Faces From Beethoven Street

Published in Dames van Zuid - Gezichten uit de Beethovenstraat

L. J. Veen Publishers

Photography: Elsbeth Struijk van Bergen

Interviews: Jutka Rona

Amsterdam's Beethoven Street is where Elsbeth Struijk van Bergen grew up. In Amsterdam, Beethoven Street is a phenomenon, associated with wealth, privilege, and, so far, with a graying population. It is also associated, however, with its many (Jewish) inhabitants who were deported during the German occupation. Elsbeth grew up with a keen awareness of which delicatessen owner on the street ratted people out, and knowing who "returned" after the war, in some cases as a single member of what was once an entire family living in this upscale neighborhood.

Only later, as an adult, did Elsbeth grasp the full extent of her direct neighborhood's charged history. And with that realization came the understanding that her street would never be the same, as sophisticated, or as chic, once these survivors of WWII are no longer around. At that point, her street would be like any other fancy shopping street with a bland sprinkling of international chains, populated with well-to-do young families.

Faces From Beethoven Street is a collection of striking portraits of the ladies from "South" (the local nickname for the area), who posed for her, as one critic put it "as if doing her a favor." 

Faces From Beethoven Street was awarded with a Project Grant from the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, and a Publication Grant from the Prins Bernhard Foundation.

The entire series has been included in the Municipal Archive of the City of Amsterdam.

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