This partial collection includes some 1,000 different pamphlets. Many of them were produced and circulated by the same underground group as illegal newspapers, e.g. Trouw (Faith), Vrij Nederland (Free Netherlands), Het Parool (The Motto) and De Waarheid (The Truth). Some of these pamphlets are special bulletins issued by these underground papers, but the contents are mostly unrelated.
The pamphlets encourage the population to offer resistance to the German occupier and contain direct or indirect reactions to specific events or measures that had been taken by the Germans. In this way, the resistance movement tried to mobilize the population and impress upon the occupier that the people's fighting spirit was far from broken.
Examples of topics covered by the illegal pamphlets are:
- forced labour in Germany
- the persecution of the Jews
- the Royal Family
- the black market
Circulation figures for the illegal pamphlets ranged from a single copy, sometimes handwritten, to a few hundred typed and stencilled copies. Some pamphlets even appeared in print, in relatively large numbers, particularly those pamphlets originating from underground groups that also distributed newspapers.
There is a large number of pamphlets of which several copies are available. Sometimes they only differ in appearance (printed or typed and stencilled) and in the typography, but sometimes their contents also differ from one another. Differences in text may be unintentional errors made during reproduction of an existing text, but they may also be conscious changes made with the pamphlet's message in mind.
It was decided not to include all the different copies of the same pamphlet in the Memory of the Netherlands as they often represent only minor, mainly typographical differences. Additional copies of the same brochure or pamphlet have only been included in the case of textual differences or if there are significant differences in design and layout.