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So far IHLIA LGBT Heritage has created 349 blog entries.

November 2014

November 2013

History of IHLIA – 2013


– Unfortunately, the Anna Blaman House had to close its doors. The collection was moved to IHLIA Amsterdam.

– IHLIA books and grey literature were included in the Dutch Central Catalogue (NCC) and Worldcat.

History of IHLIA – 20132015-01-16T13:39:44+00:00

November 2012

History of IHLIA – 2012


– The Anna Blaman House has been around for 30 years.

– A Pink Cabinet was placed in IHLIA Amsterdam. The Pink Cabinet includes books and films about LGBT topics. These books and films can be borrowed via the OBA

– Fourth international LGBT ALMS Conference in Amsterdam, organised by IHLIA in the OBA with more than hundred participants from all over the world. With themes like how to collect, archive and disclose LGBT history better

– Launch of website Open Up! An IHLIA project about the history of emancipation and development of the LGBT, mainly in central, east and southeast Europe

– After closing of the Schorer Foundation, IHLIA acquires the archives of this organization

– IHLIA acquires a part of the collection of Rotterdam amateur filmmaker and gay activist Rob de Vries with film material about the gay rights struggle in the turbulent 70s and 80s

– Start project Pink Life Stories, in cooperation with Amstelgroep. Trained volunteers have written the biographies of homosexual elderly people.

– Exposition Bi in Beeld (Bi in Pictures), opened by former Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt of the Ministry of Education, Culture & Science 

– The IHLIA archives accommodated in the International Institute for Social History (IISH) are accessible in the IISH catalogue and can be perused there

History of IHLIA – 20122015-01-16T13:40:21+00:00

November 2011

History of IHLIA – 2011


– Just like the Amsterdam branch, the ABH in Leeuwarden also moved to the Leeuwarden Public Library (OBL). The festive opening in September attracted more than 120 people

– A special exhibition, put together by IHLIA, De waanzin van het recht starts. It’s about 100 years of criminal law and homosexuality in the Netherlands

– Exhibition Lesbian Postcards at the IHLIA plaza in the OBA

History of IHLIA – 20112015-01-16T13:40:47+00:00

November 2010

History of IHLIA – 2010


– The year 2010 was all about Anna Blaman. She died in 1960 and played an important role for lesbian women in the period after the Second World War

– IHLIA employee Connie van Gils composes the book Langoureus verlangen. It is an anthology of memories of Anna Blaman. In the presence of Xaviera Hollander en Maxim Februari, the book is presented festively. Also in the Anna Blaman House a beautiful presentation of the book took place, with Isabelle Diks, Klaar Plattel and Dolf

History of IHLIA – 20102015-01-16T13:41:23+00:00

November 2009

History of IHLIA – 2009


– IHLIA experiences exciting times. Lack of clarity regarding the finances and with an eye on the future led us to work out the merger of the two offices in Amsterdam and Leeuwarden. There will be one executive manager for both offices

– ABH expands new activitities, like a poet evening and the exhibition Eye 4 Women

History of IHLIA – 20092015-01-16T13:41:58+00:00

November 2008

November 2007

History of IHLIA – 2007


– Opening of the exhibition Who Can I Still Trust in the Dutch Resistance Museum in Leeuwarden by Inge Diepman

– The ABH has been around for 25 years

– IHLIA Amsterdam moves to the OBA. Opening by the former municipal executive, Carolien Gehrels and Tjeerd Herrema. The exhibition is about stories of the Homomonument (Gay Monument): Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen

– The private and organization archives are accommodated in the International Institute for Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam and can be perused there

History of IHLIA – 20072015-01-16T13:45:07+00:00



– Publication of a piece about collected gay movement (editors COC and Movisie), named Policy Vision Gay-Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Policy

– Minister Ronald Plasterk presents the Memorandum Just Being Gay: lesbian and gay emancipation policy 2008 – 2011


From shoebox to Gaysaurus


In 1978, Homodok was established. Initially, idealistic and somewhat amateurishly, but it professionalized rapidly. Jack van der Wel, the very first volunteer and nowadays Director of the Collection & Information Services, looks back at the development:

“In early March 1978, I moved to Amsterdam to study. I was in the midst of coming-out and really wanted to meet other gay students. In the university magazine Folia I read that on the 12th of March 1978, the second gathering about gay studies was organized by Jim Holmes and Annemarie Grewel. Bull’s eye: workshops and discussions about setting up work groups and structures to improve, promote and draw academic attention to research on gays and lesbians.

One of these work groups was a documentation group, because literature about homosexuals was hard to find in ‘normal’ libraries and documentation centers. Just like the labor movement (IISH) and the women’s movement (IIAV), we wanted to make that type of literature accessible.

Through Annemarie Grewel, we got a room in the Baschwitz Institute for Mass Psychology in the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in Weteringschans. In the seventies, extensive research was being done in the Baschwitz Institute about opinions about homosexuality in the Netherlands. Annemarie Grewel knew the secretary, Peter Roth, and from him we always got a lot of support. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2003, which meant we had to miss his laughter and melodious Swiss accent during IHLIA’s 25th anniversary celebration.


Officially, the name was Documentation Center for Gay Studies, but it was soon shortened to Homodok. We wrote and typed literary data on library cards and put these in an old shoebox. Later, the shoebox was replaced by card-index boxes. By 1982, this data was entered in the computer center of the UvA, which produced enormous sheets with printouts. In 1978, we purchased the first PC, a real Tulip, along with a database program called Cardbox that IHLIA still uses today.

This greatly contributed to the professional reputation that Homodok has always enjoyed. We provided quality, also thanks to the fact that in the beginning, volunteers with librarian experience joined our effort. They meticulously made sure that all the periods, commas and dashes were placed correctly.

Also the development of our own thesaurus—the Gaysaurus—was an important milestone. It was developed together with the Anna Blaman House. During endless sessions, every word was pondered and put in the right place, in which the balance between ‘partially’ and ‘entirety’ was holy.

The Historic library of Van Leeuwen and the COC archive

In addition to documenting, collecting became increasingly important. Besides wanting to know what was being published in the area of homosexuality, people also wanted to view the publications. Initially, we only collected academic publications, but we soon expanded this to various other kinds of publications. The material came flooding in.

For instance, John Stamford, the publisher of the Spartacus Guide, asked us if we were interested in his magazines and clippings archive. He was going to move and we had to come immediately. With a few friends, in an ice-cold weekend in January, we set forth to the huge, unheated Stamford villa in Baarn. The police had carried out a house search due to alleged tax fraud and in that chaos we had to find the magazines. We had to drive up and down three times to get everything to Amsterdam while the car we used was not a small one to begin with.

Homodok also acquired the archive of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) with its many magazines. This did not go down without a struggle, because the Swedish gay organization RFSL—where the archive was stored and which was an important financial contributor to the ILGA—refused to give up the archive and threatened to leave ILGA. In the end, with much patience, persuasiveness, support from the COC and other Dutch gay/lesbian organizations and visits to Stockholm, we succeeded in bringing this archive to the Netherlands.

However, the largest contribution to the collection was the Van Leeuwen Library and the COC library. The Van Leeuwen Library (historic library of the COC) was stored in the building of the IIAV and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment had ordered it to be removed from there. The COC volunteers wanted to move this library to the university library of the UvA, but in the end we chose to move it to Homodok. When the national COC was moved to Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam, the existing COC library was also moved to Homodok.

IHLIA in the OBA

Over the years however, the increasingly growing collection also revealed Homodok’s weak spot: its location. A big collection is nice, but you have to be able to house it properly. The UvA continuously threatened to withdraw its support and in the end, in 1999, Homodok had to move to the not so centrally located building in Bos en Lommer. There was, however, enough room to finally realize the long-fostered merger plans with the Lesbian Archive of Amsterdam (LAA). In 2000, this finally occurred and Homodok merged with the LLA and the Anna Blaman House in Leeuwarden to become IHLIA.

The problem of the location was solved a few years later: the Public Library of Amsterdam (OBA) wanted to include IHLIA in the construction of a new library on the Oosterdok Island near the Central Station. As a center for knowledge and culture, the OBA was supplemented, in one go, with the gay/lesbian knowledge and culture that IHLIA had; which is so appropriate for a city like Amsterdam. Since May 2007, we are at this unique location.”

From shoebox to Gaysaurus2019-01-16T18:57:28+00:00

November 2006

History of IHLIA – 2006


– Ayaan Hirsi Ali opens the exhibition Who Can I Still Trust in the Camp Westerbork Memorial Center. Later that year, the exhibition moves to the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam and was opened there by Boris Dittrich

– Froukje Hernamdt receives Pink Pompebled for her merits for pink Friesland

– Nettie Groeneveld becomes the new executive manager of the Anna Blaman House

History of IHLIA – 20062015-01-16T13:46:36+00:00

November 2005

November 2004

November 2003

History of IHLIA – 2003


– On the 14th of November, IHLIA celebrates Homodok’s 25 years of existence

– IHLIA receives funds in the framework of Homosexual Redress Second World War. This money was spent on further reconstruction of the Schorer Library, developing an exhibition about the resistance and persecution of homosexuals around the Second World War and the professionalisation of IHLIA

History of IHLIA – 20032015-01-16T13:48:38+00:00

November 2002

November 2001

History of IHLIA – 2001


– The Gay Platform Fryslan was established. Participating parties were De Kringen, Gay Choir Onder Anderen, the GHJC, the Religion and Homosexuality Working Party, Orpheus Foundation and the Anna Blaman House. The latter became chairperson.

– ABH hands out the first Roze Pompebled

History of IHLIA – 20012019-01-03T13:45:43+00:00



– Same-Sex Civil Marriage and Adoption Act. See the final texts of the act (in Dutch)

– Memorandum by the second Kok cabinet about pink: memorandum about a gay-emancipation policy (PDF). The gay movement was not at all pleased: too careful, split-up and limited. Read their reaction with appendix of COC (in Dutch)

– First European conference about bisexuality at the start of the Pink Week in Rotterdam


November 2000



– The Dutch Lower House adopted a bill for same-sex civil marriage and adoption. The minor right wing parties and the CDA (with the exception of Gerda Verburg and Joop Wijn) voted against the bill, the rest of the House (with the exception of PvdA member Apostolou) voted in favor

– The International Gay/Lesbian Information Center and Archive Foundation (IHLIA) was established, merging Homodok, the Lesbian Archive of Amsterdam (LAA) and the Anna Blaman House

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