Already as a young man, Geert made travels abroad. His camera caught what he saw. Through the pictures, we notice a mind that is both inquisitive and romantic.
In those years, there were no computers. News was mediated, and it travelled slower. Geert, however, visited many places in the world himself. He witnessed war destruction, rebuilding, and much else. This room shows a small selection. His later work bears the mark of what struck his eye as a young man.
The selection in the sixth room was made by Rokus Hofstede. Studio Luc Brefeld developed and cleaned (and printed) the pictures. Gert Jan Hofstede presented them.
Opened October 2023.
This is the Geert of 1952 whose pictures (except for two portraits of him) populate the 6th Room.
Geert in 1947, shaven as a novice student at Delft university. A sense of drama is in the air.
He would lose his hair for real eight years later.
In the late nineteen-fourties, Geert was a mentor at youth camps. These might have been the Boy Scouts.
This scene took place around 1948 looking West from the Grebbeberg. It had played a role in 1940, when the Dutch held it against the Germans, until Rotterdam was bombed and the Dutch surrendered. Who knows what the boys were enacting.
In the back you can distinguish the river Rhine, notice the damaged Rhine bridge, and see chimneys as well as the tall Cunera tower.
Geert travelled to Berlin as a student. This is the Reichstag, 1952 – seven years after the end of World War II.
The Reichstag, from close up, looking East. Today, “Friedensallee” is called Simsonweg, and the newly planted trees are now grown up.
Order police trucks are parked along the wall. The sign on the building on the right says “1. Mai – Kampftag der Aktionseinheit”. The most impressive element might be that the Berlin Wall is not yet there: you can look straight into East Berlin.
In the early fifties, Geert met Maaike van den Hoek, his later wife and the mother of his children. This might have been taken in 1953.
Maaike spent half a year in Alès, in Southern France, as an au pair girl. She looked after the Perrier family’s little girl. Besides improving her French, she also learned about cooking. For instance:
“Il faut quatre hommes pour faire une bonne vinaigrette. Un généreux pour l’huile, un avare pour le vinaigre, un sage pour le sel, et un fou pour le poivre.”
Geert visited and took this picture, where Maaike seems to have a good time. She would later work as a French teacher.
On his trip to Alès, Geert also filmed farming life in Southern France.
On the way back home, the young couple visited Paris.
Young Geert, incurable romantic, was fond of this picture he took.