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A typical family history

This photo was taken in the 1930’s. This era was a glorious time for baker Jan Maaskant from Zwijndrecht. He did not only bake bread, biscuits and cake for his own shop, but also for many other bakers in the region. Maaskant’s biscuits were famous in those days. Business went so well that he was one of the first people in the town that could afford a large American car. The car was used to deliver bakery products to his clients. The man in the picture is not Jan Maaskant, but an uncle visiting from the USA. The boy is my father, Wim (Willem) Maaskant, the girl his elder sister and my aunt Adrie.

The bakery could be found at Kerkstraat (church street) number 15. There were many other shops in this busy street and the Kerkstraat was always full of people. It is funny to see how the streets have changed over the last century. Just before the war there were hardly any cars around and people dressed differently. Our society had very different standards and values and you can see a little bit of that in these old photos.

Everything changed after the war. The family had survived the war, but the golden days were gone forever. The difficult years of reconstruction and the increasing competition from big bread and biscuit factories made it impossible to become a leading regional supplier again.

Working hard every day started to affect my grandfather's health pretty badly and he had to take things more calmly. My father - the only son in the family - did not become a baker, but went to Leiden to study medicine. There he met my kother, who is posing with my grandparents in front of the shop here. The door of the bakery was always open and it really was a meeting point of the neighbourhood.

During the sixties, the municipality of Zwijndrecht planned to rebuild the entire neighbourhood. The bakery and all other buildings on the Kerkstraat had to give way to a prestigious housing project. The moment finally arrived in 1968 and the bakery had to close its doors. A unique part of Zwijndrecht was lost forever. My grandfather never witnessed this. He died a couple of months earlier. Jan Maaskant was the third and the last generation of bakers in the Maaskant family.

Take a look at the model in H0 (1:87) and in O scale (1:43.5).



© Huib Maaskant - Alle rechten voorbehouden -