18 October 2011

The Museumplein on a very cold night

This photo was taken on a very cold night in Februari (look at the blue smoke coming out of the Rijksmuseum). I hope to post more pictures of the Museumplein in a later stage, because the plane-trees are very beautiful in the summer and beginning of fall.

16 October 2011


When I came to Amsterdam in 1990 I lived around the corner of the Lekstraatsynagoge in De Rivierenbuurt.

A few years ago I heard a story from a Jewish man called Stan Rubens. In September 1942, when Stan was 11 years old, he and his family were caught during hiding and subsequently imprisoned in the Hollandsche Schouwburg. Stan found a way to escape from the childcare building that was located across the street. He managed to stay alive during the rest of the war by fleeing and hiding in different places around Amsterdam and Utrecht.

After the war, when he was 14 years old, Stan and his family reunited. The years after the war were very difficult for the Rubens family. In that period Stan got gitarlessons and he soon started his own music group. It was a "Hawaiian Ensemble". Around 1947 he got the opportunity to organise some lively music-evenings in the Lekstraatsynagoge. The thought of this fourteen year old boy making exotic-music in this bleak synagoge in the Rivierenbuurt moved me deeply.

At the age of 19 Stan emigrated to Australia and in his later life he became a professional musician in Hawaii.

Go to: Stan's webite

12 October 2011


When I went to the Rietveld Academy I passed by this house everyday but I never took much notice of it (the modern houses on the Bernard Zweerskade were more interesting in that time). However I found out that I always experience a subtle sense of nostalgia when passing this building. Melancholia would be a better term I think to decribe this specific atmosphere. It is strongly connected to my feelings of Amsterdam as my hometown. The desire to have a home at least, unfulfilled, almost like an ancherpoint.

10 October 2011


When I took this picture I was standing on the bridge of the Van Hilligaertstraat with my nose towards the Ruysdaelkade. This canal is the border between my area of De Pijp and the western part of Amsterdam-Zuid. I have some pictures of that area (Museumplein, Concertgebouw) but not so many. I hope to post some pictures of de Lairessestraat-neighbourhood in a later stage.

06 October 2011

Roei- & Zeilvereniging "De Amstel"

When I made this picture I was focussing on the lights, the colors and the feeling of space. There is also a specific historic story connected to the rowingclub (on the left). All in all there were a lot of focuspoints when I was standing out there in the snow.

Later when I looked back on the computer I noticed by accident the little yellow car parked on the Jozef Israƫlskade (a bit off-centre, straight under the streetlight). This mini-mobile is owned by a couple that I got to know this last summer. (just like me they have a habbit of making eveningtrips around the south-part of the city). Whenever I see them driving by I think: "It's a big miracle that they both fit in this tiny, yellow machine but they really do".

04 October 2011

Former girl-school Gerrit van der Veestraat (Voormalige meisjes-HBS Gerrit van der Veenstraat)

Although I love Amsterdam a lot and enjoy the lively beauty of it, I experience a sentiment of emptiness or desolation in this town as well. For years I took these impressions for granted but only since a couple of years I became more alert to them.

From 2009 untill 2010 I did freelance work for The Shoah Foundation. This organisation, that was originally initiated by Steven Spielberg, collected world wide more than 50.000 video testimonies of Holocaust-survivors. Around 2000 interviews were about Holland (1000 of them were Dutch spoken and another 1000 in other languages). The coƶrdination of these interviews was (and is) done by Denise Citroen.

I was watching the interviews, summarizing the stories and classifying it so people can easily search through them. It was very inspiring to hear and learn so much about this period. In total I indexed 128 interviews, from mainly Jewish survivors, but also quite a few Jehovah's Witness survivors, political prisoners, people that were active in the resistance and a Roma survivor.

For more information go here: Tweeduizend Getuigen Vertellen.

In many testimonies there were recollections about the Meisjes-HBS in the Gerrit van der Veenstraat (wich was called Euterpestraat than). After the German invasion the headquarters of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) were stationed there. People were interrogated in this building, imprisoned and more than often tortured. In 1944 the school was partly bombed and the headquarters moved to the Apollolaan.

In the first picture we see the square in front of the Meisjes-HBS. In the second picture we see the building itself.

02 October 2011

Reijnier Vinkeleskade

This beautiful area is located right behind the Apollolaan. When I was walking there I had a strange but nice experience of security. Maybe it was the warm beauty of these houses and the lights that came from these windows? Maybe it was the moon and all the reflections in the water? I don't know. It was not very warm that evening. It was actually quite cold. Cold but pleasantly silent.