Park Berg en Bos, Apeldoorn

Park Berg en Bos, Apeldoorn
Prachtig uitzicht op park Berg en Bos

vrijdag 18 januari 2013

The mending workers in Scheveningen

This is a post for Sepia Saturday 160.
I’m going to tell you a story about the ladies on the wagon below. In Scheveningen they are called ‘nettenboetsters’. I didn’t find a translation, so I chose one myself ‘mending workers’. If anyone knows better, please tell me!
 1. On the wagon to the mending fields.
The mending or repairing of the fishnets was an important link in the fishing business in Scheveningen. Once the fleet was in the harbor, the mending workers came into action to make the nets usable again for the next voyage.
2. On the mending field1.
After each trip the nets were inspected and repaired. Should the nets quickly be checked then this could be done on the port side.
3. On the mending field2.
The repairing happened on the mending fields or in the attics of the shipowners by young girls and fisherwomen. Also former fishermen who wanted to earn some extra money did this work.

4. Aunt Rie and sister Anneke on the mending field in 1958.
It was not just young girls and women of sailors who checked and repaired the nets. The women of skippers and mates cooperated, but often as head women.
5. Demonstration activities.
Many women had other activities in addition to their role in the family, an additional income was nearly always a necessity. The repairing of nets was a hard job which was exerted by many women in Scheveningen.
6. Harbor quay; htmfoto.
They often had to work long and irregular. If a herring lugger sailed inside on Saturday morning, he remained 2x 24 hours in the harbor before leaving again. The women worked until all the work was done, even though that was until Saturday night around eleven thirty. On Sunday, no one worked.
7. At the harbor.
In winter the women worked on the mending attics of the shipping companies. Once spring was well in sight, the various groups of mending workers went daily to the ‘fields’. The nets to be repaired could be fully rolled out and the necessary work could be made much clearer. The women were then mending in the dunes and on the fields, nearby the water tower on the Harstenhoekweg.
8. Mending attic; htmfoto 1938.
During the activities on the attic the mending women not only worked hard, but they sang warmly. This were particularly devotional, spiritual songs. Twenty female voices echoed loudly through the attic space. All this was larded by long heard singing tones at the end of each line, as at that time was common during the singing of psalms at Scheveningen. Sailors or nets knitters, who occasionally also had to work in the attics, bravely sang with the choir in such circumstances. Perhaps that is why the fishing village still has several choirs, because it is beyond dispute: the inhabitants of Scheveningen love singing!
Bal, C.: Scheveningen in oude ansichten, deel 1, 1987, blz 112.
Hoeken, Cees J. van: Schevenings goed, 1984, blz 30-35.
Noordervliet- Jol, Nel: Schevenings bezit, 2005, blz 159.
Slechte, C.H.: Scheveningen tussen twee wereldoorlogen, 1978, blz 70-72.
Spaans, Piet: Mooi-Tooi, 2001, blz 72-80.
Click here for more stories about wagons, trucks and lifters by my fellow-Sepians on Sepia Saturday.

19 opmerkingen:

Wendy zei

Such an interesting insight into their lives, both as workers and as spiritual wives and mothers. Mending fishing nets is not a job that I have given much thought to, but I can see how important it would be to close up gaping holes.

Brett Payne zei

An excellent and informative post full of interesting photos thank you. I presume those things hanging from the ceiling in photo 8 are buoys?

Boobook zei

I'm always amazed at the wonderful photos Sepians have on their blogs.

Did someone think to record the singing. It must have sounded beautiful.

Prenter zei

You are right, Wendy. The fish would quickly find those loopholes and all the work would be for nothing.

Peter zei

@Prenter, do people still do this manually? Or did the machine take over? Nice pictures!
@Brett, I think you are right.

Prenter zei

Thank you, Brett. The hanging white things are not buoys, but balloons. The herring fishery was done with a ‘vleetnet’ of many kilometres length. This fishing net hangs in the water like a curtain and is being kept afloat with white balloons.

Prenter zei

Thank you, Boobook. Most of the pictures in this post I have found on the internet. The singing on the attics were not recorded. But you could hear them singing in church, every Sunday twice.

Prenter zei

Thank you, Peter. This form of herring fishery continued until the end of the sixties. The repairing of fishing nets has changed too. In the 70s of the 20th century the firm Maritime was founded and later moved to Katwijk. The work of Maritime became more and more international because the Dutch freezer trawlers went fishing in distant waters, especially around the West Coast of Africa. Besides fishing nets also other nets and attributes of ropes are made by Maritime, eg for factories, bird cages, The Apeheul, Foundation Monkey, etc. For more info see

Bob Scotney zei

I seen fishing nets being repaired on the East Coast of Scotland in the late 1950s but none recently anywhere. You have turned up some fine photos here to give us a very interesting post.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy zei

What a neat subject to write about, Prenter. I have never thought about that sort of work before. I bet that those women became very close to each other over time.

Thanks so much for this very interesting post!

Kathy M.

Prenter zei

Thank you, Bob. The old nets were made of natural materials such as sisal, hemp and manila. The modern nets are made of artificial materials such as nylon. They are much stronger than the old ones. I think the nets are not being repaired anymore. It’s like socks stopping: who does that yet today, when the socks can be bought cheap and not so fast wear down?

Helen Bauch McHargue zei

Interesting how these occupations are changed or lost as time rolls on. I bet they don't sing in the factory where they make the nylon nets.

Karen S. zei

I really enjoyed your side of the story, very interesting, and so revealing. They did work hard, and it certainly paid off for them, and the task of mending nets would not be on top of my list at all! Best of all, are the great photos too, what an amazing life they led!

Postcardy zei

Interesting and educational. Net mending is an occupation that I didn't know existed.

Prenter zei

Thank you, Kathy. It was precisely my intention to put the hardworking women of Scheveningen under the spotlight. They deserve that! The women were very close and families had a close bond.

Alan Burnett zei

Over the last couple of years, Sepia Saturday has become a worldwide exchange of ideas and stories based on old photographs and the real delight of this is the kind of post that you have just given us which provides a fascinating insight into the history and traditions of people in other countries. What a great post.

Prenter zei

@Thank you, Helen. Things are changing over the years, especially crafts and manual labor. The singing goes on in churches and choirs.

@Thank you, Karen. I’m glad you enjoyed my story and the photos.

@Thank you, Postcardy, for reading and commenting.

Little Nell zei

I second what Alan says and would add that this particular and interesting post of yours also highlights that these unsung heroines could be found in many a fishing community across the globe. Your research is first class.

Prenter zei

Thank you, Alan and Little Nell. I highly appreciate your comments. I will do my very best to continue on this path.