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September 27, 2014

20 Fascinating Vintage Photographs Capture Everyday Life in the Netherlands From the Early 20th Century

“Netherlands” literally means “lower countries,” influenced by its low land and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) above sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are artificial.

Modern urbanization in the Netherlands took place mainly in the 20th century. In 1900 more than half the population was still living in villages or towns of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants. A century later this proportion had decreased to about one-tenth. There has, nevertheless, been a decrease in the city-proper populations of the large metropolitan centers. These inner cities are now becoming economic and cultural centers, their populations having spread outward in search of newer housing and greater living space in suburbs, new residential quarters of rural settlements, and new towns.

In the 1960s and ’70s the authorities stimulated this development by subsidizing house building in a number of so-called growth nuclei and by moving several groupings of public offices from the western core area of the country to more-rural areas in the north, east, and south. More recently, however, government planning policy has aimed at again concentrating the population in and around the existing cities, especially in the western portion of the country.

Below is a collection of 20 interesting vintage photos that capture everyday life in the Netherlands from between the 1900s and 1920s.



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