Publicatiedatum: 2 februari 2015
Reporter: Albert Hendriks - Friesland Holland Nieuwsdienst - www.friesnieuws.nl
City of ice skating, tools, dockyards and mills
In the Wood city of IJlst it is all about history
IJlst (NL) – In IJlst it was all about wood far into the 20th century. Wooden ice skates (so-called houtjes), carving and chisels with a wooden grip and wooden toys of Nooitgedagt (1865-1975). And of course the wooden ships. You can find the history in sights and sounds back in Museum Nooitgedagt and in the impressive sawmill ‘De Rat’. The mill has been in use over 300 years (1666 Zaandam, 1828 IJlst) and still cuts large tree trunks into planks.
IJlst, in Frisian ‘Drylts’, is situated a few kilometres beneath Sneek. It received city rights in 1268. It was the fourth Frisian city that received city rights after Stavoren, Hindeloopen and Harlingen. The city was created at the Old Ee or Ye, a river between the former Zuiderzee (nowadays IJsselmeer) and the in the middle-aged drained Middelzee (Middle Sea). The name IJlst is derived from that river.
The settlement was able to develop into a city due to the location at the crossroad of three important waterways. The waterways in Friesland were the most important ways of transport far in the 20th century. Just like all the Frisian Eleven Cities, all located at the waterways, there was also milk, dairy produce and meat traded from the surrounding countryside via boat.
The ship building- and wood industry started growing from the beginning of the 18th century. IJlst was particularly specialized in Koggen, quite large ships. Koggen were mainly used between 1200 and 1450 in the market between the Hanzesteden and the Oostzee (East Sea) and the Noordzee (North Sea) in which the Frisian also played a big role concerning building ships and skippers. The oldest known seal from IJlst dates from 1496. On this seal a Kogge is showed. A lot of cities at the Oostzee (East Sea) also show a Kogge in their weapon.
Ice skating and climate change
In 1865 it is the innovative Jan Jarigs Nooitgedagt from IJlst who starts producing ice skates and carving at the attic of his house. He sends his two sons in 1898 as interns to Germany in order to get information on the art of producing ice skates. Nooitgedagt feels the competition breathing in its neck. Germany was when it comes to producing ice skates with a wooden pedestal a lot further than the Frisians: factory made with the precision of machines.
Around 1930 the demand for ice skates increases drastically. Nooitgedagt (60 until 100 employees) produces the ice skates at full capacity, but is also importing them from Germany and Sweden in order too meet the demand. In the harsh winter before the Second World War weekly 7.000 ice skates were delivered. In 1956 the production of the wooden ice skates runs up to no less than 80.000 pairs a year.
Dark clouds gather above Nooitgedagt when the rapid steal Norwegian skate, the Noor, mainly derived from Eastern Germany and Japan makes its entry. Nooitgedagt recovers itself in 1959 and 1960 after large investments and the development and production of its own ‘Noren’. In 1960, 45.000 pairs of metal ice skates and ‘Noren’ are sold and another 75.000 pairs of wooden ice skates, also known as ‘Houtjes’.
Climate change however slowly asserts itself. The winters of 1964 and 1965 are way too soft. Nooitgedagt is stuck with large stocks. Exactly 100 years after the start of the production of the first wooden ice skates, the production of the different skates in IJlst is ended. In 1975 the last skates leave the storage room. In the same year the production of wooden toys made from residuary wood of the wooden skates is stopped. Nooitgedagt starts focussing on quality woodworking tools, such as chisels and measuring tools, but that is in the meantime also history.
Sneek, Heeg, Woudsend, Bolsward.
|Cityhall IJlst (1859).|