About the picture:
PaVEM member Lilian Calender is being interviewed by Radio 1 as part of a Network Breakfast. 
8 March 2004 organized by PaVEM and the Municipality of The Hague (International Women's day). 
PhotographerMieke Schlaman
PaVEM meaning Participatie van Vrouwen van Etnische Minderheden, Participation of Women of Ethnic Minorities

Women frequently play a subordinate role in historical overviews. Hence, in its biographies database, Atria collects information (in Dutch) about the lives of women, who played or continue to play a distinctive role in society.

Women as pioneers

You will encounter many pioneers amongst the women in this database. Women who have done important things in their own field or were the first to practise a particular profession. Think, for instance, in terms of the first female professor in the Netherlands, the first female government minister or the first woman bank director. The women included in the database are all deceased.

The women biography selection is in Dutch and focuses on:

  • women pioneers and the first women in a particular field or profession
  • women who played a role in the women’s movement
  • women from the Netherlands and the former Dutch colonies
  • black, migrant and refugee women in the Netherlands

Note: you will leave the current website. You can always return to the collection website via the menu

Press Cuttings

Atria also has folders of biographical press cuttings (in Dutch) comprising newspaper and magazine articles about the lives of important and well-known women; this includes women writers and their work. Apart from the biographies and press cuttings, we also have many books, articles and theses about interesting women.

Contributions and additional information

Do you have any comments or additional information about extraordinary women? Are you writing a biography and would you like to make a contribution?
If so, contact us at


People, who have experienced major events at close proximity, can provide first hand testimony of “how it was”. These oral histories imbue paper archives with both a context and a more personal content, and generate a fuller representation of history.

Oral history method

The interviewers deploy the “life story approach” where interviewees are questioned about not only a particular period but also their lives as a whole.

Public or restricted

Although part of the interviews can be accessed by the public, other sections are as yet exclusively available for academic research and some sources will only be opened after an agreed period of time. The interviews are in Dutch.