Jan Schreur, Boatbuilder in Giethoorm, Jan Schreur’s family
built these types of boats for hundreds of years, and they continue
to do so. Jan heats and wets the wood in order to bend it.

Giethoorm and Staphorst

Village Life Observed:
Photography and Stories by Annet Held

Holland, Circa 1950

In the 1950s I photographed these two villages situated in the north of Holland, only 20 miles apart (and 20 miles from the village in which I grew up), but they are two different worlds. “The Elders” and “Boatbuilder” are from Giethoorm, a very old settlement in the middle of lakes and wetlands, only accessible by boat or bike. The population is Protestant, but of a very open-minded variety. In the 1950s they chose as their minister a homosexual who lived with his Italian boyfriend in the rectory. The people never regretted their choice, and the minister stayed for years. Staphorst is less isolated, but people there live in a totally closed society, with strict rules for all matters of everyday life. They dress as they have for hundreds of years. They are excellent farmers.

Annet Held and her camera

Staphorst Interior

The village is a visual pleasure, the houses thatch-roofed with green doors, the interiors like 17th-century Dutch paintings. The walls are tiled, the floor is stone, and every Saturday white sand is scattered on the floors to protect them from people’s wooden shoes.

Giethoorm Elders

When I took this photo, the old lady asked me how much I was going to pay her. I told her I wouldn’t pay her, but I would send her a copy of the photo, which I did.

Love in Staphorst

In Staphorst in the 1950s, a teenage girl would carry a little embroidered bag to market. If she allowed a boy to have the bag, she would be waiting for him the following Thursday night. Their secret meetings continued until the girl was pregnant, then both families arranged a wedding.

William B. Dewey, Bay Patterns #2


Many talented individuals are featured in the West Marin Review. Please click below for this volume’s contributors.

  • Cover
    • William B. Dewey   Bay Patterns #2
  • Prose
    • Laurel Wroten   The Birds and the Beef
    • Elizabeth Leahy   whitebird
    • Steve Heilig   Hiding Out with Joanne Kyger, Poet of West Marin
    • Barbara Heenan   Imagining Cherry Pie
    • Karen Gray   Letter from the Everglades
    • Rosaleen Bertolino   Silverton
    • Francine Allen   Things
    • Elizabeth Whitney   What Would Buddha Do?
    • Sandra Nicholls   Raising Rockettes
    • Blair Fuller   Tomales Bank Robbery, 1996
    • Philip L. Fradkin   Unpublished Manuscripts
  • Poetry
    • Terry Tempest Williams   Finding Beauty in a Broken World
    • Linda Pastan   Late September Song
    • Nell Sullivan   Earthly Catalogue
    • Jon Langdon   Jenny Haiku
    • Eugenia Loyster   If We Should Die Tomorrow
    • Joanne Kyger   Night Palace and About Now
    • Donald Bacon   Oblique Tide
    • Barbara Lovejoy   Fog
    • Gary Thorp   Kehoe Beach Haiku
    • William Keener   Bolinas Lagoon
    • Marilyn Longinotti Geary   A Textured Felt
    • Rick Lyttle   A Dry Spring
    • David Swain   Witness
    • Rebecca Foust   The Last Bison Gone
    • Murray Silverstein   Song of the Field
    • Agnes Wolohan Smuda von Burkleo   Dear Friends in Minnesota
    • Payne Jewett Shafter   An Ode to Coffee
  • Art + Artifact
    • C.R. Snyder   Election Sign on the Grandi Building
    • Igor Sazevich   Point Reyes Morning Spaces
    • Tomales High School, Art One Students   Happy Mistakes
    • Amanda Tomlin   Winter Night
    • Rich Clarke   Martinelli Bull, Highway One
    • Nancy Stein   Wave #44
    • Elise Kroeber   Marsh at Bodega
    • Gale S. McKee   On The Road and Leaving Home
    • John Anderson   SIME
    • Annet Held   Giethoorm and Staphorst
    • Kathleen P. Goodwin   South from Sculptured Beach
    • Anne Vitale   57 Argyle: Vignettes of Home
    • Fariba Bogzaran   Invisible Dialogue
    • Marin Literacy Photography Project   La Vida
    • Kurt Lai   Reflection
    • Ashley Howze   Untitled
    • Angelica Casey   Untitled
    • Evvy Eisen   The Oysterman
    • Louise Maloof   Erika’s Apple
    • Claudia Chapline   Swimmer in the Sun
    • Tomales High School Mural Project   The Bounty of the Bioregion
    • David Geisinger   The Memory—II—Absence
    • Carola DeRooy   Belles Lettres
    • H.D. Mott   Shadowbox
    • Kyle Govan   Untitled
    • Raul Macias  Untitled
    • Margarito Loza  Untitled
    • Molly Marcussen   Untitled