The rush on Dutch roads is off all time. Indications of the first blockages find their origin in the twenties from the 20th century. They are the heralds of the well-known frustrations in the morning and evening: traffic jams.
Over the years, the demand for motor vehicles grew, resulting in headaches for many civil servants. This led in 1938 to the establishment of the “Legion of Benevolent Road Users”. An initiative of the Royal Dutch Automobile Club to bring the politeness back in traffic, so that the safety on the street could be guaranteed. Members of the Legion ‘operated’ under the slogan “prepared for politeness on the street.”
Traffic can not just trust in the benevolence of the road users, so in 1965 a number of new traffic regulations got introduced where safety was of paramount importance. Pedestrians in the built-up area should not be hindered during their cross-over by inattentive motorists and mopeds as swift as an arrow. The Polygoon Dutch News shows in a report that the changes of the traffic regulations also restrict the various functions of emergency lanes.
Nearly 30 years after the establishment of the Legion of Benevolent Road Users, the situation on the roads are often still an awful affair. The undesirable behavior of many road users was not yet nipped in the bud. Especially in the busy capitol city of Amsterdam, motorists are a major problem, their pride possessions are anyway. Cars are double-parked at the strangest spots. However, it is not only the citizens where the finger should be pointed to. There is not enough parking space available in the city. The picturesque bridges that connect the canals do briefly serve as parking lots in 1967. It soon becomes apparent that this solution is unnerving to other road users, so the Amsterdam city council sets foot on the street armed with yellow paint.
In addition to addressing anti-social driving and parking, a car-free city centre of Amsterdam is becoming a more prominent issue. In reply to this, the industrial designer Luud Schimmelpennink in the early 70s came with an innovative concept for environmentally friendly transport: the Witkar. A three-wheel electric vehicle for two persons that could go up to 30 kilometers per hour. This electric tricycle is designed for the collective: subscribers don’t have to worry about a parking lot because the Witkar could be ‘hovered’ in a charger at five locations in Amsterdam.
Fourty videos on sports have now been added to Open Images. These items from the Polygoon newsreels give an overview of different sports in the Netherlands. Besides well known sports like football, hockey and cycling, there are also videos on lesser known sports. One of these is a sport that orginated in the USA, pushball. In a game of pushball two teams try to push an enormous ball across the line of the side of the opposing team. A large crowd of spectators in traditional attire watches a pushball game in Volendam in 1927. A report of this match shows how falling players frequently get run over by the enormous ball:
Falling down and getting up again also seems to be the motto during a cross-country of the Royal Military Sports Club. In a report by Polygoon newsreels we can see how the mounted soldiers have to ride a course with ditches, fences and slopes. This doesn’t always go smoothly: horses refuse, go through instead of over the fences or fall down with their rider:
The participants of the 4th Amstel Gold Race in 1969 also had a hard time. The weather conditions were far from ideal. The participants of this cycling classic in the hills of Limburg had to deal with cold and wet weather. Many cyclists had to give up. Only 34 of the 170 cyclists finished the race. Eddy Merckx was the favourite for the win, but his fellow countryman Guido Reybroeck eventually won the sprint:
The water skiers on the Bosbaan in 1962 had better weather. The participants of the Northern European and also Open Dutch Championships Water Skiing particpated in two categories: trick skiing and ski jumping. The 14-year-old Dutch Conny Dane won the Dutch as well as the Nothern European title in the category trick skiing. The jumps of the Danish waterskier Glasner didn’t go as smoothly. He came 9m short of the eventual winner in his first jump. During his second attempt he fell, but luckily he was “not discouraged” according to commentator Philip Bloemendal, but “he was wet”:
As small as the Netherlands may be, as big the freedom has been for the performing artists, most of the time. Throughout the years a free rein has been given to many artists within different art disciplines to unfold their talents in front of a large audience.
As early as in 1958, the 14-year-old violinist Dick Bor was given the opportunity to perform as soloist within the Dutch Youth Orchestra during a concert at the Kurhaus in Scheveningen. This concert was held within the scope of the Holland Festival, an event that is held annually in Amsterdam and acts as a platform for the Dutch, as well as the international performing arts.
The Dutch Youth Orchestra has not been the only breeding ground for performing artists. Since the establishment in 1888, the notable Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) has brought forth many talented musicians. The RCO is known throughout the world for being a celebrated symphonic orchestra, so it’s not surprising that international performing artists throughout the years have been eager to cooperate with the orchestra. As early as 1946 the well known German choirmaster Bruno Walter took off to Amsterdam at the age of 71 to rehearse with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Having been the confidant of Gustav Mahler for years, Walters’ choice of repertoire for the cooperation with the RCO was easy: Mahlers Fourth Symphony.
The harmonious teamwork between different artists inspired not only the sector of the performing arts. The government also understood the significance of the fine arts and by the end of the forties the Raad voor Cultuur (Arts Council) is established with the intention to advise the government on the field of ‘art management’ in the sectors of film art, theatre, music, expressive arts and literacy. In 1956 the council is installed in a celebratory way in The Hague by Jozelf Cals, the minister of Education, Arts and Science. The positions within the board are being occupied by prominent people from the five sectors of the fine arts. Hence ballet dancer Sonia Gaskell became head of the sector of theatre.
On the 11th and 12th of March 2011 a next conference about Video Vortex will be organized in TrouwAmsterdam. Conference themes are: Online Video Aesthetics; It’s not a Dead Collection, it’s a Dynamic Database; Country Reports; Platforms, Standards and the Trouble with Translation; Online Video as a Political Tool; and Online Video Art.
On Thursday the 10th of March, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (in collaboration with INC and NIMk) organizes two workshops at NIMk. These workshops offer participants the opportunity to gather hands-on experience with online video. Participants can work in different creative workshops and play with a range of online video tools and technologies. Facilitated by experts, the topics are: remixes and re-use of open video collections and participatory video production.
On Saturday evening the 12th of March, performances and video projections will take place during an evening program.
Tickets for the conference:
This conference is taking place within the SIA-RAAK Publiek program Culture Vortex. Culture Vortex is an innovation program to encourage public participation in online cultural collections.
Consortium Partners: University of Amsterdam, MediaLAB Amsterdam, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Netherlands Media Art Institute, Virtual Platform, VPRO, Amsterdam City Archive, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, IDFA, and the International Urban Screens Association.
In December Father Winter showed his face in the Netherlands. People put on their skates again and went skating, snowmans were made and in some places they were even skiing. But the frost wasn’t always fun, it also caused a lot of problems, especially in traffic. A selection of videos that show winters in the Netherlands in earlier years has now been added to Open Images.
The videos show that large amounts of snow have caused problems before. In the notorious winter of 1979 parts of the Netherlands were completely snowed in. A snow storm caused the blowing snow to pile up, sometimes several meters high. This gave problems in traffic: cars broke down, Schiphol Airport had to be closed temporarily and railway traffic became almost impossible. The army had to help clear the snow to make parts of the Netherlands accessable again. This report from the Polygoon newsreels gives an overview of the problems:
The snow and frost were not only the cause of problems, they also gave a lot of joy. How Dutch people enjoyed themselves in the snow and on the ice can be seen in several items of the Polygoon newsreels. We can see people sleigh riding, ice skating, ice sailing and even skiing in the Netherlands. In 1929 the ice was thick enough to have a funfair on it. People are dancing on the ice, there is a barrel organ and even a swing:
But winter isn’t really winter in the Netherlands unless their has been an Elfstedentocht. A report on the Elfstedentocht of 1933 has now been added to Open Images. This race had two winners that finished at the same time, Sipke Castelein and Abe de Vries. After the finish the Polygoon reporter asked them a few questions:
Besides several videos on snow and ice, there is also a video on winter fashion. In a Polygoon newsreel from 1959 some women show the latest fashion for the coming skiing season. We see a lot of stripes, the elastic trousers, a divisable hood and a jacket with icicle design. Not only fashion for on the slopes is shown, but also clothing for the après-ski. According to commentator Philip Bloemendal this ‘will make everyone look their best in the ski resorts’: