Friends in a Cold Climate: Schiedam-3

During Rein’s time at the HBS (Higher Burgerschool), Rein was quite social thanks to his father's involvement in clubs like the Tafelronde and Lionsclub in Schiedam, which organized activities for children. Their strong Catholic background, attending church weekly at Liduina church, greatly influenced Rein. The Schiedamse Lawn Tennisvereniging (SLV) was exclusively for Catholics, with no Protestants or others allowed to join.

The discussion of the emerging ‘counterculture’ within the Catholic context was almost non-existent and not accepted. Rein’s biggest act of rebellion was not to attend church every Sunday. During this period of anti-sectarianism, there was also an increase in interaction with other cities and peoples. This led his parents and Rein to gradually become more open to new ideas.

During his time at school, he participated in the Schiedam youth exchange program, for which he was asked to organize activities. The hosting of participants could easily take place at home because his parents encouraged him to interact with foreigners.

Participants in a youth exchange would just come for a two-week visit in Schiedam, and they had to get to know the people, and had to learn their language for a month at home were only English and German was spoken. Overall, it went very well. However, Rein’s grandfather was killed by the Germans. And his family lived with the grandmother in the grandparenmtal house, as was quite common at the time. The grandmother actually didn't want them to associate with the Germans or have them come to their house. Rein’s mother, in particular, pushed for it.

The Netherlands is a very small country surrounded by large countries like France, Germany, and England. The entire trade was with these countries. he doesn’t see a youth exchange as the expression of a European ideal, but rather as a way for cultures to get to know each other better. The European aspect for Rein was primarily the need to learn languages. During the exchange programme, Rein doesn't recall discussing serious European politics, but they did talk about bringing together people who had fought in wars years ago to create a more peaceful environment. This was easier for the English than for the Germans.

Early exposure to various people at different levels allowd him to navigate social situations. As a boy of fifteen, Rein talked with mayors, with company directors. He could ask questions and communicate effectively, and that has stayed with him my whole life. The ease with which you learn to communicate, looking back on youth exchanges, is incredibly helpful, according to Rein.

Metadata Access
Creator de Jager MA, E. J.
Publisher Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
Contributor Erik J de Jager MA, Stichting Reis van de Razzia
Publication Year 2024
Rights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess; License:;
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Dataset
Discipline Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Aquaculture; Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Aquaculture and Veterinary Medicine; History; Humanities; Life Sciences; Social Sciences; Social and Behavioural Sciences; Soil Sciences