Intention not carried out

6  The Hague

"“The widow of the Indies”"

Scheveningen, beach
1934-35 Scheveningen beach. L. to R. My brother, aunt, cousin, father, mother, sister and cousin

Beach of Scheveningen
1934-35 Scheveningen beach: my brother, cousin and father
Things I still remember from our European furlough when I was 8 years old, in the period 1934/1935, are riding a donkey on the Scheveningen beach, being surprised to see Dutchmen doing coolie labour, to even see them building roads using pavers, and that a horse and a wagon like a mini grocery store delivered groceries from door to door, and more of such things. I often watched, with much interest, the road sweepers who would sweep the streets with an - in my opinion - very unusual looking broom made from twigs. Also, the houses seemed unfinished because the bricks were still visible. In our opinion houses should be plastered on the outside like they were in the Indies.

The cold in the Netherlands and the London-Melbourne race

The original Douglas DC-2 PH-AJU Uiver
The original Douglas DC-2 PH-AJU Uiver. Bron: Wikipedia
After our furlough in Holland two things stayed with me. First, that I would never ever want to live in Holland with its eternal cold for the rest of my life, because, being a child of the tropics, I was used to spending the days mostly outdoors in the Indies, in a pleasant climate. Little did I know at the time that things would work out rather differently. And secondly, we had a monthly subscription for the cable radio and had a small box in the lounge room in our rental home in The Hague, with which we could listen to the radio stations Huizen and Hilversum only by selecting one of the two settings available.

Thee Uiver
The legendary flight of the 'Uiver'
It seems like yesterday that my father and I were glued to this radio for days and nights on end during the broadcasts on the London-Melbourne race with its ever so many stops along the way, since aviation was still in its infancy in those days. In the end, the ‘official’ race was won by an Englishman, but in the ‘handicap race’ the victory was for ‘us Dutchmen’, with the Dakota DC 2 the ‘Uiver’, which managed to also pick up the mail destined for Batavia on the many fuel stops along the way. Unfortunately our other Dakota DC 2, the ‘Panderjager’ which also competed in the race, crashed along the way and several planes from other countries were also unable to finish the race or finished with considerable delay due to extensive repairs while ‘en route’.


Another ‘disaster’ for us, children from the tropics, was that - despite the fact that The Hague was home to many colonials on leave - the Dutch were not really into East Indian food yet back then. As such, there were only few East Indian toko’s (food stores) to be found in The Hague and preparing an East Indian meal meant lots of improvising. Because it didn’t take long before we were sick and tired of eating boiled potatoes. The other way round, most Dutch people would still snort at the mere mention of the word ‘garlic’.

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