Tell us Ada, where does your passion for Christmas cribs come from?
“For starters, I’m a Catholic. So when Jan, my husband, and I got married in 1970 we got ourselves a Christmas crib. It’s a tradition. It didn’t look fancy or anything. Just the usual one that you put under the Christmas tree. As the years passed I started to collect a few more, because I thought they’re fun. But the real collecting started when my three kids discovered traveling. To really strange countries too. They asked me what to bring as a souvenir and I said: “I don’t need a souvenir, but if you want to bring something, bring a Christmas crib.” After that my collection grew and grew. And it’s still growing.”
How many Christmas cribs do you own?
“Well, I own 105 Christmas cribs from all over the world. Brazil, Mexico, Aruba, Libya, Suriname, Sicily, Costa Rica, Kenya, USA, Australia, Canada, Peru, Russia. And so on.”
What makes your collection so special?
“Besides all the different countries, they all look different and are made out of special materials, like wax, cork, tin, walnut, coconut and even lava from the Etna volcano. That’s pretty neat. There’s even one that’s made for traveling. You can fold it and it fits in your pocket. I only brought the little cribs to Volkshotel though. Otherwise it wouldn’t fit in the cabinet.”
We’ve heard collecting is a big deal in your family. What’s the story behind it?
“It’s true. I come from a family with one of the biggest companies in Holland, Spaansen. When my mother died, she told my brothers that she didn’t want anyone living in her house after her death. So no one did. Everything is just the way it was when she died. We’ve made a company museum out of her old house with a big company collection. The old bedrooms of my brothers offer plenty of space for other collections.”
So are there more collectors in the family?
“Yes. My brother Ton collects actual trucks, my brother Arie collects oldtimers and my husband Jan collects do-not-distub signs. As a surprise for Jan’s birthday the other day, our kids made a family photo inside Jan’s do-not-distub sign collection. That was a very sweet surprise! And besides Christmas cribs, I also collect other quirky religious objects and Coca-cola items.”
What item is still missing and would you like to get your hands on?
“I’d love to get a Christmas crib from China. Do you think they’re for sale there? I’d love to own one. Also, when Coca-Cola had that campaign where you could create bottles with your name on it, I created lots with names of my kids and grandchildren. But I do regret that I didn’t create bottles with Mary, Josef and Jesus on it. Silly of me. I would have had a Christmas crib out of Coca-Cola bottles! If they ever run that campaign again, I’d order them right away.”
Take a look
Volkshotel is looking for collectors. Those with an untamable passion for quirky items. To show off their special collections and to tell the special stories behind it. Happen to know one? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.