Bergen (N-H), Koloniehuis “Zeehuis”

Address: Verspeijkweg 5, Bergen aan Zee

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Opened January 3, 1939: closed March 23, 1939

This was a summer home of the Burgerweeshuis in Amsterdam. It was built in 1908 and is still in use as a holiday home.

It could house 90 children, and was part of the “centraal genootschap voor kinderherstellings- en vakantie kolonies.” (Central Society for Child Recovery and Vacation Colonies)

Hajo Meijer recalls:

“When we came to the Netherlands they said we would go to Bergen, and I thought Bergen, Norway. I had learned that in school, an important harbor, Grieg is from Bergen, but I had never heard of Bergen aan Zee. In one of my first letters home I wrote “jetzt sitz ich hier am Asch der Welt” (now I’m at the end of the world). That’s what it felt like.

In Bergen they fed us „Zwiebelgemüse“ (Onion vegetables), I do not know what that was. Fried onions with some meat through it. Tough meat, that had not cooked long enough. I had been taught to eat everything that was served, but many children had big problems with it.

There was a Mrs. Palm, a real German anti-Semitic, who said if we did not do exactly what she wanted us to do: “why did you not stay in Germany?”. The other nurse was really nice. Her name was Peperkorn, her hair was red. One of the first nights I climbed the roof. A few days later a guy arrived on a moped, he taught us in something, it was pretty worthless. I was completely crazy about cars and mopeds, so I asked him if I could ride his moped, and he said yes. So I went down, and then made a tour of Bergen on his moped, or rather: light motor bike. Everyone panicked: Hajo on a moped…

And the climbing on the roof did not make me popular either. I remember that. But they did not throw me out……. (15)..

Group picture of the children at the Zeehuis, probably January 1939, courtesy of Hajo Meijer


Soccer team Bergen aan Zee, courtesy of Hajo Meijer


15. Interview Hajo Meyer, 17 september 2008