comvalius, Ernestine Comvalius and Pearl Pengel, Marischka Verbeek and Melle Schakel, Inge Matthijssen and Roos Wijnants. Cover image and illustrations by Nanna de Jong.