Rainbow flags in the Reguliersdwarsstraat, Amsterdam, november 2019.
‘Reguliersdwarsstraat has a fascinating history as the street has been influenced by the wealth, as well as the poverty of surrounding neighbourhoods and has become a place for a wide variety of both gay and straight people.’ (Source: reguliers.net – history, november 2019)
Since 2016, the western part of the Reguliersdwarsstraat, between Koningsplein and Vijzelstraat, is promoted under the name Secret Village.
Whether it is I don’t know, but somehow it seems like more and more small dogs with their owners appear on the street. My not very thoughtful thought was that these small dogs would be treated as princesses and princes would be handled, in an environment full of chocolates and warm house rooms are. Good company usually, though. Very soon I appeared to have wrong. The stories behind the dogs and owners turn out so far much different from I had previously thought. Many beautiful stories as well. What turned out to be: thereby I forgot sometimes to take a picture of the small dog and the owner as I envisioned. Or I had the photo but I forgot the question that still come to the end lap. So, work to be done.
Picture taken at the rear side of the station. It seems to be always windy and cold at the station, inside and outside. The station opened in 1939. The outside is worth a visit because of the apparently build buildings on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Some of them appear to be devoid of function and make curious to the background of decennia of economic history. The inside is worth a visit to. The station hall has been decorated with several murals (1939) created by Dutch artist Peter Alma (1868-1969). The murals reflect the importance of technological advancement, in particular of the railroads. Delay your train or metro trip or plan a special trip to the station and treat yourself to a hot chocolate, coffee or cold coca cola. It’s worth it. Even the windy conditions.
Amsterdam Amstel Railway Station, own picture from March 2015
A 25 kilometers long dike to former island Urk In august 2016 I cycled from Joure to Urk. This route passes a 25 kilometers long dike between Lemmer and the former Zuiderzee island Urk. It is a unique dike because of its history, length and 25 kilometers uninterrupted long view from the dike to the IJsselmeer. No motorcyclist are allowed on the dike. The dike was constructed in 1939 from the mainland Lemmer to the island Urk, just as the Afsluitdijk project was changing the salt water Zuiderzee surrounding Urk to the less saline IJsselmeer. A couple of years later, in 1942, the seabed areas surrounding Urk were reclaimed from the sea and became the Noordoostpolder. The view from the dike is towards the IJsselmeer. But there are some ‘fly-overs’ in the dike, of which one can see the wideness of the Noordoostpolder.
History was felt It was my first time passing this dike and I was impressed by its length, the views from the dike to the IJsselmeer, the rest, the rows of windmills in land and see, the many sheep and birds and the views over the reclaimed land on the backside of the dike. I felt history also.
History was even more felt, when came across a stone setting worker on my way up to Urk. He took my attention because of his ongoing and calm hand work in combination with these large basalt stones. It made me think of the construction of the Afsluitdijk in the thirties of the last century. I told him so.
One of 27 stone setting workers in the Netherlands left During our combined lunch the nice man told me the construction and maintenance dike work nowadays is indeed the same as the work in those days. ‘I am one of them left of the 27 stone setting workers left in the Netherlands. I am glad too. It is work which cannot be done with machine work. We do get assistance from dike workers, but the real stone setting work has to be done by hand. People has tried with machines, but it did not work out. To be honest, I am glad with this, it means work to me, work I like. The work can be hard, but most important is gaining skills on it. The man explained also he and his colleague work from Monday till Tuesday on this project. On Friday, they travel home to their families in the province Zeeland. On Monday they return to their host families in Lemmer.
Thanks to Harry Neels, Yrseke, also for sending me a couple of days later a copy of his course book from 1992 for education to stone setting worker. The front of the book shows the picture of the sculpture called ‘steenzetter’ (stone setting worker), made by artist Ineke van Dijk for the Afsluitdijk and unveiled in 1982 by former queen Beatrix. Nowadays, people can still be trained to become a stone setting worker.
Scherper kijken betekent voor mij als fotograaf ook ‘durven dolen’: zwerven rond een onderwerp, voelen wat er gaande is en dan pas stil blijven staan en vastleggen. Tijdens Glow 2011 gaf United Visual Artist met het project ‘Volume’ hier voor mij een perfect voorbeeld van. Met dank aan Bijl PR voor de uitnodiging!
In the soccer season of 1997 – 1998 I visited a couple of time the trainings sessions of the first team of Feyenoord 1 in Rotterdam, one of the major soccer clubs in the Netherlands.
Main goal of my photo project was to follow these supporters, who came day in day out to the trainings field, at that time located near the ‘Kuip’, the impressive stadium from 1937 of Feyenoord. A historic place in many ways.
At those days plans were already there for movement of the trainings location of the first team to Varkenoord and a rebuild of the stadium.
Supporters of all ages there were, and support I got from them. Unfortunately I had to stop because of health hig ups and my movement to the northern part of the Netherlands. The few film rolls I shot until then were not all developed well enough. Not a good start… But and however unfinished, it delivered me good memories, nice contacts, and some small photo memories to me and them to a small piece of time in the great history of Feyenoord.
From 2009 the first team indeed moved for their trainings sessions to the sport complex Varkenoord near the Kuip. The discussion for a rebuild of the stadium or further refurbishment is hot at the moment.
Inspecialandgrateful remembrance of Rinus Rotgers, who I met a several times at that time. We wrote already for a short time at that time and round my movement to Friesland. It means a lot to me that I discovered only now (29 August 2014) now this broadcast of Dutch ‘Man Bijt Hond’ from 2008 about this at that time 96 years old Feyenoord supporter. I saw this picture I made of him in the background of his home. At time of the broadcast, Rinus Rotgers was 96 of age. I saw he passed away at the day of his 99th anniversary in 2010.
In September 2014, I took part in the Masterclass Street Photography of the Amsterdam City Archives, which I was very excited with.
The masterclass was part of the exhibition ‘de straat op’ (best translated to ‘taking to the streets’?) of the Amsterdam City Archives and linked to phtographer Ed van der Elsken (1947-1970) and three current photographers from the Netherlands: Hans Eijkelboom, Theo Niekus and Reinier Gerritsen.
We were led by in the centre of Amsterdam in two groups and accompanied by photographers Theo Niekus en Reinier Gerritsen. My group was commissioned to create a series of five photographs in which the relationship between traffic users should be visible. For this assignment we got 1 1/2 hour shooting time and 1/2 hour for the selection of our pictures. No Photoshop, cropping, or whatever. As shot, with only slight adjustments with our camera settings.
It wasn’t easy, but a funny and very informative experience, especially by the help of the photo professionals, the other photographers and employees of the Amsterdam City Archives.
Our selected photos, were shown the week afterwards outside the City Archives on a big screen