Local Heart, Global Soul

March 10, 2011

Sometimes Change is almost only in the Trees…

Filed under: The Hague,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another Billboard post from my photographic archives, photographed whilst they were on show by the  Haags Gemeentearchief (the Hague City Council Archive) to celebrate their 125th Anniversary in 2009.

As with the other billboard posts,  all are situated as close to the spot as possible (and where practical) to where the original photos were taken, so that viewers can see both the past and present views.

“De Stede” is an area what lies roughly  around the intersection of the Hengelolaan and the Vrederustlaan and there’s a large (at least for Dutch standards) shopping centre there.

Considering that the billboard photos hae been taken between 20 and 150 year ago, this is one of the more ‘recent’ ones as this billboard photo was taken in 1967.

The text on the board reads: “ De Stede met Albinet en boekhandel  Jan Haverman. Prentbriefkaart uitg, door Jan Haverman circa 1967“Translated, that reads ” De Stede with Albinet and Jan Haverman Bookshop, Advertising postcard  given out by Jan Haverman around 1967″

The shops interiors have changed because the bookshop no longer exists as far as my searching can find, but  Himself  thinks that from memory  “Albinet” was a less successful offshoot of the large supermarket chain “Albert Heijn”. That would make some sense, because today the “Albinet” is occupied by the highly successful Albert Heijn supermarket, (who probably already owned the premises when the billboard photo was taken.)

The actual buildings however have changed little, the trees have grown and the surrounding buildings looking in the same direction look almost the same as they did when the photo was taken. Sometimes a snapshot in time tells us how much things change.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this instance it tells us that some things change very little indeed.

February 8, 2011

The Interior Design Craze that led to a Global Giant…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post in my “Billboard” series, discovering the old and new behind the The Haags Gemeentearchief (the Hague City Council Archive) Billboards that were set up for the short time to celebrate their 125 year anniversary.

This building shows the headquarters of the Royal Dutch Shell Group on the de Carel van Bylandtlaan in the Hague.

The text on the billboard says: “Bataafsche Petroleummaatschappij aan de Carel van Bylandtlaan circa 1920

…which is a little hard to translate literally, so maybe it’s easier to  tell you that the “de Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij”  refers to an old Dutch oil company which was a predecessor of  NAM Nederlands aardgas maatschappi (Dutch Natural Gas company).
Carel van Bylandtlaan” is the street name where the building is located and where the billboard photo was taken in 1920.

The first thing that is immediately apparent is that the building has been greatly expanded… but Wow, without the billboard  to compare things to, you would never know. If only more “extensions” these days could be so sympathetically done!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I took photos of the building and wanted to take some more detailed close ups of the ironwork on the doors. However, the buildings’ security staff came out and said that whilst they were happy for me to photograph the building itself,  to please not photograph any closeups of the doors.

Therefore, you’ll have to make do with a close-up of part of the stonework  further up instead.

I did some research on the company and via their website found various bits of information which I have written up here…

Marcus Samuel was a London antique dealer who wanted to expand his business.

In 1833 he added oriental shells to his stock to capitalize on the new craze of using them in interior design.  Demand grew to the extent that he began importing shells from the Far East, thus began Marcus Samuel’s import and export business.

By 1886 the business was in the hands of sons Sam and Marcus Samuel junior and  well established in the export of machinery, tools and textiles, and the import of rice. copper, silk and china to and from the Far East and also the trade in commodities of sugar, flour and wheat worldwide.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On a trip to Japan, Marcus jr.  became aware of the  newly developing oil trade and saw a solution for a problem in the industry. Oil was being transported in barrels, which were prone to leaking and their shape did not best utilize the space on the holds of the ships transporting them.

Marcus and Sam commissioned  steamers that could hold oil in large compartments, then thus the first bulk oil tanker the “Murex” was born.

They quietly built bulk oil storage units at ports, using for the first time, the new Suez Canal.
They worked quietly and quickly so that news would not leak out to the dominant oil company of the day, Rockefeller’s “Standard Oil“.

The maiden voyage of the “Murex” through the Suez Canal revolutionised oil transportation and greatly reduced the cost by vastly increasing the volume that could be carried per ship.
Marcus jr and Sam initially called their company “The Tank Syndicate” but in 1897 renamed it the “Shell Transport and Trading Company.”

When a major oilfield was discovered in Sumatra, J.B August Kessler of the “Royal Dutch” company oversaw the building of pipelines and a refinery at Pankalan Brandan. Kessler was joined in 1896 by a young marketing director, Henry Deterding who was instrumental within the company until the outbreak of World War Two.

Marcus Samuel’s dependence on his Russian producers left him vulnerable and he decided to seek other sources of oil, and the Far East was the next logical step. In Borneo he came up against Royal Dutch Petroleum, one of the region’s biggest competitors.

The two companies joined forces to protect themselves against the might of Standard Oil, forming a sales organisation in 1903, called the “Asiatic Petroleum Company“. They went on to discover of oil in Texas.

Full merger of the two companies into the “Royal Dutch Shell Group” came in 1907. There were two separate holding companies with Royal Dutch taking 60% of earnings and Shell Transport taking 40%. The merger transformed the fortunes of both companies. Under the management of Henry Deterding they turned from struggling entities to successful enterprises within twelve months.

In 1904, the scallop shell or “pecten” replaced Shell Transport’s first marketing logo, a mussel shell. In various forms it has remained in use ever since, becoming one of the best known corporate symbols in the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 25, 2011

Watch how the City Marches into the Market Gardens…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Haags Gemeentearchief (the Hague City Council Archive ) celebrated it’s 125th  by placing many large billboards of photographs  around the city.

All of them are photos of various points in the city taken between 20 and 150 years ago… and all are situated as close to the spot as possible (and where practical) to where the original photos were taken, so that viewer of the billboard can see both the past and present views.

I took photos of many of them whilst they were on view.

I am standing taking these photos on a four-way intersection. As per usual with Dutch streets,  streets often change names at intersections. In this case each of the branches of the four-way intersection sports a different name.

If you are looking towards Tram Number 3 then the street you see will be Arnold Spoelplein, the same street behind you on the other side of the intersection then changes name to Lisztstraat.

If you have Arnold Spoelplein on your left side and Lisztstraat on your right, then the road in front of you (pointing in the direction of Laan Van Meerdervoort) will be Aaltje Noordewierstraat and behind you is then Tramstraat (upon which ironically there are no tram lines LOL).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Thus the four streets  leading away from this one spot each have different names .. but in general, Tramstraat leads more to the district called Loosduinen and Aaltje Noordewierstraat leads to a district called Waldeck .

So, Now that I have you acquainted with the area, we can proceed to the billboard photo.

The Text on the billboard says: “Gezicht vanaf de verffabriek Premier op een deel van de toekomstige wijk Waldeck. Foto: Dienst Stadsontwikkeling en Volkshuisvesting, maat 1949.”

Translation: View from the  “Premier” paint factory towards a part of the future neighbourhood Waldeck. Photo:  Urban Development and Housing Department , March 1949.

As you can see, this area has changed vastly since 1949.  Long gone are the market gardens that backed onto what used to be the outer edge of the city.

Today the view includes the  Loosduinen terminus of  The Hague’s Tram Line 3, apartments blocks, general housing  and a former post office (building by the empty tram halt with orange signs).  As per recent city council environmental efforts, the grasses by the tram stop have not been mown in the deliberate attempt to encourage bees, insects and butterflies.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just think…  probably seventy to eighty years ago the caterpillar ancestors of these butterflies had probably been munching on lettuce and cabbage leaves in the market gardens.

March 22, 2010

Billboard Archive Photos:Spelende kinderen op het Alberdingk Thijmplein.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Den Haag Gemeentearchief (the Hague City Council Archive) celebrated  their 125th year anniversary in 2009  and placed many large billboards around the city to celebrate the event. I went and took photos of many of them.  This one is called “Spelende kinderen op het Alberdingk Thijmplein. Juli 1948. Foto: Dienst Stadsontwikkeling en Volkshuisvesting”

That translates as  “Children playing on the  Alberdingk Thijmplein. July 1948”

Guest: Maurice writes:
“Leefbaarheid in wijk Vestia. Wij zouden deze bilboard graag willen plaatsen in de wijk welke bezit is van Vestia den haag Zuid-Oost. Dit zou het “oud-spoorwijk-gevoel”: ten goede komen. de bewoners zijn veelal trots en hebben sterke binding met de wijk.”

This text translates as:

“We would like to please place this billboard in an area that is owned by Vestia, (Kiwi’s note: Vestia is a housing corporation) Den Haag, South East. This would be good for the ” nostalgic feelings of Old Spoorwijk (Kiwi’s note: a neighbourhood of The Hague before it was renovated). Most people who live there are proud of the area and have a strong bond/connection to the neighbourhood”

Here are the present day views around the billboard site…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The ivy has been removed from the houses in the background, but basically the view is much the same now as it was in 1948.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One change that is apparent is that there are less flowers in the Plein and more grass now, so hopefully the local children of today can play inside the fence  in the grass and not outside of it on the pavement as it seems they had to in the past.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 23, 2010

The Hague, Billboard Archive Photos: Vondelstraat

Gemeente Den Haag (the Hague City Council) has in recent weeks placed many large billboards around the city. All of them are photos of various points in the city taken over the last century of so … and all are situated in the spots where the original photos were taken, so that viewers can see both the past and present views.

(photo © Kiwidutch)

(photo © Kiwidutch)

I find this way of bringing real history to the streets to be a brilliant idea and have set out to document as many of them as I can find.

I actually have a problem with this billboard,  because I don’t think think that it facing  quite the right way…I think that  it should face more side-ways to the way it is positioned.

The photo in the billboard appears to look down Vondelstraat , and then Yes, there are new buildings that have been built afterwards, running at right angles to,  covering the “ends” of these rows.

(photo © Kiwidutch)

(photo © Kiwidutch)

The translation of the Dutch text reads: ” Vondelstraat with side walls of Bilderdijkstraat, Tollenstraat and 2nd De Riemerstraat, 1929.”

(Meaning that you can see the ends of the houses in each of these streets) The photo was taken during the Great Depression and three of the ends of the building rows appear to have had other buildings formerly attached to them, and which have been removed.

One of them ( third from right) is the correct looking end of a row of terraced houses. One day when I get time I wouldn’t mind finding out why there seems to be “shaddows” of former buildings on the ends of these rows and why they are missing in the billboard photo.

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