The New Netherland Museum in Albany, New York will soon be saying ‘bon voyage’ to their Half Moon (‘Halve Maen’) replica, originally a Dutch ship from 1609. Owing to financial difficulties, the city of Hoorn, North Holland that already serves as a retirement home for many old vessels, has agreed to care for the 1989 replica, with the museum retaining ownership.
The Half Moon was used for educational purposes, teaching people about explorer Henry Hudson who came to the New World in 1609 for the Dutch East India Company on board the Dutch ship. Nobody knows yet how the ship will actually cross the Atlantic.
“From the moment the keel of the Half Moon was laid, it has been my ambition to see the Half Moon sail in Dutch waters,” said Andrew A. Hendricks, founder and chairman of the New Netherland Museum/Half Moon Replica. “After 25 years of service as the unofficial flagship of the state of New York, the Half Moon will have the opportunity to sail in the Netherlands.”
(Links: www.timesunion.com, en.wikipedia.org, Photo of Half Moon ship by Katy Silberger, some rights reserved)
Tags: Half Moon, Hoorn, New York, North Holland, ship, vessel
Dutch-American Saskia Sassen, 67, is a professor of sociology at Columbia University in New York City whose Nazi collaborator father is part of a recently translated book from German into English entitled ‘Eichmann Before Jerusalem’ written by German philosopher Bettina Stangneth in 2011. Sassen’s father, Willem Sassen was a Nazi journalist and close to Adolf Eichmann when they both lived in Argentina in the 1950s. Sassen would extensively interview Adolf Eichmann, a major Holocaust figure, at their home in Argentina on Sundays, which upset Saskia’s mother a great deal and had her parents arguing after he left.
For a long time Saskia Sassen refused to talk about that chapter of her life, leading a very successful career as a professor author and authority on many subjects in her own right. However, in recent years Sassen has, “found herself repeatedly confronting this missing chapter of her biography, as archival records emerge and scholars, journalists, and filmmakers seek her participation in projects connected to her father’s history.”
In 1948 Willem Sassen escaped with his family to Argentina, where he met a group of local and refugee Nazis who were obsessed with discrediting what they saw as enemy propaganda about the Holocaust. Sassen was horrified by the bloody details he learned about the concentration camps, but was sure Eichmann had been manipulated into organizing such crimes. Sassen wanted to write a book about it all, but it never materialised. In 1960, Israeli agents abducted Eichmann and rumors spread in Argentina that Sassen had betrayed him.
The rest reads like a thriller and could make an excellent holiday gift for some of you.
Tags: Adolf Eichmann, Argentina, holocaust, Nazis
A 500,000-year-old shell found on Java in Indonesia is said to feature the oldest ever engraved geometrical pattern. The zig zag pattern, which can only be seen with oblique lighting, is said to be older than the weathering processes on the shell arising from fossilisation. As well, the study excluded the possibility that the pattern was created by animals or natural weathering processes.
The shell will be on display in the Naturalis museum in Leiden from 4 December onward.
By applying two dating methods, researchers at the VU University Amsterdam and Wageningen University have determined that the shell with the engraving is minimally 430,000 and maximally 540,000 years old.This means that the engraving is at least four times older than the previously oldest known engravings, found in Africa. An international team of researchers, led by Leiden archaeologist José Joordens, published this discovery on 3 December in the periodical ‘Nature’.
(Link and photo: www.sciencedaily.com)
Tags: engraving, Leiden, shell
The Historical Museum of The Hague is currently holding an exhibition entitled ‘Courtly Rivals: Elizabeth Stuart and Amalia van Solms’ that features locked letters of the 17th century. The letters have been brought to life thanks to some videos made by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT Libraries’ conservator, Jana Dambrogio and others helped film six videos on the science of 17th century letterlocking.
‘Courtly Rivals’ is based on Dutch professor Nadine Akkerman’s publication by the same name, exploring the tense relationship between two of the most influential women in the Dutch Republic during the 17th century – Elizabeth Stuart, sometime Queen of Bohemia and her former lady-in-waiting Amalia von Solms, who became Princess of Orange in 1625. Elizabeth’s corpus of over 2,000 letters shows she was an astute politician, with a vast network of kings, queens, generals, ministers, church leaders, courtiers, and spies. Amalia’s correspondence has just come to light, but it appears she was no different. Both ladies, their secretaries, and their correspondents resorted to intricate methods to lock their letters shut.
(Links: www.haagshistorischmuseum.nl, libraries.mit.edu)
Tags: 17th century, letter writing, museum, The Hague
The name Wim is as Dutch as it gets, but how long will it remain in use? A 2009 booklet called Lang Leve Wim (Long Live Wim) by linguist Wim (!) Daniëls sounds the alarm.
I haven’t read the book myself, but one review quotes what appears to be the introduction: “In the past few years only a couple of Wims have been born. The peak for the name Wim was between 1950 and 1960 in the Netherlands and between 1970 and 1980 in Flanders.”
The Meertens Institute says there are still a good number of Wims walking around the country. Based on census data the institute estimates there are still about 3,500 men called Wim in the Netherlands, or 0.05% of the population. Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB), the agency responsible for child support, says 13 baby boys were named Wim in 2013. That is definitely more than the ‘couple’ Daniëls speaks of, but not a chink in the armour of the top five of boys’ names in the Netherlands for 2013, Sem, Levi, Bram, Daan and Finn, which were given to sons more than 700 times each.
The situation is not as bad however as Wim Daniëls says. He has to use a trick to uphold his disaster story of dewimmification. As Bill is the short version of William in English, so is Wim the short version of Willem in Dutch. In 2013, again according to SVB, 264 boys were called Willem, and with a king bearing the same name I estimate the likeliness of that number to drop by much is low. Which, in the end, I think is a good thing. As Daniëls says, what would a world be without Wimmen?
(Link: Holly Moors)
Tags: language, names, Willem, Wim
These pictures of the Netherlands were taken by a Northumbrian photographer and show what the Dutch wore some 100 years ago. The women are not wearing national dress as the source indicates, but regional dress because the Netherlands is big enough to have had different styles. True, the past was “crisp, sharp and as high resolution” as today. And no, the little girl on the left is probably not smoking, but enjoying a traditional ‘stroopsoldaatje’ (‘syrup soldier’), a small paper cone filled with syrup, which you can still buy today.
The woman on the right below with different traditional attire than the girls looks like a woman from Zeeland, like this woman and margarine brand Zeeuws meisje. Looking more closely at the photograph, the ‘cafe restaurant’ on the right has a sign that says ‘on parle français’, (‘we speak French’), which tells me this is Zeeland as it borders Belgium, and back then the Flemish spoke a lot of French. Research tells me the ‘book, music and art store’ in the back could be 1465 De Koninklijke Boek-, Muziek- en Kunsthandel van F.B. den Boer in Middelburg, Zeeland on the corner of Lange Delft and Markt. There’s also a woman on the far right dressed quite normal for her era.
For a modern-day version of looking at Dutch people wearing traditional garb, you can visit the religious community of Staphorst, Overijssel who still dress according to local tradition.
(Link and photos: www.bbc.com, Tip: Thanks Fred!)
Tags: candy, Middelburg, Overijssel, Staphorst, sweets, traditional dress, Zeeland
The Indian Express has an extensive write-up about the production of Delftware:
I went to the Delft Pottery de Deltse Pauw, which was established in 1650. This factory exclusively produces and sells entirely hand-painted Delftware, which is a unique factor in this date.
The factory manager, Nico van Nieuwenhuijzen, discusses the origins of Delfts Blauw (Delftware), how it almost died out due to superior clays being used for competing brands of pottery and then gives the reporter a very thorough tour of the factory.
(Photo by Morgaine, some rights reserved)
Tags: craft, Delftware
Amsterdam in the Golden Age: the 17th century was a time when the city rapidly became an economic and cultural force to be reckoned with, and now apparently also the setting of British author Jessie Burton’s first novel entitled ‘The Miniaturist’. I haven’t read it and if anyone has, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Set in 1686 Petronella ‘Nella’ Oortman, a Dutchwoman from the countryside marries rich Amsterdam merchant Johannes Brandt. Nella lives with her stern sister-in-law Marin and an intriguing dark-skinned manservant Otto. Nella almost never sees her busy husband who is either away or locked in his office at home and passes the time with a doll house gift from her husband that looks just like the house they live in. The doll house is slowly being filled with miniatures sent to Nella by an anonymous person who seems to know a lot about the people living in her house.
The doll house in question is on display at the Rijksmuseum, a small, nine-room house of porcelain, oak, marble and glass, which was the inspiration for Burton’s novel.
There’s more to tell, but then I think we’ll just have to read the novel to find out. I’m wondering how plausible the setting of 17th century Amsterdam is, I wonder about the female name ‘Marin’ and I know that if a Dutch person were to write a novel set in, oh, 18th century London, that it would also be culturally scrutinised by the media with good reason.
(Links: blog.chron.com, www.theguardian.com, Photo of the VOC HQ (East India Company) by Josh, distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)
Tags: Amsterdam, Jessie Burton
A 97-year-old man from Groesbeek, a village well known for its WWII cemetary, received two medals 70 years after WWII in the mail.
Arnold Nijenhuis wasn’t one to talk about the war, but recently started talking about it, telling stories. In one of his stories, his son Vincent understood that his father was put forth for a medal, but never received it. Vincent found a document in a pile of old papers to claim the medal and sent it in asking the Ministry of Defense to finally honour his father.
Almost like subscribing to a magazine, Arnold Nijenhuis was sent not one, but two medals, roughly translated as the War Memorial Cross as well as the Decoration for Order and Peace, again, in the mail.
(Link: www.gelderlander.nl, Photo of Ereteken voor Orde en Vrede 1947 by Robert Prummel, some rights reserved)
Tags: Groesbeek, medals, WWII
Overvalwagens.com is a website dedicated to “the research of military, commercial and improvised vehicles as used in the Netherlands East and West Indies before 1945″.
In May 1940 Nazi Germany conquered the Netherlands, but it did not gain control over Dutch India. The outbreak of WWII made acquisitions difficult however for KNIL, the army in Dutch India. Overvalwagens.com writes: “Often the Netherlands Purchasing Commission was forced to acquire vehicles (as well as other military equipment) that was by no means standard allied material. Sometimes they bought off-the-shelf prototypes or equipment rejected by the US armed forces.”
An example is the tank shown above, the Marmon-Herrington CTLS-4TA. This was produced by the only company in the US “building tanks commercially, while not being involved in the re-armament process of the US Forces”. An interesting vehicle because the gun turret could not turn all the way around. As a result they were sold and used in pairs, one gun covering the left flank, the other one the right.
(Link: Martin Wisse, Photo: British armed forces, now in the public domain)
Tags: armoured vehicles, colonialism, Indonesia, KNIL, tanks, weapons