Maartje the house is old. But how old she is exactly she is remains a slight mystery. You might think this is weird, but I strongly feel the available info is wrong.
So we decided to go all Indiana Jones on this and find out about the history of our house.
The things we were told about the house
When we bought Maartje, we were told by the real estate agent that the house was dated to about 1925. This seems like a reasonable dating, based on the surrounding houses.
However when we look at city planning permissions etc. we see that the house is dated to 1942. This seems to be incorrect.
In 1942 such houses (with ornate ceilings and all kinds of luxury details) were not being built much because of the war. The style of the house doesn’t really match to the period either.
So basically we just don’t really know (yet) when the house was built exactly. This is an issue because how will we know when it is Maartje’s birthday then?!
Where to start digging for historic info?
From this starting point I decided to start digging. And for the first time in the history of mankind Google was no help. (Who knew that was even possible?!)
When I tried to find info according to our house (address) I only found a dozen listings of the time it was for sale… great.
Fortunately I live near CODA. This is an organization containing a museum and a library. But it also has an archive! So I figured I might as well start my search here.
CODA has a large selection of online resources, like a photo collection (found nothing) and all the documentation from city counsil meetings.
But the most facinating part is the page where you can search old newspapers (link in Dutch).
This is a large project together with the National Archive and the National Library of the Netherlands. They digitalised volumes of several (local) newspapers.
Because of copyright laws not everything is available, but the ones that are, are part of the public domain and can be searched via Delpher (link in Dutch).
This is where I start.
The first finds in old newspapers: things for sale
One thing that I’ve found were several small ads for things that were for sale at one point.
In 1923 there was this small ad. It is one of my favorites actually. It rougly translates to “for sale at any reasonable offer, beautiful German Sherpard (D. H. is short for the Dutch naam ‘Duitse Herder’).”
The small caption “fokteef” indicates it is a female dog meant for breeding.
The first thing for sale in 1942 was a fine gentlemen’s bicycle. It doens’t really say that much, but I like the old word for bicycle used (can’t find a proper translation).
The second ad from 1942 I’ve found lists the sale of 2 doors, a window including frame and a frame with 2 French doors. This is interesting! I assume these items were part of the house. The ad is unclear wether the two doors are meant for indoor or outdoor use. The origin of the window is unclear as well. Maybe from the kitchen? There seems to be a newer window frame there. The French doors suggest a different way out, because they were not replaced with new ones. We know this, because we don’t have any space for French doors in the current layout of the house.
This ad lists all kinds of things:
A black formal jacket with newly ironed (I guess this is the meaning of the abbreviation used) pants.
A fur coat (I think the v.o. abbreviation is an indication of the type of fur used, but I don’t know for sure)
An short jacket made of faux fur
A household stove/heater (not sure on which one)
Besides the things they have for sale, they are in the market for a double folding bed.
The search continues
So far I’ve not come any closer to finding out about the actual build of the house. Because even though I’ve found articles with the address around both 1925 and 1942 it is not said it concerns the same house, only the same address.
I’ve found a lot of other interesting newspaper clippings besides the ones shown here, but I need to sort these to make a coherent overview. I will write a new update on the blog when the time comes.
One thing on the to-do list as well is a visit to the CODA archive, it would be cool to see if there are any official records on the house.