In 1845 a group of Dutchmen emigrated to South America and founded a colony in Suriname. Two weeks after their arrival 180 people died from typhoid fever. Two years later another 37 died of yellow fever. These two epidemics killed more than half of the Dutch emigrants in Suriname.
In 1979, more than 100 years later, blodbank doctors in the Netherlands began to unravel the mystery of these devastating epidemics. Was it arbitrary who survived the diseases? If not, what protected some people but not others? The doctors compared the 4th generation immigrants in Suriname and Dutch blood donors.