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John en Dorothy Keur
In 1952 a married couple from New York arrives in Drenthe; Dorothy and John Keur. They chose the village of Anderen to conduct a year-long anthropological study into traditional village life. An understandable choice, as the small hamlet in Drenthe has remained pretty much unchanged until that time.
The study by Dorothy and John Keur is called 'The Deeply Rooted' and is the first anthropological field research that is conducted in the Netherlands. For a whole year the couple stayed in the village and carefully observed day-to-day activities. They also met with each family at least twice to interview them about their lives.
In their study the Keurs describe that Anderen has a population of 280 at that time. Pretty much all are farmers and related to each other. People married fellow villagers or boys or girls from the next town over. That meant it was one big family, both literally and figuratively, creating a strong sense of community.
A Regular Rhythm
Life in the village follows the rhythm of the seasons. Everyone's door is always open. The children don't attend preschool because the village doesn't have one. They do have a primary school. The headmaster is the only person in the village who is not from Drenthe. After primary school, the teenagers attend at most a few years of agricultural training.
Anderen has two grocers' in 1952. They are operated from the front room of a farm. Only the baker, the smith, and the local pub owner have their own business. The primary mode of transport are bicycles. The village also has ten mopeds and one car. The locals don't go on holiday. The furthest they travel is to Groningen, about thirty kilometres north of Anderen.
Everyone is Equal
Theft in the village is non-existent. On this the Keurs write: 'Respect for other people's property here is so great, that in the six years the headmaster has been working in Anderen, he has never lost a pencil.' The differences in terms of wealth are small too. While one farmer may own more land than another, there are no class differences in the village.
Residents from Elsewhere
After John and Dorothy Keur's visit, Anderen changed significantly. Time no longer stood still during the second half of the 20th century. The village grows, there are more cars, and many people from outside the village and even the province settle there now. That is perhaps the biggest difference for the older people in the village.