Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Late Rembrandt

Yesterday we visited the Rembrandt exhibition in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum. And we can truly say, it was well worth the trip. This is the first time that an exhibition has been dedicated to the late work of one of the greatest painters who ever lived: Rembrandt. Over 100 of the paintings, drawings and prints that Rembrandt produced in the final phase of his life can be seen here, brought to us from museums and private collections across the globe. So if you want to see these unique paintings and drawings, this is your once in a lifetime chance! The exhibition is there until May 17 next.

Self portrait as the apostle Paul
A Woman bathing in a Stream

The Rijksmuseum as seen from the Museum Square

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Auntie Miriam and Auntie Jo

Auntie Miriam
Senior Sepians know, the second Saturday in January is dedicated to Auntie Miriam, Alan's beloved relative. The reason why she is known to just a few people is that during most of the year she is kept in a cupboard. Or so Alan tells us.
To us here in the Low Countries that seems to be a rather peculiar method of keeping your family together. But obviously we don't have any Scots here threatening to leave us. The idea alone may frustrate the English family feeling. So on second thought we understand our neighbours on the western shores of the North Sea. In any case this post is written in honor of Auntie Miriam. And who can be a better subject than my own Auntie Jo.

Johanna Cornelia Innemee
Sept. 2, 1913 The Hague Oct. 3, 2014
Photo taken on Jul. 5, 1928
I wrote about Auntie Jo before. At the time she was 99 years old. Unfortunately she passed away last October 101 years old! Although physically she was not too well anymore, her brain was still as sharp as a needle.
To clarify the family relationship, she was married to a 1st cousin once removed. His name was Johannes Frederikus Miebies. Born in 1899 he died at the rather early age of 59. Aunt Jo never remarried so that made her a widow for almost 56 years. Possibly because of that she had her own hairdressing salon. In those days it was quite unusual for ladies to be employed. And having your own business must have been almost unheard of (in Holland) in those days. But Auntie Jo was not the person to be bothered by that kind of social convention. She took her own decisions.
Funny enough I never knew Aunt Jo until I started taking an interest in genealogy in the early 80's. When I was leafing through the white pages of The Hague, I saw the name Miebies-Innemee and realized she was part of the family I had never been in contact with. (With a last name like mine anyone with that name just must be related.) So I picked up the phone and the contact was made. It lasted well over 30 years.
Much to the surprise of the people around her, she lived on her own until early 2014. Only during the last six months of her life her health forced her to leave her house and live in a nursing home. It was hardly a voluntary move...
Now that she has joined Auntie Miriam, I am certain that the two of them will get along very well. I am equally certain that they will keep a critical eye on their respective cousins.

Having been a hairdresser I am sure Auntie Jo would have known what to do with the person portrayed this week. If you are curious whether other Sepians cut it short or not, please see the Sepia Saturday Site.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why the BBC came into being

If your full name is Hans Henricus Schotanus à Steringa Idzerda you are bound to become a special man. And indeed that was the case. Hans (and not Hanso as he is called in many publications) Henricus Schotanus à Steringa, those were his first and middle names, was going to be the man responsible for broadcasting the first public radio program ever. And with radio program I do not mean a point to point radio connection but an organized broadcast from one point to an in principle unlimited audience. Hans was born in the Dutch province of Friesland on September 26, 1885 as the son of a country doctor. The medical profession was clearly not his cup of tea. His preference was electro technology. 
The first public radio program
ever, published on Nov. 5, 1919
After studying this in the German city of Bingen he established himself in The Hague where he started his own company. Later he set up NRI, which is short for Dutch Radio Industries. There he manufactured devices and parts for wireless telegraphy. Sometime between 1917 and 1919 he convinced Philips to develop a tube to replace the hitherto used radio crystals. Making use of Hans' last name Idzerda they called it the ideezet. By this time he lived in the Beukstraat 8-10. There he build the broadcasting device with the call sign PCGG. On November 5, 1919 he put an ad in the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant announcing a Soireé-Musicale for the next day. The broadcast was using a frequency of 670 metres. Officially he operated under a test license but the power of his device was such that there was a clear reception in large parts of England. Newspaper reports appeared in local newspapers such as the Burnley News (May 24, 1922) and the Kent & Sussex Courier (July 28, 1922). Subsequently the Daily Mail planned to start their own broadcasts. However, the Postmaster General rejected this idea. After that the Daily Mail contacted Idzerda in The Hague. The result was that he started a program for English listeners every Sunday evening. English musicians played an important role. Many people became aware of The Voice from The Hague transmitting at a wave length of 1,085 metres. Pub owners installed loudspeakers in their establishments thus attracting additional customers. Speakers were placed in town squares so that people could enjoy this latest technological feat. The popularity of  these foreign stations put pressure on the Government and on November 14, 1922 the BBC was founded.
Now, I am not suggesting that this latter fact was solely caused by Dutch Idzerda. After all there were other stations in the air as well, e.g. one from Paris. But, being born in The Hague, I like to think that Hans Idzerda contributed to the foundation of one of the most famous public radio networks in the world.
Birth certificate of Hans Idzerda
In many publications here it is suggested that Hans' surname is Schotanus à Steringa Idzerda. This certificate makes clear that his surname is Idzerda, nothing more and nothing less. Admittedly first and middle names Hans Henricus Schotanus à Steringa are a bit unusual but they are clearly shown as such in the certificate.
Hans Idzerda died 59 years old. During the war in 1944 he was satisfying his technical curiosity by collecting pieces of a crashed German V2 missile. German soldiers saw this and he was arrested on suspicion of espionage. For this he was executed in The Hague on November 3 that year.

The ideezet radio tube as manufactured by Philips

The wireless transmitter with station identification PCGG
used to broadcast an English program to England
8-10 Beukstraat, The Hague
The offices of the Dutch Radio Industries in The Hague also served as the first public radio studio.

From the Illustrated London News, April 29, 1922
 The accompanying text says this is an English family enjoying the Sunday afternoon "Dutch concert". In case you were wondering, the transmitter is said to be a Burndept MkIV with separate tuner.

Photo credits
Picture Idzerda
Picture Ideezet radio tube
Picture PCGG transmitter
Picture Beukstraat 8-10 Beeldbank Gemeentearchief Den Haag

This post is based on an article in newspaper Den Haag Centraal, Nov. 7, 2014 written by Paul Waaijers.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Leiden Pilgrim Fathers

Should the Pilgrim Fathers return to the Dutch city of Leiden today, I am certain they would still recognize large parts of the city center. Left you see the Vliet Street If you forget about the cars and let your imagination run, you can easily picture those Brownist English Dissenters there. On the right hand the nave of the Saint Pieterschurch is partly visible. This church played an important role in the early 17th century life of the Pilgrims.

This post is not about the history of those seeking refuge in tolerant Holland. I just want to show you a small monument situated on the above mentioned Vliet Street. It displays all family names of the Leiden Pilgrims. The picture is not too clear but I'll mention all names in alphabetical order.

Allerton - Alston - Barker
Barlow - Bassett - Blossom
Bompass - Bradford
Brewster - Browne - Carey
Carpenter - Carver - Chandler
Chilton - Cooke - Cooper
Crackston - Cushman
Cuthbertson - De Lannoy
Dunham - English - Fletcher
Fuller - Goodall - Goodman
Hanson - Heale - Hooke
Jenney - Lee - Mahieu
Masterson - Minter - Mitchell
Morton - Nicholas - Norris
Pontus - Priest - Ring
Robinson - Rogers - Samson
Southworth - Standish
Symonson - Tillie - Tinker
Tracey - Turner - White
Willett - Williams - Winslow
Wood - Wright

There is also a remembrance plaque on one of the Saint Pieter Church walls honouring those who passed away during their stay in Leiden. The text on top reads:
During the Pilgrim Fathers Leiden exile
more than thirty family members died.
many were buried in the Pieterskerk along with
their Leiden neighbours.

Underneath the quote by Robert Cushman the following names have been carved in stone.

Isaac Allerton's child - 1620
John Allerton's child - 1616
Thomas Blossom's children - 1617
Thomas Brewer's wife and children - 1617, 1618
William Britsman's child - 1612
Edmund Chandler's child - 1619
Robert Cushman's wife & children - 1616
Samuel Fuller's wife & child - 1615
Edmund Jessop's child - 1618
John Keble's child - 1614
John Keble's widow - 1645
Samuel Lee's child - 1619
Robert Peck's child - 1619
John Reynold's wife & child - 1619
John Robinson's children - 1618, 1621, 1623
John Robinson - 1625
John Spooner - 1628
John & Jane Spooner's child - 1630
Randall Thickens' child - 1615

The U.S. Congregational Churches offered another plaque remembering the Rev. John Robinson.

The Mayflower, 1620
In memory of
Pastor of the English Church worshiping over against
this spot. A.D. 1609-1625. Whence at his prompting
went forth
to settle New England
in 1620.
Buried under this House of Worship, 4 Mar. 1625
AET XLIX years.
Erected by the national Council of the Congregational
Churches of the United States of America
A.D. 1891.

The Vliet Street monument shows the name of De Lannoy. Originally this is a surname of Walloon origin. A number of their Protestant descendants lived in Leiden long after the departure of the Leiden Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. This is still visible on a shield in the Kloksteeg, the same street where the Rev. Robinson lived. The shield dates from 1683.

Dus ziet men uit het Puin van een bouwvallig Nest
Een braaf Gebouw gesticht door vruchtlooze Echtgenooten
Voor veel behoeftigen schoon Vreemden, die verstooten
Zijn uit hun Vaderland en veilig hier gevest
Gesticht door
en zijne Huisvrouw

My translation of this text would be something along the following lines.
So one sees that on the rubble of a dilapidated house
A nice building was established by unfruitful spouses
For those foreigners in need who have been expelled
from their fatherland and safely housed here
Established by
and his Housewife

Here in the Netherlands Marie's surname is still quite common. In the USA the surname De Lannoy has been americanized to Delano.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The big question is, is he related?

Mario Götze beats Argentina goalie Romero during
the world championship finals on July 13, 2014
Last Sunday Argentina and Germany were the opponents in the 2014 soccer world championship finals in Brasil. They played a superb match which resulted in a draw (0-0) after 90 minutes. In the 113th minute substitute Mario Götze defeated Argentinian goalie Sergio Germán (sic) Romero and scored the winning goal.
Now, that poses a question. Could it be that  he is a distant relative of my wife? Obviously that thought would not have occurred to me if his name would have been Schmidt or Schulze. The number of people bearing those names, also in Holland, easily runs into the thousands. But despite the fact that the Götze name may not be rare, I think it is not very widespread. So let me explain where that connection might be.
The relationship between Emma Götze
 and my wife Adriana
As you can see in the diagram the grandfather of my wife, Nicolaas Orie, had a brother Hendrikus. And he was married to Emma Augusta Mathilda Götze. So she was an aunt of my father in law. And that makes her a great aunt of my wife. That is not too distant. In fact I have known her as well because at the time we all lived in Loosduinen which today is part of The Hague.
Emma was born in Elsfleth a/d Weser on May 25, 1910. Her birthplace is located near Bremen in Germany. In those days it was not uncommon for German girls to work as a maid abroad. And that is how she ended up in Holland, probably in The Hague. The marriage with Hendrikus took place there on Oct. 7, 1931.
I do not know much about soccer player Mario Götze. He was born in Memmingen (Bayern) on June 3, 1992. And that is a long way from Elsfleth, some 750 kilometers to the south. So whether there is a connection remains to be seen. Maybe a German fellow genealogist can shed some light here.

Emma Augusta Mathilda Götze
Elsfleth 25-5-1910 / The Hague 5-9-1975

Soccer photo credit: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summary holidays -2014- Samenvatting vakantie

De Col de Jau in de Pyreneeën noordwest van Prades
For the English text please see after the map.
Waar wij telkenjare aankondigen drie weken met vakantie te zullen gaan, is dat nog nooit gebeurd. Twee weken en vier of vijf dagen, meer is het nooit geweest. Oorzaak? Het weer die laatste dagen was dan niet best en/of het paard ruikt de stal, allerlei duistere redenen. Maar dit jaar is het eindelijk toch gelukt: 24 dagen! Oorzaak? Mogelijk het grotere aantal kilometers dat we gereden hebben en zeker ook het fraaie weer. In totaal telden wij 19 dagen met voornamelijk zonneschijn en temperaturen tussen 20 (Rhonedal) en 32 graden (Pau).
En dan het aantal kilometers: 4.068! Da's ook voor ons doen niet gering. Komt o.a. door het uitstapje naar Spanje en de omweg die we gemaakt hebben om in Fleurance (Gers) te komen. Ondanks de vele kilometers, hebben we in de laatste jaren steeds meer de neiging om wat langer op één (fraaie) plek te blijven. In vroeger dagen sliepen we echt elke nacht op een andere plaats. 
Dit jaar ook vroeg vertrokken, met toestemming van onze jongen al op 25 mei. De route was als volgt met de overnachtingsplaatsen in het blauw en tussen haakjes het aantal overnachtingen (indien >1).

Castricum - Eindhoven - Maastricht - Luik - Luxemburg - Langres - Lyon - Privas - Nyons (3) - Vaison-la-Romaine - Malaucene - Bedoin - Pernes-les-Fontaines -  Serres - Orange - Montpellier - Sète - Port Leucate - Canet Plage - Perpignan - Castello d'Empuries (2) - Perpignan - Prades - Mosset - Col de Jau - Axat - Quillan - Lavelanet - Foix - St-Girons - Pau - Soustons - Vieux Boucau-les-Bains (3) - Soustons - Dax - Mont-de-Marsan - Nogaro - Vic Fézensac - Lavardens - Fleurance (2) - St-Clar - Bordeaux - Saintes - Rochefort - Châtelaillon Plage - La Rochelle - Cholet - Le Mans - Argentan - Caen - Pont de Normandy - Yvetot - Doudeville - St-Valéry-en-Caux - Doudeville - Abbeville - Calais - Adinkerke - De Panne - Knesselare - Maldegem - Zelzate - Liefkenshoektunnel - Bergen op Zoom - Rotterdam - Uitgeest - Castricum

In totaal pakten we onze koffers uit (en ook weer in) in/op 17 verschillende hotels/adressen. Dat is één minder dan het aantal overnachtingsplaatsen. Dat komt doordat we in Nyons een keer hebben moeten verkassen omdat het eerste hotel ons maar één nacht kon hebben. Dat is het risico van niet reserveren maar dat geeft aan de andere kant ook veel flexibiliteit. Er is geen enkele noodzaak om 's avonds ergens te móeten zijn en dat werkt erg ontspannend. We hebben trouwens maar één  keer onze neus gestoten aan een complet hotel (Pau).

Voor deze rit hebben we in totaal 384 liter euro95 getankt (1:10,6 km). Gemiddeld kostte dat € 1,55/ltr, gelijk aan vorig jaar. 

Dit jaar hadden wij de indruk dat de prijzen voor overnachtingen plus maaltijden in vergelijking met vorig jaar, nogal gestegen waren. Dat blijkt mee te vallen, althans gemiddeld. P.p.p.d. gaven wij daaraan bijna € 76,00 uit, € 1,50 meer dan vorig jaar.

De RAV4 heeft het weer goed gedaan. Geen enkele malheur en zelfs in De Panne bleef ie heel. De Alarmcentrale heeft aan ons gelukkig geen werk gehad. De in de auto verplicht aanwezige blaaspijpjes hebben we niet nodig gehad, net zo min als de reflecterende hesjes en de verklaring van mijnheer TomTom dat ons navigatiesysteem de veel aanwezige flitspalen niet verraadt. Na deze vakantie stond de teller op meer dan 117.000 km. En daar hopen we er nog een paar aan toe te voegen.

Al met al hebben we het een bijzonder genoeglijke vakantie gevonden. Wat mij betreft was de Pyreneeën-rit, in het land van de Katharen, via Prades en de Col de Jau de mooiste route. Jeanne heeft daar zo haar eigen gedachten over. 
Tot slot mijn dank aan alle lezers. Komt u gerust tussen de vakanties door ook eens langs, er is altijd wel iets te lezen! En voor de mensen die dit verhaal voor het eerst zien, de belevenissen per traject staan hieronder (zie ook de inhoudsopgave bovenaan).

Over the past years we always predicted our holidays to last for three weeks. It never happened. Two weeks and four or five days max, it has never been more. The reason? Sometimes the weather was bad during the last few days or we just longed to go home. However, this year was different. It took us 24 days to return home! This "lengthy" stay in France was probably due to the distance we drove and the very nice weather we experienced. All in all we enjoyed 19 days with predominantly sunshine. Temperatures varied between 20 degrees Centigrade (in the Rhone region) and 32 degrees in Pau.
We drove 4,068 kilometers or 2,527 miles. Also for us that's not a small figure. It was caused by a side trip to Spain and the "detour" to Fleurance in the Gers. Despite all these kilometers there is a tendency to stay longer in one place (nice) place. In the early days we packed our bags every morning and moved on to the next stop...
This year we left early (May 25). During those 24 days the following (unplanned) route emerged. We spent the night in places in blue with the number of nights in parenthesis (if >1).

Castricum - Eindhoven - Maastricht - Luik - Luxemburg - Langres - Lyon -Privas - Nyons (3) - Vaison-la-Romaine - Malaucene - Bedoin - Pernes-les-Fontaines -  Serres - Orange - Montpellier - Sète - Port Leucate - Canet Plage - Perpignan - Castello d'Empuries (2) - Perpignan - Prades - Mosset - Col de Jau - Axat - Quillan - Lavelanet - Foix - St-Girons - Pau - Soustons - Vieux Boucau-les-Bains (3) - Soustons - Dax - Mont-de-Marsan - Nogaro - Vic Fézensac - Lavardens -Fleurance (2) - St-Clar - Bordeaux - Saintes - Rochefort - Châtelaillon Plage - La Rochelle - Cholet - Le Mans - Argentan - Caen - Pont de Normandy - Yvetot - Doudeville - St-Valéry-en-Caux - Doudeville - Abbeville - Calais - Adinkerke - De Panne - Knesselare - Maldegem - Zelzate - Liefkenshoektunnel - Bergen op Zoom - Rotterdam - Uitgeest - Castricum

All together we (un)packed our belongings in 17 hotels or other addresses. Compared to the number of cities we stayed in, that is one more. In Nyons we had to move once because the first hotel was available for one night only. Well, that is the risk we take by not making advance reservations. But that risk is compensated by the travel flexibility we obtain in return. There is no múst to be somewhere at a certain time on a certain day. This year we ran into just one hotel that was fully booked (Pau). So we leisurely walked to the next one...

During our journey the car consumed 384 liters/101 US gallons of euro95 fuel. On average the cost was about the same as last year: € 1.55/ltr or US$ 8.01/gallon. For the English readers that is £ 1.24/ltr.

Initially we were under the impression that prices for hotels and meals soared. But that was not as bad as it seemed, not on average at least. Each day we spent € 76.00 per person, just € 1.50 more compared to last year.

Our Toyota RAV4 did well, no problems at all. No need for emergency assistance nor did we need the breathalyzers (French law requires two of them to be present in the car). That latter requirement also goes for the reflective vests. You have to wear those if you leave the car in case of an accident. Should  you use a navigation system, make sure it does not warn you for French speed camera's! Alternatively obtain a statement from the manufacturer that their system is permitted under French law.
The Pyrenees as seen from the Col de Jau
We look back at very pleasant holidays. As far as I am concerned the route in the Pyrenees was the most beautiful part of our trip. The scenery around Prades, Mosset and the Col de Jau is impressive. The sometimes narrow mountain roads make that my wife has a different definition of what is beautiful.
In the twenty or so posts prior to this one, I tried to give an impression of where we were. Unfortunately it is in Dutch only. But you can still have a look at them because the pictures are nice :-)
Thank you for reading this.

PS For my British readers: In case you are looking for a very nice mansion in Southern France please see this post for a few pictures. The asking price is around € 300,000! The property includes approx. 7,000 sq. mtrs of land. If you are interested, just let me know and I'll put you in contact with the owners. My email: patmiebies (at) gmail dot com.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Saint Valéry-en-Caux - De Panne - Castricum

De boulevard van De Panne 's avonds om 8 uur
Waar staat het kanon?
Hoewel we al bijna een week thuis zijn, moet dit vakantierelaas natuurlijk wel afgemaakt worden. De reis naar De Panne (of La Panne zoals de Fransen zeggen) is voornamelijk over autoroutes gegaan. Dat is niet de gewoonte maar met de stal in zicht... Bovendien was ook het weer er niet naar om eens gezellig allerlei pitoreske kustplaatsjes in Picardië te bezoeken. Zelfs De Panne maakte een verlaten indruk en nog niet klaar voor het seizoen.
Op de 17e door naar huis. Onze voorkeur gaat altijd uit naar de route via de Liefkenshoektunnel bij Antwerpen. Het alternatief is de Kennedytunnel met vaak files op de rondweg van Antwerpen. Nou hebben we de afslag naar de Liefkenshoektunnel op de A11 al eerder gemist, die route staat heel omfloerst aangegeven, dus daarom ook maar een nieuwe kaart van België aangeschaft. Daarnaast de routing van de TomTom via Zelzate gezet en zowaar, dit jaar ging alles zoals gepland en mochten we de € 6,00 tol voor de tunnels (ook de Tijsmanstunnel hoort tot dat traject) betalen. En dan is het slechts een kwestie van tijd voordat het einde van de vakantie daar is, deze keer voor het eerst een paar dagen meer dan de gebruikelijke 3 weken. 
Ik kan vast onthullen dat we in totaal 4.068 km hebben afgelegd, de overige cijfermatige wetenswaardigheden komen over een dag of wat in de samenvatting van deze vakantie te staan. Hier houdt het min of meer dagelijkse verslag dus op. Bedankt voor het lezen! 


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