In this article you mainly find old, black and white photos from my Auntie Greet’s Photo Albums. When my aunt Greet passed away in 2005 at the age of 87, I had to clean out her house (I still have to write the story about that subject) and I was so glad to find the old photo albums. A few of these albums I kept, others were given to a niece who’s family was mostly displayed in the pictures, but I scanned all photos because I think it’s important to keep and save old photographs.
Most of the B&W photos are, what we call today, snapshots. Not high standard photographs, but all the more precious memories. I think it’s a pity my aunt never showed them to me before, because I recognize my aunt and her dad and mom (and later her nanny after her mom died) but I don’t know who all the other people are and my aunt can’t tell me their names anymore.
For this article I’ve selected only photos taken on beaches along the Dutch sea shore. Most of them are from just before the World War 2, when nobody knew -yet – what lay ahead of them. Some are from during the War and from seeing these it amazed me that life aparently went on like it had before and the last ones are from just after the War.
The photo in the intro here, had no date on it, but it must have been taken somewhere in the 1920s.
Copyright all photos and text, if not mentioned otherwise: Titia Geertman
Zandvoort – The Netherlands
My Aunt’s family lived in Amsterdam before 1930.
Zandvoort is one of the most crowded beaches in The Netherlands. I’ve lived in Haarlem, which is about 20 minutes by car and the traffic jams to the beach started there in Summer. Zandvoort can be reached by only two ways. Long stretches of beaches are not free to access, which I think is idiotic, but large pieces of seashore have been rented out to entrepreneurs who make a lot of money. One reason I never went there when I was living in Haarlem. I refuse to pay to sit on 2 square meters of sand with your ‘neighbour’ breathing in your neck.
Zandvoort beach – 1926 family picture
Like the intro photo, this one wasn’t dated, but I know it has had to be taken before 1930, because my aunt’s mom (the one on the right) had passed away by then. Looking at my aunt, she could’ve been 7 – 9 years old I guess, so I dated the picture 1926, which is not far from the truth I think. My aunt’s Dad (uncle Leonard) is sitting at the left. Uncle Leonard was the brother of my grandfather, my Mom’s Dad.
One had to hire those beach seats.
Hilversum – 1930
Hilversum 1930 it said in the photo album for the next photo. Strange, because Hilversum hasn’t a beach, so I think it was at the beach of the old IJsselmeer. On the map that will be where Naarden and Huizen are located, just above Hilversum. Could be that they were visiting friends in Hilversum.
This photo must have been taken at the shore, because it shows a typical beach cabin that were build along the Dutch shores during the Summer season. People either owned one or rented one and their purpose was privacy, so that they could change into their swimming suits without all eyes looking at them. Mind you, it was the late 1920s, not the 1960s.
It says ‘Hilversum’ in the photo album. It could be somewhere around Hilversum, because there are many big lakes there and also the IJsselmeer shores.
Zandvoort beach photos 1930-1932
Zandvoort beach 1936
Moving to Heemstede
In 1930, after the death of his wife, my uncle Leonard moved to Heemstede with his daughter Greet and housekeeper/nanny Aunt Gamalia. Mind you, I still get the creeps even typing Aunt Gamalia’s name. She wasn’t the most friendly person on earth and I’ve always been afraid of her.
Living quite close to the North Sea shore line, they visited a lot of places/beaches in that area, like Noordwijk aan Zee, Bergen aan Zee and Wassenaar.
Noordwijk aan Zee
Aunt Greet, 14 years old, with a friend (I think). I’m from a later generation, but I still remember those awful swimming caps which were sometimes painful to get on and even more painful to get off, because your hair would get stuck in it.
I’ve found no pictures where the ‘old’ people are actually wearing swimming suits, they always were dressed up like they were going to a party. It was June when this photo was taken and I think my aunt Greet took it, because she always had to go with the adults. It must’ve been rather hot at the beach.
Wassenaar was and still is a city where the rich people lived and still live.
Bergen aan Zee 1939
Grumpy Aunt Gamalia (she really was a grumpy lady) and Uncle Leonard in the middle. In those days it still wasn’t considered ‘proper’ to get a sun tan. This was Summer and they still have their coats on. Oh not all, I see the lady on the left had put her coat and hat on top of the chair.
A school trip to Wijk aan Zee
My Aunt Greet attended the Gymnasium in Heemstede and aparently they made a school trip to the beach of Wijk aan Zee in 1932.
Stop a minute please to take this Poll. I’m just curious what you do with old family photos.
In 1938 my Aunt attended some kind of camp on the Isle of Texel
They took the plane back home from Texel to the airport Schiphol by KLM
Apparently they travelled to the Ile of Texel by car and took the ferry in Den Helder and came back by airplane, flying from the Airport Texel to the airport Schiphol, owned by the KLM (Royal Aviation Company) near Amsterdam.
KLM had named all their planes after birds and my aunt flew in the Douglas DC-2 Toekan.
Bording the Airplane “Toekan” at Texel Airport 1938
My Aunt Greet boarding the KLM Toekan on Texel
The stories behind famous places near Heemstede
Het Kopje van Bloemendaal & Kraantje Lek in Overveen
On the map above you see the area known as Kennemer Dunes. High wooded dunes in the vicinity of the villages Bloemendaal and Overveen in the Province North-Holland in The Netherlands. It has the most beautiful nature and people live there too (only the rich ones who can afford living there).
Kopje van Bloemendaal:
One of those dune tops was made a big higher, up to 43 meters from where you have a beautiful wide and far panorama view over the whole area. This panorama was opened in 1907 by our Queen Wilhelmina.
During the WW2 the Germans build a huge bunker there and today that bunker serves as an observation post. It got a total restauration make over in 2008. There is also a restaurant, a pancake house (lovely for the kids) and an open-air theatre (just scroll down on the website to see the picture, it’s beautiful).
Kraantje Lek in Overveen:
Kraantje Lek (literal translation: Faucet Leak) is the name of a special spot in the village Overveen. Up till 2007 it was the place were you could find the remains of an enormous elp at the foot of a steep dune called ‘The Blinkert’. Since centuries these remains were referred to as ‘the Hollow Tree of Kraantje Lek’ and in the old days kids were told that this was the place where the babies came from.
A funny story: In 1863 a mother had told her son and daughter that story about the babies and one day when the mom wasn’t feeling well, both kids went to the Hollow Tree of Kraantje Lek with two aunts and the maiden. They wanted to see the babies so this boy pushed his head into the hollow tree but saw nothing but still water which smelled like rotten leaves, so he quickly pulled his head back and scratched his cheek in the process. Coming home there was this new baby and everybody was glad, except this boy because, as he said: ‘his new little sister had scratched his cheek’.
Kraantje Lek: January 1940:
Skiing in the Dunes – World War II was just 4 months away
Kraantje Lek, March 2, 1947 – Skiing again if nothing had happened
Snow covered dunes – you could imagine it was Switzerland
1949-The stranded s.s. C.A. Banck from Helsingborg – An attraction for the people
The two photos below I found on the internet long time ago while searching for information about this ship (which by the way I didn’t found). I saved the pictures on my computer, but now that I want to give photo courtesy credit I can’t find them anymore.
So far for the vintage beach photos from my Aunt Greet’s album.
While I was searching for the old beach photos in the albums of my aunt, I came across one of myself too, way back in August 1947, when I was about 2,5 years old. According to the subscript it was a family gathering in Dordrecht, the city I was born in. At that time my Dad would’ve been still at War in Indonesia. I’m the one in the middle, holding my doll firmly.
From left to right: my grandpa Gerardus (mom’s dad/my grandpa), my mom’s sister aunt Lenie with her daughter Marjolein, my auntie Greet, grumpy housekeeper/nanny ‘aunt’ Gamalia (I don’t think I’ve ever see her smile) and my grandpa’s brother uncle Leonard. My grandpa was a sweet nice man who died when I was 6 years old.
So with this last photo I say goodbye and maybe you’ll come back one day to look at these old beach family photos again.