To main content

Struggle! 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage.

Badge of the Dutch Suffrage Association, owned by mrs. Geertruida Margaretha Hartsema from Hoogkerk. Groninger Museum
Badge of the Dutch Suffrage Association, owned by mrs. Geertruida Margaretha Hartsema from Hoogkerk. Groninger Museum
Saturday 20 April 2019 to Sunday 15 September 2019

In 2019 the Netherlands celebrates 100 years of universal voting rights. The Groninger Museum will pay homage to this historic occasion with Struggle! 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage. Opening on 20 April, the exhibition will illustrate how years of activism ultimately resulted in victory for the women’s suffrage movement in the Netherlands: in 1919, a new law decreed both men and women had the right to vote.

Exhibition

The Groninger Museum show will present a detailed overview of the turbulent history of the struggle for women’s suffrage in the Netherlands, in which doctor Aletta Jacobs, from Groningen, played a prominent role. The exhibition shows the broad support the movement enjoyed throughout this country: after the Women’s Suffrage Association was founded in 1894, active chapters sprang up in even the smallest villages. The movement was not just a local phenomenon but a worldwide one, and Dutch activists were important partners in the international struggle. The show surveys the numerous developments around women’s suffrage over the years and demonstrates how the fight for gender equality continues today.

Through banners, photographs, cartoons, paintings and historical documents, Struggle! 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage illustrates how the activists fought for their cause. One highlight of the exhibition is a 1911 banner of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance made by the famous Stockholm textile association Handarbetets Vänner. Another is the article amending the law, on loan from the National Archives of the Netherlands.

Aletta Jacobs, the first female physician in the Netherlands, Isaac Israëls, 1920
Aletta Jacobs, the first female physician in the Netherlands, Isaac Israëls, 1920

Events

Around the country, a comprehensive programme of events highlighting history, art, theatre, scholarship and activism will celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage in the Netherlands. Groningen will serve as the centre of the festivities. On 9 May 2019, the 100th anniversary of the House of Representatives’ passing of the amendment, a lavish celebration featuring talks, film, theatre and music will take place at the Groninger Museum.

Logo 100 years women’s suffrage Groningen
Logo 100 years women’s suffrage Groningen

Curators

The exhibition is curated by Mineke Bosch, professor of modern history at the University of Groningen, and Egge Knol, history curator at the Groninger Museum. A richly illustrated book written by Bosch to accompany the exhibition will be published on 9 May 2019. Struggle! 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage will be open from 20 April through 15 September 2019.