Thursday, August 3, 2023

Shopping, Socializing, Seeing in Zaandijk, Netherlands

 Last month, since I was travelling to France and the Benelux countries, I arranged to visit the legendary Joop Muller at his home in Zaandijk outside Amsterdam. 

Joop arranged to have some other ilustrious joker collectors there: Fred de Soet, Ronald Kruijmel, and Jelle Sietsma.

I spent the afternoon and evening with them (including a dinner for all of us at a local restaurant) and for me, it wasn't nearly long enough. Such interesting people and so many collections to look at and so much information to learn.  Overwhelming!

Aren't we serious looking? Well, everyone is except me...

John, Ronald Fred, Joop, Jelle

Actually, while I say that "I stopped by while on a tourism trip", the reality is a little  nuanced. I agreed to make the tourism (which I'm only lukewarm about) trip to Amsterdam with my wife only because I worked in visits of great interest to me like this one. This was the point of the trip for me. I think I goofed slightly by not setting aside more time.  Next time.

Joop's house has a set of fantastic collections in it. The collections are primarily playing cards with related ephemera but there also appeared to be other collections (ie record albums, etc). 

This are litho stones, used for printing in lithography, color or chromo.

Most of the visit was spent looking at the duplicate jokers from Jelle which were incredibly well organized in a set of six massive albums (I use album pages that are 3 x 3, his were larger, maybe 4 x 4, maybe larger).  We also looked at Joop's remaining jokers (he has been selling them off). I bought a LOT from Jelle, some from Joop. I brought a hundred or so jokers for them to buy (Not so organized, just packs in plastic cases) which they looked thru and picked a few of.  Here we are at work...

I went home with a LOT more jokers: around 300! Here they are.

Did I mention that I was a little overwhelmed? These guys have encyclopedic information  about the jokers and the playing card history: it's stunning. Their eye for detail amazing! Sadly, my ability to absorb and retain all that information falls more than a little short. This is why they organize jokers by country, publisher, and year. And I organize mine by the pictures. For instance, Jelle showed me one pair of jokers and was surprised I declined them. "But I have them" said I. "No. The ones on your website are different, you don't have these" he said. And he was right. He knew my collection, or at least that detail of it, better than I did! 

We ate at the local restaurant (thanks again Joop) where they carefully put beers in glasses that have the right name on them. Again, an impressive eye for detail, is that a national trait? Maybe local to Zaandijk?

Did this picture move you to want to see some beer jokers?
Want to know more? Here's a gold mine of info.

Joop has for 19.5 years, posted a joker of the month: jokerhome (
My wife's (Carmens) travel Instagram account.  CarmensTravel
My visit to the French Playing Card Museum a week later.
Dan Nordquist - The first other joker collector that I've met F2F (face to face)

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Thanks for your input and for reading and thinking about jokers.