Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Postmarks (2)

In the previous post about Dutch postmarks I showed you a number of these government or Post Office sponsored messages. Usually the idea behind them is to draw attention to a certain subject or to trigger some reaction. In Dutch these stamps are called 'flag stamps' (vlagstempels).
Vlagstempel
September 7, 1939: Adresseer volledig
The text on this first stamp intends to stimulate writers to mention the full address on their correspondence. This sounds silly but it wasn't. When people wrote a letter to someone in the same city or village, many were accustomed to write a persons' name and street but in stead of mentioning the city name, they said ' City'  or 'Local'. That may seem rather odd but in those days it was not unusual that your social circle did not extend beyond the borders of the place where you lived. And when such a letter erroneously ended up in the wrong mail bag...
Vlagstempel
September 23, 1939: Goedkoope brief-telegrammen
This one intended to promote the use of discounted letter-telegrams. Apparently this was a Post Office product different from the normal telegram, possibly an extended and/or cheaper version thereof.
Vlagstempel
October 21, 1939: Postzegels-rechts boven in den hoek Vlugger verzending
The cancellation stamp says: "Stamps in the upper right hand corner! Faster shipping". The idea behind this text was explained in the previous post. The difference with this one is the lay out of the message.
vlagstempel
October 25, 1939: Post Uw brieven zoodra ze gereed zijn!
'Mail your letters as soon as they are ready!'  I wonder why people needed to be encouraged to do so. Who would benefit by not yet mailing them? Certainly not the addressee!
vlagstempel
August 29, 1941 Elke bosch- of heidebrand is verlies voor stad en land
In an effort to raise the awareness that the use of open fire outside can be dangerous, this stamp says that 'any forest or heath fire is a loss for town and country'. I am not aware of any particular reason why this stamp was issued. Possibly it was caused by heat waves in June and July 1941. Temperatures over 33º Centigrade (91º Fahrenheit) were no exception.
vlagstempel
February 12, 1942: Ook straatnaam en huisnummer in het adres Adresseer volledig
Apparently it was still necessary to ask senders to mention 'Also street name and number in the address Address in full'. Addressing a letter to John Doe, Rotterdam obviously creates unnecessary extra work for the Post Office people. 
vlagstempel
November 13, 1942: WHN Loterij 1942 Uw kans 1 op 3
The letters WHN in this 'WHN lottery 1942 Your chance 1 in 3'-stamp require some explanation. WHN stands for 'Winterhulp Nederland' a nazi-organisation aiming at helping the poor and the needy among the Dutch population during WW2. The idea was that this structure would replace all government, church and other aid programs. 
According to the nazi doctrine poverty did not exist except maybe during wintertime. Hence the name 'Winterhelp'. 
WHN obtained its revenue from money collections, organizing lotteries and a kind of profit tax imposed on businesses (5%). Also employees had to pay a tax of 1% levied on wages. Obviously WHN was not very popular the lotteries excepted. Apparently the population liked to gamble now and then even when the proceeds benefit an organization such as WHN. 
Initially also needy Jews were eligible to be helped. But that support ended soon...
In case you wonder why a pig is portrayed in the stamp, the following may serve. I found this explanation here (it is in Dutch). The English word 'swine' comes very close to its German equivalent 'Schwein'. 'Schweinen' in German means 'to be lucky'.  Hence the use of a swine in conjunction with a lottery.

All these stamps come from cards and letters my Mother gave me some time ago. They all go back to the 30s and 40s of the previous century.  I still have some nine stamps left and I'll share those in the next (and last) post on this subject. The original envelopes with these stamps are still intact. There is so much to be learned from an envelope!
To be continued

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sepia Saturday - Down by the Riverside

For one reason or another I find this weeks theme a difficult one. Usually the selected sepia provides me with sufficient inspiration to come up with a derivative topic for my post. Not so this week. What I see is a group of people gathering before a structure of some kind. Next to it is a lady who doesn't seem to be interested in anything at all, if she is alive that is. There is a striking resemblance to a mummy with shoe size 11. A closer look also reveals some persons drinking something. And of course there is a river and a mountainous landscape. Thank you Kat and Alan for this inspiring picture :-)
As you all know, a bloggers fate is that he/she must write. So I'll do just that and hope that the result will make some sense. 
My interpretation of this photo is that a lady with closed eyes is seated next to a drinking facility where a lady and gentlemen, all wearing hats, do unclear things on the shore of a waterway. 
Having determined what we see I can tell you now confidentially that in the 70's we had a bar in our house. In those days I traveled a lot all over the world. And from every trip I brought along a bottle of the local booze. Tequila, gin, slivovitsj, vodka  gammel dansk, ouzo, you name it and it was in our bar. However, after some time it appeared that our friends drank mainly beer and genever (Dutch gin). So I gave up bringing in all these exotic bottles. Surprisingly, or maybe not, only very few pictures of this corner of our living room have been made. But here is one showing just a small part of the bar. The lady is my wife closing her eyes because of the flash light.
Orie Rembrandtweg 70s
Part of the bar in our house.
Having dealt with a number of elements displayed in the theme picture of this week, I now turn to the hats people are wearing.
Man in beach chair
Man in beach chair
Woman in beach chair
Woman in beach chair
Unfortunately I don't know who these people are. The photo's come from an album that was given to me by my friend John D. Judging by the ladies' clothing and hat, we are looking at the twenties or thirties of the 20th century. The pictures have clearly been taken on a beach; in the background there are dunes visible and water cannot be far away. But since the water is not visible here I owe you a river as well. 
Amsterdam Amstel Blauwbrug winter February 7 2012
The river Amstel as seen from the Blauwbrug (Blue Bridge) on February 7, 2012
The Amstel flows through Amsterdam. It is seen here earlier this year when it was still frozen. An icebreaker kept a fairway in tact. The picture has been taken in a northerly direction. Accurate observers will spot some sepia colors in the background.

Having exhausted myself with interpreting this weeks' task, I needed to convince myself that my contribution is of an adequate level. So I developed the following checklist. 
river P 
man with hat P
woman with eyes closed P
woman with hat P
shore P
people drinking P
drinking facility P
woman on chair P
hilly background P

On the basis of this checklist I believe I have now sufficiently tackled the theme of this week. For more and more convincing contributions I can recommend the Sepia Saturday site!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Amsterdam Museums

For a summary in English please see at the end of this post.
Vorige week vrijdag was het een schitterende, zonnige dag met temperaturen boven de 20 graden. Een uitgelezen dag om, gewapend met de OV-kaart, per trein naar Amsterdam te gaan. Doel: een bezoek te brengen aan het nieuwe eye-museum in Noord en het vernieuwde Stedelijk, nu met de ingang aan het Museumplein.
De locatie van het eye-museum (boven) en het vernieuwde Stedelijk Museum.
The eye-museum is located in the north and the Municipal Museum is just outside the canal zone.
Als je eenmaal door alle aanvraagprocedures van de OV-kaart heen bent, dan is het toch wel een gemakkelijk ding. In- en uitchecken is eenvoudig maar je moet het wel dòen, anders kost het centjes. Aangekomen op Amsterdam CS is de GVB-pont de eenvoudigste manier om bij het eye-museum te komen. (Ja, hoewel ze daar niet consequent in zijn, eye schrijven de marketingjongens en -meisjes met een kleine letter 'e'.)  Je moet dan wel het goede pontje nemen, nl. die naar de Buiksloterweg.
De tentoonstelling draagt de naam Expanded Cinema en bestaat uit wat ik maar noem 'film installaties'.  De eerste is er eentje van de Chinees Yang Fudong. een soort gesegmenteerde video wall waarop in traag zwart-wit mensen en zaken in een straatbeeld vanuit vele hoeken worden bezien. Ik vond dat wel een rustgevend en intrigerend geheel.
Film installatie 'The fifth night' van Yang Fudong
Movie installation 
'The fifth night' by Yang Fudong
Het is haast ondoenlijk om de installatie van de Brit Isaac Julien te beschrijven. Je kunt die eigenlijk niet zittend aanschouwen, je moet er doorheen lopen. De vele schermen staan ogenschijnlijk schots en scheef door elkaar, geluid is zeer aanwezig. Het nadeel van deze opstelling is wel dat je al lopend door het blikveld van anderen heen wandelt. Tijdens ons bezoek was het niet echt druk maar als dat het wel is...
Vanaf de trappartij, die aan het restaurant grenst, heb je een schitterend uitzicht over het IJ.
Uitzicht vanuit het eye op het IJ
View from the eye towards the IJ
Na het eye via pont, Zeedijk en Nieuwmarkt met de tram naar het Stedelijk. De verbouwing van het Stedelijk, 'aanbouwing' is misschien een beter woord, springt in het oog, om het maar eens zachtjes te zeggen. En of ik het nou mooi vind, daar ben ik nog niet uit. Vooralsnog vind ik dat het het bestaande fraaie gebouw wel erg weggedrukt wordt.
De aanbouw van het Stedelijk Museum
The extension of the Amsterdam Municipal Museum
Photo by John Lewis Marshall
Ook over de collectie moderne kunst heb ik af en toe mijn twijfels. Ik bedoel, zo'n giga Appel, daar kan ik wel van genieten. Maar een hoopje roestige voorwerpen of vijf m2 huis-, tuin- en keukentegels in een zaal neergelegd, daar heb ik toch wel moeite mee om dat als kunst te bezien. Maar andere dingen vind ik dan wel weer ogen.  Toch komt het woord 'kunst' me soms maar moeilijk over de lippen.
Deel van de expositie in het nieuwe deel van het Stedelijk.
Part of the exhibition in the extension of the Municipal Museum.
Nog een deel van de expositie in het Stedelijk.
Another part of the exhibition.
Wat ik wel teleurstellend vind is dat van de enorme uitbreiding binnen visueel zo weinig overblijft. Binnen heb je in 't geheel niet de indruk dat je in groot, modern, indrukwekkend gebouw loopt. Het geheel is, misschien alleen voor deze tentoonstelling, te veel opgedeeld in los van elkaar staande ruimten. Wel fraai is het uitzicht vanaf de eerste étage in de nieuwbouw in de richting van het Museumplein.
Gezicht op het Museumplein vanuit het Stedelijk.
The Museum Square as seen from the Municipal Museum.
Afijn, goed dat we het gezien hebben. Nu voor die dag genoeg cultuur gesnoven, tijd voor het culinaire. Daarom naar het beste Indonesische restaurant van Amsterdam, Long Pura op de Rozengracht. Ik heb daar (helaas) geen aandelen in maar aanbevelen, dat kost me geen enkele moeite!

Summary in English
Last Friday we decided to take the train to Amsterdam to visit two museums. The first one was the new film museum in the Northern part of the city. The best method to get there from Amsterdam Central is by taking the ferry across the IJ to the Buiksloterweg. The name of Amsterdams latest art addition is the eye museum. Probably their marketing people decided not to use capitals in the appropriate name. The eye, being a film museum, consists mainly of (very) dark rooms where you can enjoy the films, video's, installations etc. You can do so either seated or walking around, depending on whether there is a single screen, many different screens in random positions or a wall of screens. The way the exhibition is set up radiates peace and tranquility. But obviously this frame of mind is caused by the artists concerned. I liked Yang Fudong (see picture above) and Isaac Julien (Ten Thousand Waves) best.
The second museum on our list was the recently extended Stedelijk Museum (Municipal Museum). There is no question of where the new extension is, that is very evident if you look at the picture above. As far as I am concerned it comes close to the proverbial sore thumb. The Stedelijk, as it is called, specializes in modern art. And I have to admit that it is not always my cup of tea. But obviously there are also pieces of art that I appreciate. Two of those you can see above. The view from the first floor is probably not intended to be a piece of art but it is nice. One overlooks the Museumplein (Museum Square) in autumn dress. 
After having been confronted with so much culture, the time was ripe for some culinary delight. So we decided to go the the best Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam Long Pura. The chef and his staff did not disappoint us, to the contrary! A short walk brought us to the train and after a 30 minute ride we were back in quiet Castricum.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sepia Saturday - The man behind the window

The theme for this week is a picture (see below) showing four men involved in what I would call mysterious dealings. We see two policemen and two civilians or maybe even plain clothes men. And then there is a person looking through a window. He seems to be in uniform. So is this a police station? If this is so, does that make the bicycles official vehicles of  the long arm of the law? Is the man on the left handing over a gun or is he receiving one? Is it a gun or maybe a summons? The two gentlemen on the right radiate this "I-am-to-be-here-for-ceremonial-reasons" attitude. To cut a long presumption short, I don't know what we are looking at. But I have to make a choice so I will elaborate on the man behind the window.
Those of you visiting my blog now and then may know that I publish old airline pictures, in particular pictures concerning KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, my former employer. Those posts are titled "Saved from the dustbin". Knowing this, my former neighbor and former KLM captain Michael D. send me a few pictures. They came from a shoe box he inherited from his mother. The first one shows a man and a woman descending from an aircraft stairway. The man is Charles Christian "Chuck" Harman, a Canadian captain with KLM. The lady is Mrs. D., the mother of my neighbor. 
KLM Capt. Chuck Harman and Mrs. D.
The aircraft is the KLM Lockheed 1049C Super Constellation 'Nucleon' with registration PH-TFX. The picture can be dated between August 5, 1953 and February 25, 1954. 
The photograph below shows a man waving from a cockpit window. He may not be as clearly visible as the man in the police station but still, it is a man behind a window! (Pffft, mission completed.) According to my source this is the same Chuck Harman but now seated in the Douglas DC-6B 'Willem Bontekoe', the PH-DFO. This shot was taken between March 6 and August 23, 1954.
Capt. Chuck Harman waving from the cockpit.
There is some unexpected drama in this picture. It so happened that this aircraft, the 'Willem Bontekoe', crashed in the North Sea, some 10 miles off the Dutch coast. The accident took place on August 23, 1954. The official accident investigation was unable to uncover the cause of the crash. It is still the most mysterious casualty that ever took place in the history of Dutch aviation.
Location where the 'Willem Bontekoe' crashed on August 23, 1954.
Map ex aviacrash.nl.
The accident caused the death of all 12 passengers and 9 crew. The captain of this fatal flight from New York to Amsterdam was Charles Christian Harman...

For more drama, suspense and entertainment, please see the Sepia Saturday site.

To write this post I made use of internet information viz. the comprehensive site of Herman Dekker and Aviacrash. And of course I am grateful to Michael D. for sending me the photographs and for telling me about the late Capt. Harman!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Postmarks (1)

Some time ago I told you about the treasure chest my Mother gave me. It was full of letters and picture postcards of my Mother's pre war movie star collection. All letters etc. have been mailed during the 30s and 40s of last century. Making an inventory list is now well underway and, as far as the number of  documents is concerned, I am now close to the 400 mark! The total will probably be somewhere near the 450 pieces. And then starts the task of reading them all. And remember, people did not yet use typewriters for their private correspondence. So there is a lot of deciphering to do!
While making this inventory I noticed a variety of postmarks. I don't mean the ordinary ones but those with a message. Usually these messages served a government or post office sponsored purpose. In Dutch these postmarks are called flag marks (vlagstempels). Many of these marks are indicative for the era they have been used in. For that reason I think it may be interesting to show a number of them.
July 28, 1933: Gebruikt bij voorkeur Nederlandsch fabrikaat
 "Preferably use Dutch manufacture" was the phrase to stimulate people to buy Dutch made materials. In the thirties economic growth was minimal. There was a high rate of unemployment and obviously the government was interested to keep as many people employed as possible. So rather than spending money on imported goods, the government promoted "domestic consumption". Today the EC would call this protectionism...
July 29, 1933: zij Nederland Uw Vacantieland
"Let The Netherlands be your holiday country" is another government effort to convince people to spend their money domestically rather than abroad.
April 3, 1934: Tuberculosebestrijding Emmabloemcollecte in April
"Combat tuberculosis Emma flower collection in April" was one of the slogans used to stimulate the population to donate money to the Emma foundation, a charity organization. Emma (1858-1934) was the Queen Mother of Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands. To give you an impression of the amount collected, in 1939 the proceeds amounted to 131.670 Dutch guilders.  That's over  € 1,1 million today. Considering this amount you have to take into account that economic circumstances were poor and the number of inhabitants  was some 8,000,000 people less than today (= 16,700,000). An average laborer earned approx 20 guilders/week.
July 26, 1935: Cultureele en sociale zorg Koopt zomerzegels
 "Cultural and social care Buy summer stamps" is a motto to remind people to buy these stamps. Traditionally the the proceeds benefited the less fortunate.
August 30, 1939: Postzegels rechts-boven in den hoek! Vlugger verzending
"Stamps in the upper right hand corner! Faster shipping", a slogan meant to benefit the Post Office, I think. I am assuming they already used some kind of a stamping machine to cancel stamps. With the stamp elsewhere on the envelope, the stamp would remain valid...
This very envelope was used by my Dad on the first day of mobilization in The Netherlands. And since soldiers did not need to use stamps, he wrote the word "military" instead. But the Post Office people obviously did not know about this facility and charged my mother with  10 cents additional surcharge... 
September 4, 1939: Verzend per luchtpost
"Send by airmail" was used to promote the more expensive mail services offered by airlines, in particular KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.  Especially flights to the former Dutch Indies and to the Dutch Antilles depended very much on mail revenues. And, compared to surface transportation taking weeks, it was a much better service.
To be continued

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sepia Saturday - A Military Dad

When my paternal grandparents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on August 15, 1938, my father added to the festivities by making an overview of their life so far. He did this by preparing a roll made of linen about 10 yards long and 5 inches wide. Then he attached family pictures and self made drawings to it. I would imagine that he presented his parents with a kind of This is your life
Part of the linen roll with highlights of my grandparents' marriage.
Mathematicians among you will have already calculated that my grandparents were married in 1913, just before the start of WW1. Although The Netherlands remained neutral during this war, its army was in a mobilized state during the four years the war lasted. The mobilization officially started on August 1, 1914 and included my granddad Andreas Miebies (1883- The Hague -1957). Two days later his first son, my father, was born. During their wedding anniversary 24 years later, my father made an artist impression of this memorable event.
Johannes Cornelis Miebies seated on the knee of his father Andreas.
The drawing shows my grandmother Lena Bakker (Heenvliet, 1880 - The Hague, 1959) sound asleep and probably exhausted after the delivery of a baby boy able to sit up so soon after the happy occurrence.  Please also note grandfathers' rifle and uniform on the bedside chair. 
We are now coming close to the Sepia Saturday theme of this week. It is a heroic looking group of soldiers wearing sabers and caps resembling those of bellhops. 

It is my good fortune that my father included a similar picture in his This is your life for his parents. So now I can show you my grandfather in the King's armor. 
Grandfather Andreas (to the very right) and his military pals
during his mobilization.
I have been trying to find out in which part of the military he served but so far in vain. The one thing that strikes me in this photo is the large variety of uniforms. And contrary to this weeks Sepia Saturday picture, on this photograph the mustaches are a minority. My grandfather displays the most evident one. Knowing Andreas lived in The Hague and assuming that he stayed there during his mobilization, I think this photo was taken in the dunes near The Hague. 

For more uniforms, caps, helmets, mustaches and heroism, have a look at the Sepia Saturday site. It is managed this week by Kat Mortensen, a lady with military genes.

Update Oct. 16, 2012: Among many other particulars the Dutch Army Museum informed me that my grandfathers rank was sergeant and that he was the section commander of this 47th infantry battalion Jagers (Hunters).
In Dutch the detailed information received reads as follows:

De foto is genomen na maart 1916, toen werd de kepie (pet) ingevoerd in het leger. De in het midden staande en de liggende persoon dragen deze kepie.
Het is een sectie van het bataljon Landweer - Infanterie (Jagers No. 47) met als standplaats Den Haag. Er waren 44 districten en 2 batajons grenadiers (3 en 32) en 2 jagerbataljons (36 en 47) Op de hoofden draagt men de sjako M 1865 met de groene bol van de Jagers, twee sjako's model 1912, waarvan men de emblemen ( een lauwerkrans met daarin een hoorn) heeft afgehaald (om beter te kunnen camoufleren). Het is ook mogelijk dat ze in die tijd niet meer geleverd werden aan eenheden die de kepie kregen. De platte pet behoorde bij het uniform van 1912, een grijsgroen uniform met groene jagers kraag en mouwopslagen. De persoon links draagt de jas die ingevoerd werd in 1905 en gedragen werd tot 1912. De jassen met twee rijen knopen werden gedragen van 1865 tot 1905. Allen zijn bewapend met het geweer M.95. De twee onderofficieren, sergeanten van de Jagers met de kepies, zijn de instructeurs van het regiment Jagers. Uw grootvader was, als sergeant, de sectie-commandant.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Saved from the dustbin (13)

Last week it was World Animal Day. Hence a number of old KLM pictures featuring animals.
One of the first animals KLM ever carried was the famous Nico the Bull. The bull doesn't look like a very mature one but still. If I remember well the story was that it had to go to Paris. But some disease in Belgium (foot and mouth?) made it impossible to use surface transport. So it was flown on the H-NABR, a Fokker F.III. The empty weight of this aircraft was 1,200 kgs. With a maximum take off weight of 1,905 kilos, a little over 700 kilos was left for fuel, the pilot and Nico. A one year old bull weighs approx 400 kilos. I still wonder how they kept the animal quiet. Calculating all the weights there was hardly any payload left for a passenger. And I don't suppose the pilot, who was seated next to the engine, had an opportunity to act as an animal attendant. But they arrived in Paris safely.
Bull Nico
Although KLM operated a lot of cattle charters, many of those from Billund (Denmark) to North African destinations, the picture below most likely shows something else.
The PH-DSK 'Middellandse Zee', a Douglas DC-7C.
This DC-7C was not a freighter but a regular passenger aircraft. But even if this was a freighter, loading of cows is not supposed to take place by marching them onto the apron and "walking" them on board. This picture gives the impression that these cows escaped their attendants. And that can be quite annoying for incoming aircraft. 
The Schiphol apron is being repaired just after WW2
Both the Germans and the Allies bombed Schiphol Airport during WW2. (Less than two months ago yet another 500 lbs bomb was discovered.) Also other destructive activities took place during the war. Immediately thereafter repairs started. Obviously the availability of vans was limited, if any. So horses had to be used for the transportation of materials.
The aircraft in the background is the NL-208, a Douglas C-47A. It was operated by KLM but officially part of the N.G.A.T., the Netherlands Government Air Transport. This set up was necessary because immediately after the war civil air carriers were not yet allowed to use (military) airports. Later this aircraft flew as PH-TCA until the end of 1946.
The Danish King on horseback in Copenhagen in 1939
Today one can hardly imagine that royalty moves around like this King does in Copenhagen. I mean, without being surrounded by armored cars and bald men with hearing aids :-). Would be fun to see body guards trying to keep pace with a horseman.
In earlier posts I did explain that all these pictures have been saved by two colleagues. All photos came from a Copenhagen KLM office. So it is not a coincidence that both the picture above and the shot below have a Danish component.
One of the first horse powered aeroplanes.
The above photo is said to have been taken in the seaside resort of Farod* in 1921. With flying being the risky affair it was in those days, apparently it was regarded safer to offer a circular flight in this way. But in all earnest, this looks more like a fairground attraction.
With no more animal pictures being available, this post is concluded with the remark that all aircraft information is obtained from the site of Herman Dekker.
* I have been unable to trace the exact location of Farod but in view of the name of the hotel it can hardly be anywhere else but in Denmark.

Update: Pia (KLM Copenhagen) discovered that that the hotel was situated in Fanø which is on an island off the coast near Esbjerg. Please see her comments.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sepia Saturday - Alkmaar

Symbolic or not, Alan's theme for this week consists of a picture showing a crowd, an arriving sea ship, a tug boat and a vessel that looks like a river barge. With Alan on the high seas(?) he leaves us in the capable hands of Kat Mortensen.

Although The Netherlands may be regarded as a seafaring nation, I have to admit that I have no photo's in my shoe boxes reflecting that. However, I did find a picture postcard of the center of the city of Alkmaar. And it is showing two of the elements I was looking for namely a crowd and a barge. The card belonged either to my mother or to my mother-in-law. I clearly omitted to make proper inventory notes here when I obtained this card!
A crowd gathering on the Waagplein in Alkmaar with
the rear of a barge to the left.
The card has never been mailed to anyone. On the rear it only says in red print: P. Delemarre, Alkmaar, Nadruk verboden meaning that reprint was prohibited. Judging by the clothing people are wearing, I guess the picture was made some time during the 20s or 30s of the past century. Obviously these people were there for a purpose. They are all looking towards the photographer. Why? I haven't got a clue.
Today the situation is very much the same. Houses can still be recognized.
The street to the right, on the other side of the canal, is the Mient.
The name Waagplein literally means Weighing Square. It was (since 1593) and is the place where cheese is weighed. These ball shaped Gouda and Edam cheeses are produced by local farmers. They are visible on the first picture and on the one below. Trading takes place in the city every Friday morning during summer. For more info on the cheese market, please click here.
Carrying cheese in Alkmaar
I had the good fortune that a couple of weeks ago I received a pre WW2 photo album from my friend John D. Among many others was the picture shown above. It shows members of the cheese carrier's guild. On the left hand side of the Google screen dump, you see a canal with a bridge at the end. The slightly overexposed photo below is taken from that bridge and shows the Waag building.
Waag building
For more stories about ships, crowds and/or the sea, please see the Sepia Saturday site!

Update Oct. 12, 2012: The Alkmaar Archives did inform me that the first picture probably was made during the installation of a renewed wooden statue of a trumpet player (klaroenblazer). That event took place during the summer of 1923. The Algemeen Handelsblad of Sunday May 6 of that year already mentioned this upcoming occurrence.

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