This spring, two beautifully designed brochures by two writers, both living in East Amsterdam, were published about their region. How did these brochures appear? What positive changes do they see in the neighborhood and what are they missing? Double interview with writers Joyce Rodnat and Caroline Van Willeg.
Lenny Harsma | picture Frank Scheuvart
FifthCaroline van Willig came East Island, east of Amsterdam in 28 columns From. These columns previously appeared in Dwars. Joyce Rodnat describes the walks she took with her mother as a child. With your mother, a walk, It is a star-shaped stroll through eastern Amsterdam, which shows the generations passing on to each other and how the city has changed.
Joyce, without your mother, the book wouldn’t have been made?
I’ve never really made up my mind with these kinds of things. I always do what is asked of me; My motto in my life is that I always say yes, because that’s how you experience something. in Van Orchot casually The book takes you on his favorite walking tour. I asked if I could write a book on motherhood because it’s a topic I’ve been working on for a long time. At first I explored the neighborhood with the help of my mother. Walk in Boulder for bird watching. I want to describe while walking what it was like and what it is like. And I also wanted to write chapters on motherhood, because without this mother the book would never have been made. There is also an important chapter related to my mother in the hospital and I who only see her standing at the window. with Mother It is a tribute to my mother. There is also a social aspect to this, because shortly after the Second World War no one divorced, which left an imprint on life.
Caroline, did you win the writing contest?
I won a Dwars writing contest and then wrote a column for the newspaper every seven weeks for five years. I also read columns at the Theater de Roode Bioscoop accompanied by a viola and bass player. The East plays a role in almost all columns. In the first column entitled do something Caroline describes how these metallic letters can be seen on the railway bridge at Wibautstraat. I first saw them on a Monday morning in June. The words echoed for the rest of the day. DO SOMETHING is a work of art by Serge Verheugen and has been there since 2011.”
Joyce, do you think much has changed in the East?
The neighborhood has changed in terms of its nature. The Finsenstraat where I live wasn’t very pleasant; It was quieter and there weren’t any cars. We didn’t have a bike and always walked everything: we walked straight to Boulder, and took the ferry over Ringdijk. You could hear the sound of every goal scored in the old Ajax stadium. There are now balconies, and there is tourism, which you can see from the many B&Bs in the area. But how they hid in Oostpoort the Sportfondsenbad, Amsterdam’s oldest swimming pool, is unimaginable.
Caroline, tell me about the hatch in Middenweg where the cinema once sat?
There is a gap in Middenweg, between the Salvation Army store and the tanning salon. I first noticed it at the end of November. It offers a glimpse into the past.
in the column aperture Caroline writes: “Middle Way No. 20. I look again into the void and see that the building should have been a cinema. There was a screen with a picture of a man and a woman on it. Both had a mask in their hand. Thanks to the demolition, this wall has appeared. Sometimes it makes something visible.
Joyce, what do you think of Caroline’s book?
I received the book from Caroline the night before the show at the library. Great to read and found out what I didn’t know, for example about the traffic lights on Molucas Street, the story goes as they were dummy buttons that gave you the idea of shortening the waiting time. I was also moved by the story of the disappearing cinema.
Caroline, what do you think? with Mother?
I am a big fan of walking books. How Joyce describes the neighborhood from her childhood and navigates back and forth from the present to the past. Other than in my handbook, in which I write mainly about public places, with Mother Very personal. So nice how Joyce writes about mothers in a way that she knows how to touch the universality of motherhood’.