A Short Cycle Down Memory Lane

04/04/2011 09:00 by Amsterdamize

Top photo: A female traffic police officer directs traffic at a zebra crossing. Amsterdam, December 1955. One of the photo streams I subscribe to on Flickr is that of IISG, the International Institute of Social History:
The International Institute of Social History is the largest documentation and research centre in the world in the field of social history. Since it was established in 1935, the institute has focused its efforts on collecting, retaining and making available the heritage of social movements worldwide. The institute is independent and trustworthy, and is thus a natural repository for the cultural heritage of the workers’ movement and other emancipatory groups and movements that are often under threat. The research department of the institute focuses on the history of labour relations and organizes international projects in this field. The collection (archives, library and audiovisual materials) occupies approximately 50 km of shelf space. The IISH is an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences ('Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen'(KNAW)).
IISG regularly posts selections of material on Flickr, often in line with current news, such as a vintage collections of posters railing against the introduction/use/expansion of nuclear power (aka the sentiment now doing the rounds with regards to Japan). IISG's Flickr collection may not be vast, but it serves its purpose; making invaluable documentation available to the public & trigger interest to make use of its online catalogue and/or visit the institute. The latter is now on my bucket list. ;) Let me share a few examples from a collection of photo sets, all taken by (the late) award winning photo journalist & co-founder of World Press Photo Ben van Meerendonk. I picked the post-war era, roughly from 1946 to 1955, particularly interesting because the German occupiers had confiscated most of the people's bikes & with the rebuilding progress came the rise of the automobile. These sets give great insight in the everyday urban environment, in which you can easily spot the problems that would lay ahead. The first photo set in question is 'Jobs'. From it I picked the ones in which the job related to bicycles, visa versa & otherwise. 02-20-1948_04081 Fietsenstalling 07-00-1947_02271 Brandweerman Left: Man working at the bicycle parking shed is suffering from the cold, February 20th 1948, Amsterdam. Right: Fireman with hose nozzle on a bicycle, at the Blue Bridge over the Amstel River, July 1947. 11-19-1952_11138 Plastic fiets Plastic bicycle by inventor Keijzer, Eerste Jan Steenstraat, November 19th 1952. 11-21-1952_11144 Fietsverlichting 10-00-1946_00446 Fietscontrole Left: Woman receives a citation for cycling without working lights, Nieuwe Nieuwstraat, Amsterdam, November 21st 1952. Right: Police check for bicycle light, Amsterdam, 1946. 03-00-1948_04165 Politieagent 03-00-1948_04165 Verkeerscontrole Left: Traffic 'action', the police checks 'slow traffic'. On the left a knife sharpener. Vijzelstraat, Amsterdam, March 1948. Right: Police checks 'slow traffic', Vijzelstraat corner of Herengracht, Amsterdam, March 1948. 09-27-1951_09881B Verpleegster 07-01-1953_11653 Fietsonderhoud Left: Nurse with bicycle, Amsterdam, September 27th 1951. Right: American girls assemble bicycles, Amsterdam, July 1st 1953. 00-00-1946_00175 Boerin op de fiets 09-24-1953_11815 Melkboer Left: Peasant woman with milk buckets on yoke on her bicycle, Walcheren, Zeeland, 1946. Right: Milkman with cargo bike full of milk bottles, Amsterdam, September 24th 1953. A random selection from different sets with people on bicycles, in traffic & other captured moments: 10-22-1949_06725 Verkeersexamen 09-23-1958_15386A Muntplein Left: Traffic exam for scouts, Oosterparkstraat, corner of Linnaeusstraat, October 22nd 1949. Right: Muntplein, September 23rd 1958. 11-05-1947_03149 Haarlemmerstraat Traffic on Haarlemmerstraat, Amsterdam, November 5 1947. 09-23-1958_15386B Verkeerschaos Muntplein Traffic chaos on Muntplein, Amsterdam, September 23rd 1958. 03-21-1951_09213 Voddenopkopers Demonstration by pawnbrokers and merchants, March 21st 1951. 10-13-1950_08354 Spuistraat 10-01-1950_08238 Raceauto Left: Spuistraat, October 13th 1950. Right: Racing car, October 1st 1950. 07-01-1948_04859 CPN jeugd Start of the election bicycle parade for the Communist Party Netherlands (CPN) youth, from Waterlooplein, Amsterdam, July 1 1948. 06-30-1947_02019 Kruispunt Intersection Paleisstraat / Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, Amsterdam, June 30th 1947. 11-27-1952_11163 Jan Luijkenstraat An English cab overtakes a postal worker on a cargo bike, Jan Luijkenstraat, Amsterdam, November 27th 1952. 12-29-1948_05659 Museum Fodor Protest on the street against exhibition 'Greek Photos', Museum Fodor on Keizersgracht, December 29th 1948. 06-29-1953_11639 Vrouw op fiets met kind in rugzak Woman on bicycle carrying her child on her back, Juni 29th 1953. 07-13-1949_06323 Sarphatistraat Little boy is riding his mini racing bike, guided by his father, Sarphatistraat, Amsterdam, July 13 1949. 04-20-1955_13241_1 Murugan The little elephant Murugan practices for the upcoming official parade (June 4th 1955), Weesperstraat, April 20th 1955. I'll try and make this is an ongoing series. It only requires some research ;).

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