Friday, 2 March 2012

Saved from the dustbin (2)

Under this title, a number of pre-1966 photographs have been and will be published in this blog. One way or the other, all are related to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. When possible, relevant details will be added. The origin of these pictures has been explained in 'dustbin #1'.

The KLM headoffice in The Hague has been designed by Dirk Roosenburg (1887-1962), an architect born and bred in The Hague. He knew KLM "founder" Albert Plesman since his youth and in 1936 Mr. Plesman asked him to make the office design. Much earlier, in 1919, the architect had been asked to make a design for the first KLM logo, which he did.
The first wing of the new headoffice was made available to KLM in 1940. During the war all building activities came to a stop but in 1946 building continued. At that time the picture below was taken. Today the building is owned by the Ministry of Traffic and Waterways.
The first wing of the KLM HQ in The Hague in 1946.
Further extensions have been built to the left.
The concrete structures alongside the road, are remains
from the war viz. anti tank obstacles.
As of August 1, 1947 KLM had a subsidiary in the former Dutch East Indies named the KLM Interinsulair Bedrijf (KLM-IIB). It operated domestic routes, between the many islands in the archipelago. Most of them were without any airport facilities.  Therefore, the use of Catalina Flyboats does not come as a surprise. KLM-IIB was in fact the predecessor of Garuda Indonesian Airways. Garuda came into being in 1949.
Unloading baggage from the PK-CTD, a Consolidated Catalina.
Note the KLM logo on the aircraft's nose.
In the years after WWII, a lot of Dutchmen emigrated to other continents with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA being the most popular destinations. Usually they expected that in those countries there were more opportunities for a better future. Among them the Van der Dussen family from Rotterdam. The family consisted of Daddy, Mummy and eleven children which, even by Dutch standards then, was considered to be a small crowd. They went to California. The fact they travelled to New York by air probably drew a lot of media attention. In those days most emigrants travelled by ship to their new homeland. 

Newspaper article from the Utrechts
Nieuwsblad April 23, 1947

The Van der Dussen family boarding the KLM Lockheed Constellation
PH-TAU "Venlo" at Schiphol Airport on April 24, 1947.
Note the KLM stewardesses carrying the cradles in which the baby twin was "seated". 
Almost all models manufactured by Douglas have been operated by KLM. That included the DC-2. The picture below must have been taken before December 9, 1936 as on that date the DC-2 named "Lijster" (thrush) with registration PH-AKL crashed near Croydon, UK. The second aircraft, the PH-AKT "Toekan" (toucan) was confiscated by the Germans on May 16, 1940 and transferred to Lufthansa. I am unable to identify the third DC-2.
Douglas DC-2 line up and boarding passengers at Schiphol Airport
Update March 9, 2012 After publishing the above post about the emigration of the Van der Dussen family from Rotterdam to California back in 1947, I successfully tried to make contact with family members there. Please click 'reacties' below for excerpts from emails written by Marianne Carter Vander Dussen.


  1. Peter, leuk dat je dat kranten artikel hebt gevonden.
    Verder dank voor de aandacht aan mijn foto boeken.
    Er zijn nog wel een paar snoepjes zoals het boord altaar op de route
    naar JKT en de geweren die aan boord waren om ijsberen te schieten in geval van een noodlanding op de Groenland.
    Groeten Bert

  2. We komen de resterende snoepjes wel halen. Heb ook nog een mailtje naar Californie gestuurd dus daar hoop ik ook nog iets van te horen.

  3. On March 7, 2012 I received an email from Marianne Carter Vander Dussen. She responded to a mail I sent earlier to her brother Sybrand. It reads as follows:

    "Dear Peter:

    Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Marianne (Vander Dussen) Carter and my brother, Sybrand, forwarded me the e-mail that you had sent him about my family emigration to California on KLM in 1947. I wanted to tell you how excited I was to see your correspondence. Emigrating to the USA was the most significant moment in the history of our large family. Looking at the photo that you attached, I was once again reminded of the courage of my parents to leave war torn Holland and to start a new life. My Mother was pregnant with my brother John at that time, so my parents had 12 children. I am one of the twins that you see on my parents lap.

    We have now been in this country for 65 years, and the family flourished in this country. My parents are deceased and four of my siblings have passed on. Many of the family members are still in the dairy business. The family has expanded to over 300 members.

    Thank you so very much for your efforts to locate Sybrand and any photos that you have of our family would be so appreciated. Just one or two survived the journey, so as you can imagine, the photos would be incredibly meaningful to us.

    Thank you again for your reaching our and your kindness.

    Marianne Carter"

    On March 8 I replied and forwarded all 14 photos related to the 1947 event. Marianne's reaction is reflected below.

    "Dear Peter:

    You can not imagine my feelings in getting your message and photos today. It brought me to tears. You have given me and the whole family such an incredible gift of our history. How can I ever thank you!! and your colleagues, Bert and Aris. Thank you, thank you for your interest and kindness. Looking at these photos just touched such a very deep part of me. I do not have any photos of me as an infant, and now I do. I am planning to create a remembrance from the photos for the whole family. What a remembrance it will be of our roots and courage of our parents.

    I have forwarded your message and photos to Sybrand and I am certain that you will be hearing from him. .....

    Peter, it will take me a few days to take all this in, so I will write you again in a few days, but thank you , thank you!!!

    Best Regards,


  4. On March 12 there was a further message from Marianne.

    Dear Peter:

    Just another note to again thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart and I warmly convey the thank you of the rest of my siblings. We are just thrilled beyond what you could imagine. We have been thinking of ways to display the photos in a memory book for all the siblings and have them write their memories of the event.

    This will be a beautiful legacy for our family and thank you again for your part in making this happen.

    Most Kind Regards!


  5. Below the email exchange with Marianne's brother Syp. He replied to my initial email on March 10. Subsequent emails are shown as well.

    WOW! That is my first response to your welcome and surprising email to me. Thank you! This was a wonderful surprise. Everyone has a history, and when this popped out from 65 years ago, it brought ours back into focus. You are thanked for this. Let me bore you with a super-short summary of our family. Mom was pregnant with brother john, so there were 12 kids that went to America. Of the twins, Marianne emailed you, and George was killed in Viet Nam at the age of 21, in 1968. Mom and Pop are deceased, Mom lived to be 84 and Pop 87: a good, successful life. Four of my siblings have passed away, Fritsie at 33 from leukemia, Rhonda at 67, Broer(Adrianus) from heart attack at 62 and George. Most of us stayed in the dairy business (Boerderij) (sp?). All live in California, although my brother John will be moving to Michigan to be near his kids who are also in the dairy business. Within the family, there are approximately 100,000 cows being milked. America has been very good for us, and we thank Mom for being the "pusher" to get the family to America; she was the inspiration, the energy, the visionary and always our cheerleader/coach/police in our growing years. We are, almost without exception still believers, with just about everyone still deeply involved in church life. We have family reunions occasionally, but the size of the family makes that very problematic. I began my dairy career after serving in the Marine Corps in 1967, began a parallel career in real estate (maakelaar?) in 1980, have 3 sons, all in the dairy business, 3 daughters-in-law, 14 grandkids. You may find it amusing that some of the grandkid's names are Maartje, Sybrand, Willem, Wybrand, Ellieann, Anje, Elsje, and the rest "normal" American names. I am now mostly retired, building a new home near one of the boys, married to Anje for 44 years-a Groninger! And generally enjoying life. Believe me, your communication was very wonderful. You are welcome to forward this email to your colleagues that played a role in saving from the "dustbin" these pictures. And please, extend our appreciation them also. Syp

    Dear Syp,

    thank you for the summary of your family history. Very impressive. As I said to Marianne, I was sorry to read that not all children are among us anymore but such is life.
    The number of milch cows owned by the family, is enormous to our standards. The number in all of Holland in 2008 was 1,5 million...
    There is one thing I wonder. Do the (grand) children still speak (or read) Dutch? Judging by your use of Dutch words, possibly some of you still do.
    Certainly I find it amusing that some of the grandchildren have Dutch names. But it points to their roots and I am sure they value those. I also see that your fathers' first name is carried forward which I think is a nice tradition.
    In all those years, did you ever return to Holland to visit family? The Van der Dussen name is wide spread in the Rotterdam area so there must be many around.
    I don't know whether your wife still reads Dutch but also my mother in law was from Groningen. She might read about her in my blog . Her maiden name is Venema.
    I certainly will forward your email to my colleagues. I am sure they are as happy as I am that the 1947-photo's have found their destiny.

    Kind regards,

  6. Syp's response to my above email reads as follows.

    All my siblings and myself still speak the language. I am sure it is not as sophisticated as todays Dutch, but we still enjoy speaking it. My boys understand it, and Michael, our middle boy, who married into the large DeJong dairy family, speaks it in an elementary but workable level. Our youngest, Danny, also speaks it reasonably,and he married Michael's wife's sister! (keeps the in-law problem down :) ) Our oldest, Mark, married a second generation Dutch girl, who studied Spanish, so that family is fluent in that language. Ann and I have been to The Netherland 7 times over the last 30 years, taking our boys in the mid 80's, which was an incredible time for us. My condolences for having to put up with the Groningen culture! ... Again, thank you. Syp


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