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November 8, 2013

Folks Chap: Jan van Capel


Jan van Capel shares his beautiful memories of his days at the Volkskrant. Jan worked for the Volkskrant Newspaper for over 40 years.

Who are you and may I be so bold to ask your age?
Jan van Capel, 6 december 1942.

What was / is your position at the Volkskrant?
I started in 1960 as  junior in the financial department and remained in there until 1980 . Then I became one of two chiefs to work on the night shifts. From 1998 to 2002, I was allowed to ” detrain ” in the sports department. I worked here on the Wibautstraat from the opening of the building in 1965 until 2002.

What do you do now in daily life?
As a retired Volks Chap I’m am partaking in all types of volunteer work. I try to teach Dutch to foreigners and on weekends I regularly walk and cycle with groups of blind and visually impaired and I also assist in running events. Hoping  to mentally and physically keep up with time itself.

jan van capel door wim ruigrok

Photo: Wim Ruigrok

What is your most special memory of the Volkskrant building?
My best memory is the festival that was done on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Opland. In the hall on a Saturday in May 1973 The political cartoonist was in full uniform with wife and daughter on a stage with a minister hat on his head. Opland was a great lover of the Carnival. There was a speech by the former VVD leader Van Riel who was portrayed by Opland invariably with a thick cigar and a happy occurrence of Adele . She sang more beautiful songs. “Hallelujah fellow comrades put it on …… ” .

In the hall was still the grand marble staircase to the first floor . The staircase was later sadly removed to gain space. Volkskrantbuilding for us was unique at the time because everything was under one roof. Previously, several departments such as accounting , human resources, subscriber unit and the like where housed elsewhere and the newspaper was printed in the building of the nearby Telegraph .

On the Wibautstraat we were totally self-sufficient, from the paper in the basement to the canteen on the seventh floor. Especially our very own ultra modern, meters-long Press, it was a luxury. Always a great noise at night when the newspaper was ready to start, hearing the presses. It was buzzing sound that could be heard throughout the building. A few minutes later, the porter came up with first fresh copies of the newspaper.

Can you describe how you see the future of Volkshotel?
Volkshotel is an enrichment for the neighbourhood and for the whole of Amsterdam, especially when appealing events are organised regularly and the artists behind the building will continue to provide an artistic atmosphere. It seems important to me that there are attractive prices for both the rooms and the drinks. Sympathetic prices that match the name ‘Volkshotel’.

Photos: Wim Ruigrok

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