Our partner Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden, has entered a picture of the first international rugby game on Dutch soil into the Stuk van het Jaar election.

Historical Document of the Year (Stuk van het Jaar) is an online public event by the association of Dutch Archives. This year the contest shares its theme with that of The Month of History: ‘Borders ‘. All participating archives present their favorite historical document and then the public can vote from 1 to 27 October on his or her entry of choice. At the end of The Month of History the Historical Document of the Year 2016 is announced.

Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden has nominated their unique photo of the WW I rugby match. The chosen piece is shown below. The rugby match pictured is not just any ordinary rugby match. It was photographed in 1916 at the sports grounds at the Wilhelminabaan in Leeuwarden, and it is the oldest image of an international rugby match in the Netherlands. For a long time, it was the only known photo of the historic match, but recently another official photo surfaced, and there are two other images of the match on the internet.

The extraordinary black and white picture displays two different aspects. First of all, it shows the early years of the rugby sport in the Netherlands. But just as important it outlines the influence the Great War had on day to day lives in Leeuwarden. The rugby players on the photograph are interned English and Scottish servicemen. In other words, the rugby players are the exemplification of the turbulent times of Leeuwarden (and the Netherlands) during these years. On and around the sports field an attempt was made to flee the raw reality of war, and instead to embrace values that were far from obvious: cooperation, fraternity and assurance.


From 1 October onwards you can vote for our picture here.