In the program the disappeared city we go to a different place in Amsterdam every time to see how it has changed over time. This time it is the Mosveld in Amsterdam-North. a square with a shopping center, but once the famous football club De Volewijckers played.
Ajax is now by far the most important football club in Amsterdam, but that was not always the case. Several Amsterdam football clubs once played at the highest level: you had DWS, but also Blauw Wit and De Volewijckers. The professional departments of those clubs will try again later under the name FC Amsterdam.
De Volewijcker played from 1926 to 1964 on the Mosveld. The stadium was located in a working-class neighborhood between the houses. Hassie van Wijk was one of the well-known football players from the time when De Volewijckers played here in the Eredivisie. “I was a pretty nice technical footballer,” says Van Wijk. “I have been a substitution for the Dutch team twice, so you must be able to do something.” Van Wijk came from the Jordaan and was not a local boy. “But I was accepted. That was because they saw that I could play nice football.”
Stone light poles
When you come to Mosveld now, you won’t see anything of the old stadium anymore. Nevertheless, the architect of the new building has certainly taken into account the glorious history of this place. “It was done funny, almost no one knows,” says sports historian Jurryt van de Vooren. “If you look up there, you see those bulges on the buildings with circles and ovals in them, which actually refers to the light poles of the stadium. It is a conscious reference to the glorious football past here.”
“There are few stadiums that were built in such a way in the middle of the neighborhood that you had buildings all around the field,” explains Van de Vooren. “If you were at home, you could experience a match. The area was also a stadium.” Many people were able to enjoy the game for free. In addition, many spectators sneak into the stadium for nothing.
Former player Hassie van Wijk: “I estimate that out of ten people in the stands only paid, everyone knew each other. I also think that De Volewijckers went bankrupt to his own supporters. Do we want to have played that no people could do more in the stands.”
The highlight of De Volewijckers was strangely enough in the 1943-44 season. The district champions played a competition against each other to determine who was the best in the country.
Due to bombing in the vicinity of the stadium, De Volewijckers had moved to Ajax’s for their home matches. The most important match against Heerenveen, with Abe Lenstra in the ranks, had to be canceled due to an air raid siren. This game, and also the later games, were now played in the Ompisch Stadium. This had the advantage that more people could attend. The match against VUC eventually brought the championship. Afterwards, however, there was a problem: because the electricity had failed due to no more trams.
“Among the spectators were hundreds of people in hiding. They risked their lives to see De Volewijckers become”
Van de Vooren: “Everyone had to walk from the Olympic Stadium to the Leidseplein to the ferry and then to the Mosveld. It was a long walk, but a huge party. A spontaneous folk festival, perhaps the last party that the Amsterdammers celebrated in the war. It was remarkable that among the spectators were hundreds of people in hiding. They had risked their lives to see De Volewijckers become champion.”
Years after the war, in the 1960s, De Volewijckers were literally snatched from the neighbourhood, according to Van de Vooren. “Not because they wanted to, but because the municipality was going to make a connection between Amsterdam-Centre and Amsterdam-Noord and Zaandam. That became the IJ tunnel and it just about emerged at the Mosveld.”
It wasn’t nice to have to leave, but they also have to work clean. They were made to destroy everything themselves. Everything was manually razed to the ground.
Van de Vooren: “That is also well illustrated how the Dutch government dealt with sports and recreation during the reconstruction. Reconstruction is actually another word for concrete desert. Concrete was poured everywhere: new houses, new roads. But with greenery and recreation. was not taken into account. That was literally swallowed up by the advancing concrete desert. And then this is the result,” he says, looking around the Mosveld.
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