Organisation - February 25, 2016

On the trail of leftwing activism

Roelof Kleis

Older Wageningen alumni are bound to have memories of a number of leftwing organizations, initiatives and protests. WSO, De Uitbuyt, De Tien Zilverlingen. Squats, the Wageningen Spring, attacks on GM trial plots. Jokari or the Imperialism Collective… The Wageningen Left in all its glory. But who remembers what went on? Who did what and why? And what traces of that era can still be seen around the town?

Jobbe Wijnen, an alumnus of this university, was studying here from 1995 to 2003. The leftwing movement was already over its peak by then, so he didn’t witness much of it himself. But two years ago when he came across some graffiti on the wall of the International Club – ‘Yes to Lubbers, no to Pudoc’ – his interest was aroused.

Wijnen studied Biology but nowadays he is a cultural historian with a special interest in the physical traces of conflicts. The words on the wall of the former squat premises is one such trace. ‘Those squatters were evicted at the time. I wanted to know exactly what happened.’ And that led straight to the idea of the project: The Wageningen Barricades. An attempt to map out Wageningen’s leftwing activism from 1970 in an accessible form.

And when he says map out, he means that literally. Wijnen wants to create a digital map of Wageningen showing the places where it all happened. The squats, the meeting places at clubs and organizations and the traces of activism, whether visible or not. He will also publish 12 articles about the activism, each of them linking a location with the eyewitness testimony of a key player. 

Wijnen is concentrating largely on staff and alumni of Wageningen UR. ‘I am eager to get hold of stories and photos. Memories, posters, leaflets, film clips… everything is of interest.’ For more information visit

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  • Nico

    Het WSO archief is/wordt overgracht naar het Gelders proviniciaal archief, je kan contact opnemen met st.arion(at)housingdeskwageningen(punt)nl

  • Jurrito

    Tipje voor Jobbe Wijnen: Een deel van het oude WSO archief is in de archieven van de universiteit beland nadat het oude WSO pand is afgestoten door de universiteit.