Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Model Social Democrats

Geertje Schotsman (1891-1965) married Pieter de Waal in Edam in 1912. Pieter was a metalworker at the Kromhout shipyard in Amsterdam. She started keeping an account book as soon as they were married, entering “Husband – 1 guilder” every week.

Geertje and Pieter were model social democrats. They bought their groceries at De Dageraad Cooperative, read the socialist daily Het Volk, and led a decent life, although it is not quite clear how Pieter spent his weekly guilder.
“Milk”, apparently, was consumed in great quantities.
“Cake” at Christmas in 1913 and a tram ticket on New Year’s Day in 1914 were the chief extravagancies they allowed themselves.


Pieter died in 1931. Geertje, now a widow with two children, had no income.
She did all she could to make ends meet, taking in lodgers and renting an allotment.
Large quantities of Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc., were probably sold at the local market.
Geertje also kept accounts of the costs of her allotment and her income from the sale of its produce.

Description of the Geertje de Waal-Schotsman Collection

Calculating Tool Value of the Guilder