Colonists as ancestors

About 1 million of the Dutch have ancestors who lived in the penal colony or Rijkswerkinrichting Veenhuizen (Veenhuizen State Labour Institution), in Ommerschans or in one of the free colonies. That’s quite a few people. For those who are curious about the possible colonial past of their grandparents, great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents, the Drenthe Archive has created a special website where you can unravel the past. It is certainly fascinating to find out if your great-grandparents lived in the pauper colonies of the Maatschappij van Weldadigheid (Society of Humanitarianism). Or perhaps you can track down a family member who was sent to the Veenhuizen State Labour Institution due to ‘persistent alcoholism’.

You can find out at