My last post got me inspired to do some more research. Feeling like a history major again, I quickly opened up the online image library of the Amsterdam City Archive. Back in my college days, all was done by hand for lack of interwebs and/or no online access to anything. Now, of course, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The image library is vast, huge, enormous. Sophisticated search options instantly got me what I was looking for. Then more, more…sure enough, 2 days later, I’m still browsing.
My catch so far: about 250 bicycle related or non-related, but with bicycle as side-kick, photos. Ranging from 1895 to 2007.
Having gone through them all, (legally!) downloaded them all, tagged them all, named them all, a few assumed and promoted aspects of the history of bicycles in the Netherlands are totally confirmed now, no myths, no exaggerations.
Since its invention the Dutch have embraced the bicycle completely (whether general usage was up or down) and started using it for work (commute/cargo), leisure, family, events, celebrations, rich or poor, etc etc. It hasn’t changed one bit. Pre- and post-war there were way more people on two wheels, it decreased significantly in the 50's and 60's (good thing people changed course in the 70's), but their attitude towards cycling remained the same, the same pragmatism, the same no-nonsense, the same feel for style (or just disregard for necessity to wear something else), the same joy for riding.
Alright, I’ve decided to gradually put them all up, working from back to front, starting at the turn of the 19th century, coining this series 'Amsterdamize Classics'. For this first post, however, I wanted to pick a decade that I have some familiarity with…thus bringing you the Cycle Chic Jive of the 70's.
A few from this batch:
1975, girl on Dam Square. Photo by Ed van der Elsken.
1970, corner of Eerste Laurierdwarsstraat and Eerste Rozendwarsstraat, two friends pedaling off into town. Photo by the Amsterdam City Archive.
1975, Vijzelgracht, gotcha! Photo by Ed van der Elsken.
1979, Reguliersbreestraat, view from Rembrandt Square, a time when cars were still allowed there, rush hour for all. Photo by Ed van der Elsken.