Best Friend Axel

22 Amsterdam – From West to North

The same “All’s well that ends well” also applied to us, since we could soon leave the boarding house, having been assigned a new rental home in the Wigbolt Ripperdastraat in Amsterdam West. A third floor apartment became our new home. We had to walk up the stairs to get to our apartment as apartment buildings seldom had elevators in those days. We were also required to buy a coal-fired heater, by which the lounge room could be heated to a comfortable temperature, but which left the bedrooms quite cold, especially to us people from the tropics. Perhaps the only modern feature was the fact that the bathroom had been fitted with a tub to wash by means of a blade which moved back and forth electrically. When we visited our new home on the third floor of the brand new apartment building - it had only just been completed - we noticed that the ground floor apartments had been assigned to Dutch families with many children. Remarkably, all the other apartments, from the first floor up, had been assigned to people from the Indies. People who, up until then, had had to resort to staying in boarding houses, every single one of them. Birds of a feather flock together they say, and given the fact that we weren’t used to living among the so-called ‘fully’ Dutch anyway, it was actually quite a pleasant incidental circumstance. People soon made new friends and when working on their mopeds and cars, their East Indian neighbours would readily offer to help. So it was actually quite a friendly neighbourhood to live in, until after about ten years, one East Indian family after another moved elsewhere. Either because they could move into a better home, or because they were moving closer to their work. Unfortunately, the homes that became vacant were mostly taken up by Dutch people who didn’t care much about prevailing standards and values. Which in turn was a reason for us, too, to pack up and move.

Unforgettable Axel, our Beloved Best Friend


Gedicht Axel

After having lived almost eleven years in Geuzenveld, we moved to a single-family residence with a small garden in the Pinasstraat in Amsterdam North, our home for nearly 42 years to come. This house did have its own central heating. When we moved in, Amsterdam’s Coentunnel was still quiet enough to shoot a canon ball through the tunnel without hitting anyone. Nowadays, the tunnel is home to endless daily traffic jams, and after years of bickering, a second Coentunnel is now being realised.

Shortly after we moved in, the children decided to get a so-called ‘long haired miniature dachshund’, Mr. Axel. Personally, I didn’t like the idea much at the time. I thought, “The dog will just be making a lot of noise and a big mess...” But hey, when the little creature with its rollmop figure and crooked legs decided that I and I only was his owner, I eventually surrendered.


Next (23) »  Top Page   ^^  « Previous (21)