Freedom and lack of freedom down the generations

Foto: Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei/Jasper Juinen
Photo: National Comittee for 4 and 5 May/Jasper Juinen

There will come a time when there are no more witnesses to the Second World War; that means all the living memories of that time will also disappear. Younger generations will have to rely on stories, photographs, and their imaginations. It is therefore important to find out how young people develop their ideas about war, peace, and freedom, and what role their social environment plays in that process.

We are carrying out research into this in partnership with the National Committee for 4 and 5 May, as part of the research programme ‘Vrijheid en onvrijheid door de generaties heen’ (‘freedom and lack of freedom down the generations’). The research programme combines sociological and historical insights, methods, and sources.

How do successive generations develop their views and behaviour in relation to freedom, lack of freedom, and commemoration?

Every generation develops its own ideas about these topics, but very little is known about how this process takes place exactly.  That is why we are studying how generations shape and define their images of freedom and lack of freedom, and whether such things are transferred from one generation to another.

To get the answers to the questions, we are using the ‘Het Nationaal Vrijheidsonderzoek 1990-2012’, (‘national freedom survey 1990-2012’), the LIS/MESS panel (for which a questionnaire was completed in the spring of 2014), and a survey of visitors to Liberation Day festivals on 5 May.