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My first seven years, 1932 to 1939


We lived on the second floor of a block of apartments on the Admiralengracht in Amsterdam, Holland. The "gracht" was a canal between steep sloping earth dikes planted with grass, bushes and willow trees. It was actively used in the early mornings by farmers rowing or poling their small barges loaded with vegetables to the vegetable auction. They had to use several locks until the 1950's when the waterlevel was raised several feet and the 'gracht' could now accommodate even large motor cruisers, as well as moored house-boats.

My father was teaching at the Dr.J.Th de Visscherschool in the Bartholomaeus Diaz Straat, several blocks away and across the Admiralengracht. When I was two years old, I decided to pick him up at school and crossed the narrow pedestrian bridge ("Het Groene Bruggetje") on my own for the first time in my life. Grownups were surprised and angry.


As a city-kid, I was always dreaming about forests, hills and lakes. I drew endless plans of a "hectare" (about 4 acres) of forest I would own later, until I decided to move to Central Africa and live like Tarzan with the Ituri tribe.
Fortunately, school vacations were rather long and my parents took me either to stay with family in Soest (close to the dunes and pinewoods) or The Hague (near Scheveningen and the North Sea beaches), or with farmers in Bornerbroek, Putten or Gaasterland - each of which places was still quiet and scenic in the 1930's.


NOTES: The Heraldry at the top represents the City of Amsterdam, over 700 years old. The three crosses have been mistaken(?) for "triple X-rated".The words at the bottom translate to: heroic, determined and merciful.
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links to Amsterdam: History of Amsterdam...Luuk's home page, Amsterdam...
The Global Corner Book Store's "Guides to Amsterdam"... Lycos City Guide ...