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Footsteps in the Horst

Jan van Kraaij (r) en Rien de Haas drijven varkens op voor de slacht. (ca 1965) Foto genomen ter hoogte van de Jongensschool. © Voetstappen in De Horst

Sjaak Janssen, Ruud van Kraaij, Gerard Merkus, Wil van den Dobbelsteen en Gerrit Wolbrink

Voetstappen in de Horst – ‘n Stukje geschiedenis van een Drutense wijk
Uitgever: Studio Pannekoek

ISBN: 9789071059377

De Horst, that was Druten’s working-class neighbourhood when Hooistraat was the place to be.

Through the names of then, the authors came to the descendants of now. And to their stories. ,,It is oral history. Through the people we spoke to, we got hold of as many as two hundred photos”. They started with a paltry handful of pictures.
Of 26 families, they managed to trace their history in De Horst. And a wealth of material and anecdotes. Life stories. They try to go back to the early 19th century.


Bert Peters en Joke Vos op de brommer, Ria Vos en Thera Peters ernaast. © Voetstappen in De Horst


The book “Footsteps in the Horst” contains over 85 pages about a piece of history of that neighbourhood in Druten with some 30 stories about people and families of the past and present. Wonderful stories and anecdotes, told by the former residents themselves and their family members. A map of the Horst neighbourhood from around 1950 has a central place in the book. It shows all the properties in the Horst and the adjoining Waalbandijk, Nieuwstraat, Ambthuisstraat and Hooistraat, then still an important shopping street in Druten. On that map, these streets and also the Merkuspaadje and Pepermuntstraatje are inscribed, referring to a list of the names of the then residents, street names and house numbers. The interviews and stories describe the ups and downs of the residents.

About the difficult living conditions, often “klaore arremoei” , in the Horst itself and about the affairs of residents and businesses. Residents describe their often difficult lives in houses that were actually uninhabitable, but now, half a century later, they sometimes feel nostalgic about that past. Community spirit, helping each other when needed, was especially strong. Almost everyone had as little to spend. Photos, often from family albums, confirm the simplicity of life in the Horst at the time. The book also pays attention to the new Horst. After the demolition of the old neighbourhood, construction company Van de Klok occupied almost the entire site. After the construction company moved to Nijmegen, the same builder transformed the Horst into a modern residential area. The result of that metamorphosis is also given ample attention in this book. With the realisation of this beautiful book, the working group has achieved its objective of recording, fifty years after the departure of the last residents of the old Horst, how life was and is now in that special residential area, situated between the centre of Druten and the Waalbandijk.