Brieven uit Spanje. Publication

In the 1960s, the Dutch state signed a contract with the then Spanish dictator Franco so that Spanish migrants could work in the Netherlands. Many Spaniards leave for the Netherlands and start working for companies such as Hero and Etna. In this way they contribute to building up Dutch prosperity.

Thanks to an invitation of Stedelijk Museum Breda and Witte Rook, during 2020 the Spanish artists Carme Nogueira and Elena Prado conducted a research into the memories of the Spanish community in Breda and the effects on the city. During meetings and conversations, many photos and documents were collected, which were displayed in the NEXT project space of Stedelijk Museum Breda. The results and found materials have been included in Stadsarchief Breda, filling a blind spot in the city's archives.

In the publication and presentations, the artists explained the collected stories and provided a context for their research. The name of the project and the publication, Letters from Spain (Brieven uit Spanje), is inspired by the Spanish newspaper Carta de España, the newspaper that created a link between the Spanish migrants and their homeland in the 70s. This newspaper is also the inspiration for the publication in three languages (Spanish, Dutch and English) designed by ferranElOtro. The publications were made thanks to a grant of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E)

During the research by Nogueira and Prado, Spanish migrants in Utrecht and Rotterdam also came in sight. On Saturday December 4, 2021, in collaboration with art institute Melly, a presentation was held were the emphasis was on the social engagement of artists that led to the publication of ABC book by Nelly Soetens in the 70s as an alternative method for learning the Dutch language. Artist Hans Abelman, who was closely involved in this process, shared more about his experiences. The Rotterdam based artists Iratxe Jaio en Klaas van Gorkum participated also in the presentation.

This presentation was part of a series of three events. The first event took place at Stedelijk Museum Breda on October 31 2021, where the role of the institute in keeping history alive was discussed in more detail and the last one in Utrecht the 14th of May 2021 in Cervantes Center.