Dolf Toussaint photographed ordinary people in the Jordaan, and it was fun to see a lot of places that are familiar, even though they look different today. I was fascinated to see some of the artisans that once filled the Jordaan, including a wonderful photo of a hat maker with his patterns ranged on the wall behind him. Many of these trades no longer exist and the character of the Jordaan has gentrified so few exist in the Jordaan today.
The woman ahead of me commented that her mother appears in one of the photos, which was a nice reminder of how recent these photos are. They point to an emergent prosperity, the brief explanations document all the changes the area was going through at the time. Although the area was crowded, five times as many people lived in the Jordaan then, there was little unemployment, crime was low and the photos show a close community.
It’s the first time I’ve been in the new Stadsarchief and the building is great, spacious and stylish. You’ll find plenty of study space, conference rooms, a cafe (with a fairly basic menu), a bookstore and a light filled lobby as well as the exhibition space.
If you can’t visit the stadsarchief you can still search their databases, here’s a selection of photos by Dolf Toussaint for example.