Local Heart, Global Soul

February 24, 2017

Delight To Detail Fanatic And Historian Alike…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you go past something in a museum, and then something about the item attracts your eye and you go back for a closer look.

Such was the case when Himself and I visited Texel’s Air Force and War Museum.

The item in question was a poster, that according to the title, ” Nederland in oorlogstijd”  (the Netherlands in wartime) and depicts the events in the nation between 1940 and 1945.

The  smaller pictures around the central map are miniature artworks in themselves and taken as a whole, they tell a story about the war.

There are (just) too many photographs for one post, so I will split them into two.

The other half will be posted tomorrow. I have translated the small text of the “story” into English and put them into as logical order as possible (they form a square around the central map and were not numbered.) These are beautiful, and a delight to the detail fanatic and historian alike…
The small pictures…

And where-ever you went the Gestapo was present…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The respect for another persons home was not honoured by the enemies gun

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And brothers who spoke our language were doomed with a star

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The work offered by the enemy was accompanied by whip and bullets

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Many anguished sighs were heard near the barbed wire of  Vught  (Kiwi’s note: Vought was a Dutch concentration camp)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The heart of the nation was angry and sad because of the murder of Rotterdam

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The sacred word and prayer supported moral resistance

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

People gathered with determination the arms for the freedom struggle

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Silent as a quiet rumour, messages were sent through the air

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The press, working away from the enemy always offered the free printed word

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To be continued…

February 20, 2017

A Battery That Depicts A Nation At War…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My next post from Texel’s Air Force and War museum is all about the remains and former parts of the defensive batteries that were built around the region during World War II.

There are two main information boards that go with a series of quite amazing models, made by a “B. van Leersum” they show all of the defenses as they would have been in 1940.

If I am totally honest I am curious about the models but less knowledgeable about the technical details that go with them, so I have written up the information that went with the display, and will leave my dear readers to hopefully make better sense of it than I did.

The North Battery
This was called by the Germans the “Marine Battery Eierland”, “Nordbatterie” or “Batterie Texl-Nord”   and was located near Marker Pole No. 28. 

The battery was operational as early as 1940 and was used to fire on the channel between Texel and Vlieland. The weaponry consisted of three 15cm cannon, originating from the former Dutch coast battery of Den Hoorn.

On the outer dunes, three open firing positions were built for it. Later on in the war this battery formed part of the Atlantic Wall.  Four more advanced 10.5 cm cannon and concrete bunkers were also installed together with a command post bunker with aiming equipment.

In the dunes behind these bunkers there were a number of smaller bunkers, among others for ammunition storage and to house soldiers etc.
After the war the bunkers suffered from coastal erosion and some even fell onto the beach. They were a risk for coastal sea defenses, so they were demolished,  and therefore why there is not much left today.
This model shows the situation of 1944 with the three foundations of the 15 cm weapons, the four cannon bunkers with the 10.5cm cannon and the command post bunkers.’

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

” Coast Battery Den Hoorn
This Dutch battery of  3 x 15L35  was constructed 1938-39 in the dunes near the village of Den Hoorn but was part of the “position of Den Helder” which formed a defense around Den Helder to protect the strategically important navy post and the Texel channel.

This battery consisted of the following constructions: Command Post, three firing positions which were also used as ammunition storage, an ammunition lift, a waiting room for soldiers, staff accommodation, three measuring posts and a workroom.
This battery was made for indirect firing so that the cannon did not have to be positioned on the outer dunes. From the command post and the three measuring posts, the distance and the direction of the target were defined.

This information was passed on to the workroom  where with the help of a type of mechanical computer, the data was transformed into aiming information for the soldiers manning the cannon.

German occupiers repositioned the cannon as early as 1940 to the north battery, the command bunker was still used for observation. The command post on the Loodsmansduin, the  three firing positions in the nature reserve de Bollenkamer  and the southern measuring post near  beach post number 8 in the inner dunes are still present.

This model shows the parts of the battery that are mentioned.”

The Second World War was very far away from my family in New Zealand, and yet uncomfortably close for my Dutch family members. Looking at things like this helps me to try and make sense of the things that they went through, what occupation of their country was like and how the experiences of those times shaped and changed a nation.  It’s a sobering time in Dutch history, a catastrophic time in world history … where the battery didn’t just apply to these structures being built, but also to the battery that the country was taking.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 19, 2017

Georgian Knights Of Old And Tales Of Chivalry…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the next exhibits that we see in the Air Force and War Museum on Texel is an unexpected but beautiful set of Georgian artifacts.

The information next to it tells us:
“Beginning May 1999 the head of the Georgian Orthodox church,  Ilja II, visited Texel.

On 3rd May he paid a visit to the museum to view the exhibit devoted to the “Georgian uprising”.

As a gift he brought with him an oil painting and a special book. The painting  shows the “old Tbilisi”, the capital of Georgia, and the book describes part of the Georgian church history.

The gold plaque in the center of the exhibition depicts a knight in a panther skin, and another information board tells us that this is part of one of Georgia’s Epic Stories :

“In the epic story Rustaveli talks about matters such as love, chivalry, courage and friendship.

Although the epic story is written in Georian, the heroes come from other countries: Arabia, India and China.

The knight in the Panther Skin tells the story of the arabian  nobelman Avtandil who is sent by his lover and also the ruler of arabia Tinatin, to find the mysterious knight in the panther skin.

After searching for three years Avtandil finds the knight who happens to be the indian prince Tariel and they become friends.

Tariel tells Avtandil that his lover Nestan-Daredjan is kept prisoner by devils / evil spirits in a fort. There is a passionate quest to find Daredjan and to free her.

At the end of the story there is a double wedding: the Royal wedding of Tariel and Nestan-Darejan, and that of Avtandil and Queen Tinatin.”

This is an unexpected find about the Georgian country and culture and tells us something interesting and fun that I would otherwise have had very little chance of coming across since Georgia is not in the mainstream media very much. The detail fanatic in me is also delighted by the gold-work in the picture… and added to this, who doesn’t enjoy a good story?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 18, 2017

A Mine Of Unexpected Information…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I, visiting the Air Force and War Museum on Texel back in the Easter of 2016, learned more and more about the regions wartime history with every step around the museum.

Several display boards filled with photographs tell us all about the deportation of younger men, in order to work under the occupying forces.

The text reads: “Beginning in November 1944, every male on Texel between the ages of 17 and 40 had to report to the former “zeevaartschool” (marine academy). On the 11th November, 806 men left the island in two groups.

The first group had to walk from Den Helder, via Hyppolytushoef, via the Afsluitdijk to Witmarsum, where they could sleep before walking to Leeuwarden.

The second group went by the ferry boat “Mars diep” to Harlingen and then also walked to Leeuwarden. Both groups had to deal with storm, cold, rain and snow.

At the Leeuwarden train station both groups were put onto a train to Assen. Here, they were housed in different buildings, including the Meester de Visserschool and the Agricultural school and at the “Port Natal” estate.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The men had to work for the German “Organisation Todt” in strengthening the so-called “Westwall”. This was one of the many lines of defense raised by the Germans as a response to the advancing allies.

Eventually all men returned safely back to the island.”
There are so many exhibits here that it would be impossible to give you a close up of all the photographs or a English text of them all… needless to say we both learned a massive amount and could not recommend a visit highly enough to anyone interested in history and local events.

We also learned to our complete surprise: “British-Indian troops arrived on Texel in the Spring of 1943 as Second Battalion of the 950e Infantry Regiment (II./ind.I.R.950).

They were taken prisoner in North Africa and later joined the German army.  The Battalion was used on Texel in coastal defense (the “Atlantic Wall”).

Because the Germans had doubts about the effectiveness of the Indian troops during the Dutch winter, they were replaced in the autumn by part of the  803 North-Caucasian Infantry Battalion.

The Sikhs in the regiment were allowed to wear a turban, as can be seen in some of the photos. The used it to keep their hair bound up, as they were not allowed to cut it off due to their religion.” Details like this are not generally known outside of local war records. We continue to discover so many new things…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 17, 2017

A Relaxed Posting, If Only There Hadn’t Been A War On…

Himself and I are at Texel’s Air Force and War Museum. The island was of course subject to the German occupation during World War II along with the rest of the country. That said, little fighting was seen here so it was a rather relaxed posting for the occupying forces, something reflected in these photographs. This part of the exhibition covers some of the time during the second world war, it’s a very different view when compared to other exhibitions I have seen, for instance of bombed out areas of  Rotterdam and parts of The Hague. It’s also a very different view to what my father experienced as a child living in The Hague. Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 25, 2016

Stepping Stones Of Cabbages Lead To Jail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes your local history lesson can be found directly under your feet.

Such was the case when Little Mr and I visited Gouda to fulfil his wish to go to the Playtoday Lego shop.

Whilst he was only interested in the Lego, I cast my eye around me for the details that give a city it’s character and I didn’t have to look long.

Dotted around us and inlaid into the brickwork of this pedestrian shopping street, were some interesting round cast plaques.

I was puzzled when it became obvious that the first one had broccoli on it, then came all sorts of varieties of cabbages.

Little Mr. was impatient to leave and the plaques stretched a long way further down the street, further than I could manage, so it was a sort of “snap and go” sort of mission, but I got as many as I could in the immediate area.

There was text around some of the plaques and since they had been there along time, dirt from the street had built up, obscuring most of the images and making the text almost impossible to read. I enlarged the photographs on the computer to try and make out individual letters and words, trying to string together something that made sense. Suddenly we made out the word “Warmoesstenen” and it all started to make sense. Himself explained to me that “warremoes” was a very old fashioned Dutch term, and went and looked it up.

It turns out that the more modern word for it is “warmoes” and the text around the broccoli tells us that this ” is the term for a mash made out of vegetable scraps, usually food for prisoners.”

The other part of the word: “stenen” means stones (i.e. these inlaid plaque stones).The next text says: ” Na negeren van een bevel verstoren van de openbare orde of bedreigen van de baljuw volgde berechting” , which translates as: “After ignoring an order, disturbance of public order or threatening a baliff, the court would then pass sentance.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following image text: ” De uitspraak van het stedelijk gerecht leiden tot boetes, gevangenschap, verbanning of tot de galg“,  which means: “The decision of the city court results in fines, imprisonment, exile / deportation or the gallows”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Around the next plaque the words are all for vegetable and cabbage types: “spruit” (sprouts), “koolrabi” (kohlrabi, a.k.a. turnip cabbage), “savooi” (savoy), “radijs” (radish), “paksoi” (bok choi), “koolraap” (swede / swedish turnip), “rammenas” (winter radish), “spitskool” (conical cabbage), “raap” (turnip / swede), “chinese kool” pronounced “shin-A’s-coal” (chinese cabbage) and “raapstelen” (turnip tops).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then I discovered some information about who has placed these here: “De warremoesstenen zijn een schenking van het 100 jarige Goudse Vuurvast NV aan de gemente Gouda”.The “warremoes” stones are a gift from the “Gouda Vuurvast Company to the municipality of Gouda (to mark the occasion of Vuurvast’s 100 year centenary).”

(Side note from Kiwi: The Vuurvast company makes refractory materials that keeps their strength under high temperature. Their products are used in the iron, steel and glass industries to make molds and crucibles and also to make deflectors for rocket launch structures). Once I knew the name of the company who made and gifted these stones I also found the following information (links as usual at the bottom of my post.) The illustration on this stone is Vuurvast’s (literally: “fire fast”) company logo.

The sites were in Dutch so I translated for you:” Warmoes stones: Up until 1845 the landscape of the Lange Tiendeweg in Gouda was dominated by the Warmoespoort, a bridge with in-built cell space for prisoners.The bridge was named after the remains of cabbage leaves that was the prisoners food. One hundred “stepping stones” set into the Long Tiendeweg have been used to build a picture of this historical past near the center of Gouda.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The following stone appears to never have had text on it because the image runs completely off the edges. If the Vuurvast Company celebrated it’s 100th Centenary in 2009 then these have been here for seven years now, hence the build up of grime.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next text  around the sprouts consists of random words: “vlooken” (to swear), “smijten” (to chuck / to throw), “razen” (furious / rage), “spuwen” (to spit / old fashioned form of  the modern word “spugen” = to spit), “schelden” (scold), “tieren” (rant).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

De cipier kreeg 35 cent per arrestant voor de voeding en genoot een inkomen van 75 guilden per jaar.” (The jailer received 35 cents per prisoner for food and enjoyed an income of 75 gulden per year).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Brassicaceae: brassica campestris var pekinensis (kruisbloemenfamilie: Chinese kool)” (Brassicaceae: brassica campestris from pekinensis (cabbage family: Chinese cabbage)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Bij inschrijving voor afbraak te verkoopen: de TIENDWEGSPOORT. aan het einde van den Langen Tiendeweg.” (Selling upon demolition, register at the Tiendweg gate, end of the Long Tiendeweg.) In the center it says: ” OPENBARE VERKOOPING 20 November 1854“, (PUBLIC SALE 20 November 1854)
… which makes no sense to me, especially the date! It appears then that maybe these were only meant to be temporary and that people could register to buy them later… but the date is 1854 …which makes us all just a tad late!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Here are some of the other stones (duplicate in image to the above, so that you can see the wear and tear…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gouda Vuurvast Services

More about the history of Gouda Vuurvast (Note:Dutch language only)
 The Gouda “Warmoes” Stones.

 

June 25, 2016

Unveiling A Neighbourhood On The Up…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Den Haag Gemeentearchief (the Hague City Council Archive) set up large billboards round the city of The Hague around seven years ago as part of their celebration of their 125th Anniversary.

Each of these billboards depicted photographic scenes of the city within that same 125 year time span.

They had for a time, a website featuring all of the billboard photographs, plus their locations but for some reason the site disappeared after a while.

Luckily Himself and I happened to see it before the information was removed and in a spur of the moment fit of “history-fix” decided to visit some of the billboard locations, which in turn became a challenge to try and visit them all.

With some eighty billboard locations to visit and time running out before they were removed, most of our data collection consisted of me dashing out from the passenger seat of the car, camera in hand whilst Himself found parking spots or when traffic was high and none available, driving round and round the block until I’d collected all of the photographs we needed.

Instinctively while at the locations I took photographs of the present day surroundings as well as the billboard pictures, something I found out later that the City Council Achieve had neglected to do.

With my “before” and “after” photos I set about slotting this series into my blog… it’s a wonderful slice of local history in The Hague and both Himself and I are delighted that we did it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Todays offering comes from an area of town that has had in the past less than favourable reputation and press, but
which is slowly with the help of regeneration projects turning both the area and it’s reputation around.
Specifically the Newton Plein had an especially bad reputation with a friend recalling that (in the 1990’s) he went to visit a friend who lived on the Newton Plein, they both stepped out of the front door in order to smoke cigarettes and were in time to see a large gang of young men wander past, aimlessly keying and denting parked cars before randomly selecting one and torching it.

Both he and his friend were rather drunk, and severely outnumbered so the stood staring in disbelief until his friend told him that this behaviour wasn’t unusual, just that usually the gangs stuck to minor damage!

Fortunately this has gone from being a severely deprived area and is on the up. The neighbourhood now houses a large number of young families and home ownership has steeply increased, but most of all the socio-economic demographic has changed so the Newton Plein’s reputation is slowly being repaired.

The text on the billboard reads: “Newtonplein onthulling van het standbeeld van Descartes op 17 april 1914″ which translates into English as: “Newtonplein: Official unveiling of the Descartes statue on 17 april 1914”.
The Plein today has a new playground in it, with not just little kid thing like swings and slides but also a basketball court /football area (with tall wire fence to stop the ball from going on the road etc)… lots to keep kids of all ages occupied.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 1, 2016

If Only I Could Zoom In On Your Hidden Levels Of Promise…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I visited the Rijksmuseum a couple of a months ago with two friends, and we arrived early because we overestimated the amount of traffic between The Hague and Amsterdam early on a Sunday morning.

Himself dropped us off and headed back home since art galleries and museums are not really his thing, my girl friends and I decided to look at the back side of the museum.

This wasn’t originally because we intended to do so, rather that despite the sunny day, it was so bitterly cold and windy that standing still was less of an option, even rugged up in warm clothes and coats.

Having reached the back entrance through the tunnel that goes through the ground floor of the building, we stop and take a look around.

The museum reaches back behind me to my left, the entrance to the tunnel running under the building covered by an ornate porch. To the right the decorative façade reaches upwards, and the more you look the more you see. Even the gates that close off the tunnel underneath the museum at night are beautifully ornate. There are stone carved pieces of various ages, some have been worn away by time, the one that contains the “Green Man” image in it’s foliage is difficult to estimate with regards to age, it could be an old one that’s been cleaned during the recent renovations, or it is a new addition because there is so much less wear than the other stone pieces.

On the other hand it’s more sheltered position has probably spared it a great deal from the elements. High up on the wall are two massive panels, made in tiles: the nearer one depicts what looks to be a crowd gathered at a roll call, the other I struggled to see well due to it’s height and angle but appears to be a King on a throne surrounded by the members of court. The detail is tantalisingly close but frustratingly too far away. It’s like a sweet (candy) placed just millimetres out of reach. I can see so much and I can see so little… Between these large tiled pieces are two smaller panels with inscriptions, these panels are framed in ornate stonework. The beautiful stonework continues down to the arched pieces at the top of the four windows on the lower floors. I’m going to invest in a far more powerful zoom lens and this wall is near the top of my list to come back to… preferably without the freezing temperatures that prevailed when these photographs were taken.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

April 30, 2016

An Ornamental Garden: And A Packaged Sized Beauty…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I am visiting the Rijksmuseum with two girl friends. It’s early on a Sunday morning and we arrived earlier than expected so have kill some time until the doors open.

Although the sun is shining, it is bitterly cold and the entrances to the museum are located in the shadow of the tunnel that runs directly under the musum, so in order to keep warm I need to move a little.

Going far is not an option but the end of the tunnel and the other side of the museum is only a few meters further so I head out there.

I exit on to a large Plein, at the end of which is a large ” I AMsterdam” sign (actually in real life the letters are the same shape and size, but the “I AM” is in red and the rest in white).

Before me is a lovely ornamental garden, one that I know from Google Earth images is a recent addition. Fountains and statues complete the outward vista.

I’m not certain if the smaller building is part of the Rijksmuseum complex, a private residence, an office, or something else that just happens to be located in a building of similar age and style to the Rijksmuseum. Beauty in both a large and small package is droolworthy either way…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

April 25, 2016

The “Strippen Kaart”, A Nostalgic Look At A Dutch Legendary Treasure.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The last thing that I want to talk about from our visit to  “Het Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum” (the Hague Public Transport Museum) is a metal yellowy-orange box that anyone who has lived in the Netherlands will recognise instantly.

It’s the stamp machine that was used to stamp the famous “Nationale Strippen Kaart”.

For decades these cards could be found in millions of Dutch wallets and bureau drawers to be used as payment for rides on the busses and trams all around the Netherlands. They were also valid payment for a few train lines too.

On each tram or bus (and information board at each halt) there would be a list of all the halts on that route.

The stripper card system was that you would count the number of halts to your destination, add one and then stamp of that number of strips from your strip card.

So one halt would be two strips, two halts would be three strips etc. Additionally there was a time element and a zone element to the system as well.  Between two and  four strips (1 hour /between 1 and 3 zones), five and seven strips (1.5 hours / between 4 and 6 zones), …between seventeen and twenty strips, (3.5 hours / 16 or more zones).

It sounds complicated but if  you have to travel into the centre of the city and the journey would cost you four strips, but your errands there took less than one hour, you could either return home on the same strips without re-stamping, or go on to a new destination (worth four strips or less) within three zones of the original stamp.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

An inspector on the tram would be able to look at the time on the stamp and know where (which zone) and when you got on the tram, thus work out if you needed to stamp again or not.

Of course there were fare abusers, they were often conspicuous by the fact they that would prefer to stay standing as close to the stamp machine as possible, even when seats further down the tram were available.

Their standing position meant they could see if uniformed inspectors where waiting to board at the next halt to inspect the tram, then they would quickly stamp their cards to avoid a heavy instant fine.

The inspectors often boarded trams in mufti and knowing this trick pounced on these people first when doing an inspection.

Of course I heard the fare avoiders say ” it was only this one time” but everyone knew they were lying through their teeth and they dodged fares constantly.

Before we saved up and bought our car, I used the tram to go to work and saw more shenanigans than you could list. Certain routes and particular halts were prime targets for fare dodgers, raids by inspectors were carried out accordingly.

On one of the trams I took to get to work, the same girl got caught four or five times in a month,  the spot fines exceeded at least six months of travel, so cheating the system certainly wasn’t cost efficient, for her at least.

Later on I got an “abonnement” where you paid for a monthly card and could have unlimited travel within the zones you had paid for, within that month.

I eventually switched to the car after having children because getting to the daycare centre that my work subsidised, was so far out of my way via public transport that it cost me an extra hour each way. By car it cost me about fifteen minutes.

The “Strippen Kaart” came in three sizes: the blue Fifteen and Forty-five strip cards for adults, a pink half priced Fifteen strip card for senior citizens and children eleven years of age or younger, and finally, a small two strip card that the driver would issue if you came to him when you got on because you didn’t have a card.Getting a strippen card from the driver was by far the most expensive way to travel so was to be avoided where ever possible.

The regular blue and pink Strippen Kaarten were available to purchase from every tobacconists, supermarket and bookshop, so most people bought two cards at a time, you used one, and as soon as you started the second one you would buy a new “spare”.

Although I used the car for work most of the time, occasionally Himself would need the car and I would use a strip card for the tram. I still had a “spare” adult and child card in the drawer when I had my accident, and I haven’t been on a tram since, so after the Strippen Kaarten were phased out I was left with a couple of pristine cards that might well be worth something one day.

Today the Dutch travel on public transport with electronic “OV Chip” cards, which I have also not used to date because the nearest tram halt is beyond my pain threshold on crutches. Himself and the kids do use the new ones though, especially for trips to the centre of town where parking can be a nightmare. In the meantime I find a certain nostalgia in these old cards… as do many Dutch people I suspect.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Photograph above: (old) 45 strip adult card, photograph below: 15 strip child/senior citizen card…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(New) 45 strip adult card, note the black edging…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(old) 15 strip adult card…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next… the card(s) you buy from the driver… if your fare falls between card values ie 5 strips, there will be no change given, you pay for three cards (six strips). Not a cheap way to travel…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first OV Chip cards (these are one time use paper ones) there are plastic ones that can be topped up…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The two new 15 strip cards I found with the rest… I will keep them for nostalgia’s sake…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

15 strip adult cards… three different editions, fare increases and different styling…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

15 strip kid/ senior edition, price increase and new styling…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The oldest card in my collection… sadly used and not in mint condition…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The stamping machine, usually 3 (or four) in each tram… in stations also outside at tramhalt… everyone remembers jumping on a tram in the rush-hour and the flurry of “peep” noises that the machine gave when each card was stamped successfully one after another. You had to fold the card over in the right place to put it into the machine, that’s why so many of my strippen kaart are bent up…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Calculating the number of stops and thus how many strips to stamp off…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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