Fonds RBSC-ARC-1821 - Johanna den Hertog fonds

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Johanna den Hertog fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the fonds

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Physical description

5.44 m of textual records and other materials

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Name of creator

(August 19, 1952 - present)

Biographical history

Johana den Hertog was born in Rijswijk, the Netherlands on Aug 19, 1952. She emigrated to Canada in 1956 with her family, settling in Edmonton Alberta, and became a citizen in 1962. She attended Strathcona Composite High School and was valedictorian for the 1970 Graduating class. From 1970 to 1972 she undertook an Honours degree in Political Science and Anthropology at McGill University in Montreal, and was the recipient of the W. Wilson national scholarship. Den Hertog left McGill after two years without earning a degree, and relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1972. As a resident of Vancouver, den Hertog has been involved in various women’s movement, labour movement, political and public service positions.
During the 1970s den Hertog’s work focused mainly on advocacy for women’s legal rights and establishing better services for women. She was one of the founding members of Rape Relief, Vancouver, the first rape crisis centre in Canada, in 1973. From 1975 to 1977 she was the Ombudswoman for the Vancouver Status of Women. A focus on feminist issues stayed with den Hertog through her subsequent career in labour and politics.
In the 1970s den Hertog also began to work with the labour movement in various capacities. From 1977-1979 she was with the BC Federation of Labour, first as Director of Legislation and Research, and then as Director of Political Action. In these roles she was responsible for legislative analysis, briefs, research, and political action for affiliates. From 1979 to 1980, and 1981 to 1991, den Hertog moved to the Telecommunication Workers’ Union, where she was the Political Education coordinator and editor of the union newsletter, the Transmitter, and Executive Assistant to the President.
After a year-long self-study tour of 10 European countries and their political systems in 1980, den Hertog returned to Vancouver and focused her political activity through the 1980s and early 1990s on the New Democratic Party. A member since 1975, she was an organizer for the Burnaby-Edmunds provincial riding for four months in 1981, a riding won by MLA Rosemary Brown in the 1979 and 1983 provincial elections. She also served as the Chairperson of the BC NDP Convention Arrangements Committee (1982), Chairperson of the Policy Review Committee, Vice-President/Executive member of the Provincial NDP (1981-1987), and President of the New Democratic Party of Canada (1987-89). In 1984 and 1988 she ran for election as a Federal Member of Parliament in the riding of Vancouver-Centre. Although defeated both times, she lost the 1988 campaign by a narrow margin. She put her name forward for the NDP party nomination for the 1989 Provincial by-election for Vancouver- Point Grey, but was unsuccessful.
Den Hertog has also been an active volunteer. In 1990 she contributed to the Royal Commission for Electoral Reform, in 1991-92 she was a commissioner for the National Citizen’s Inquiry into Peace and Security, and from 1985-1993 a board member of the Canadian Centre for Arms Control.
From 1992 to 2001 she was Executive Director, Vancouver Cabinet Office, Office of the Premier. Director, International Trade, Environment, Aboriginal Affairs unit. (1992-2001). In this role, she led initiatives to represent BC interests on environment, forestry, aboriginal issues to UN, American, European and Asian forums; managed Premier and Cabinet members delegations to international venues.
Den Hertog later moved to a position as a Senior Resolution Manager and A/Director, for Indian Residential Schools Resolution (federal government) (2003 - 2013). Her task was to help implement the largest class action in Canadian history, resolving the claims of abuse for former students on Indian residential schools.
Although den Hertog officially retired in 2013, she remains an active volunteer and community member. For example, she has been a board member of the BC Labour Heritage Centre from 2017 to the present. Den Hertog continues to live in Vancouver, with her family.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds reflects Johanna den Hertog’s involvement in various women’s movement, labour movement, political and public service positions predominantly from the 1970s through the early 1990s. Records include materials related to den Hertog’s contributions to the establishment of Vancouver Rape Relief, an organization established to provide services to rape victims, as well as other activities related to advocacy for women’s rights, such as her participation in planning the Women Rally for Action in 1976. Records related to her participation in the New Democratic Party (NDP) at the provincial level include her role as Vice-President/Executive member of the Provincial NDP (1981-1987), Co-Chair of Mike Harcourt’s leadership campaign (1987), leadership roles in the planning of the party’s 1982 convention and the 1983 and 1986 elections. Records related to her service as President of the NDP include materials related to her role as spokesperson for the party, chair of numerous committees, liaison with the labour movement and the party’s representative in international forums. Also included are records of her public speeches throughout Canada. The fonds also includes records related to den Hertog’s 1984 and 1988 campaigns to win election as a Federal Member of Parliament in the riding of Vancouver-Centre and the 1989 Provincial by-election for Vancouver-Point Grey, where she put her name forward for the NDP party nomination. Although unsuccessful all three times, she lost the 1988 campaign by a narrow margin. Records relating to den Hertog’s volunteer and project work include her service as a board member of the Canadian Centre for Arms Control, her publication of a book chapter on the constitutional debate that took place in Canada in the late 80s and early 90s, her service on the Royal Commission for Electoral Reform and her service as a commissioner for the National Citizen’s Inquiry into Peace and Security.
The fonds is divided into five series: Women’s Activism, Provincial NDP, Federal NDP, Federal and Provincial Election Campaigns, and Volunteer and Project Work.
Records consist of newspaper clippings, brochures, agendas, minutes, notes, ephemera, diaries, calendars, reports, correspondence, photographs, press releases, pamphlets, drafts of speeches, campaign resources binders, policy briefings and the like.

Notes area

Physical condition

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All records were donated by Johanna den Hertog.


The fonds was arranged by the archivists generally following the creator’s arrangement.

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Associated materials

den Hertog also donated several books which can be found in the UBC library catalogue.

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General note

Content warning: files in the Vancouver Rape Relief sub-series contain anonymized descriptions of rape and sexual assault that are difficult to read.

General note

Includes the following photographs: RBSC-ARC-1821-PH-01 to 15

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Finding aid produced by Krisztina Laszlo and Catherine Hall, November 2021

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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