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Babette Wagenvoort

An Evening at the Women’s Association

Text Lokien de Bie

Before the Covid-19 crisis hundreds of women throughout The Netherlands gathered every month for an evening at the ‘Passage’ (protestant women’s association) and the Women’s Guild (Catholic women’s association), where they enjoyed a diverse range of lectures, shared food and drink, danced, talked, held raffles, ending each meeting with a song, a psalm or ‘an annual report in rhyme’.

These traditional religion-based rural women’s associations that flourished for decades still exist, but along with today’s rapidly emptying churches, they are threatened to disappear.

Visual artist Babette Wagenvoort and writer Lokien de Bie visited ten association evenings in Westland, – an area in the South-West of The Netherlands –  in order to discover the importance of these gatherings to so many women.

This report – in drawings, text and interviews – pays homage to a Dutch cultural phenomenon in decline. It is a shortened and translated version of the Dutch book ‘Een avond bij de vrouwenvereniging’ (still available through the bookshop).

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