Poems along the wall with a literary scholar

Possibly thanks to new initiative.

We have many beautiful poems on the walls in the Archipelbuurt and in Willemspark. I’m sure you’ve noticed them before, but you may never have thought about them for long. Francine Maessen is a literary scientist and especially an appreciator. She likes to take you through the moving, humorous and lively poems. You can hear the stories behind the poems and the poets. And explore together what makes them so beautiful.

Francine offers her guided tour ‘Wall poems in the Archipelbuurt’ via a new website: DeGidsenGids. A new initiative by the Hague historian Barend Blom. It is a place where guides can offer tours that are about their fascination.

This stemmed from a personal annoyance. At companies he toured in Amsterdam, such as the Vrije Academie of Artifex, Barend was often told something like: “How nice that you know everything about Amsterdam school architecture, but could you give a tour of the Jordaan next week?” “Yes, I could if I read in quickly, but please let me tell you about my field, that’s so much more fun for everyone!”

Because unfortunately there was no place to offer your own special stories as a guide, he wanted to make them himself. But in fact, he never had time to fulfill this long-held wish. Until the corona crisis broke out. Like many other tour guides, he lost all his assignments, but did not sit down and started the website.

Now after a year of restrictions, more can be done. And the website is ready! After a difficult year, it’s great to see him getting so many enthusiastic responses from guides and the first customers. The Guidebook already has 20 tour guides and more and more are joining. Not just in The Hague. In Utrecht, architectural historian Go explains why the Rietveld Schröderhuis is so great that she moved next door. Or in Amsterdam where heritage expert Gaby Schrijver takes you through her Jewish neighborhood, the neighborhood where her family has lived for centuries. Or go out with Rens, the chef and biologist who shows what goodies are growing around us during his wild picking walk. On the website www.degidsengids.nl there are many more special tour guides and you can book a tour with Francine along the poems in our own neighbourhood.