1927 Zuilen
1927 Zuilen
I fell down the stairs so hard that I had a large gray streak in my (then still) red hair.
1940–1945 Zuilen
WWII. Very poor (and hungry). After the war, I remember the Swedish aid (especially the flour delivered by the Swedish Red Cross).
1948–1950 Indonesië
My time in the Dutch East Indies. By boat , the Southern Crossing from Rotterdam to Java took 27 days. I saw and ate pineapples and bananas for the first time. We were tasked with keeping peace in the kampongs .
1951 Amsterdam
Moved to Amsterdam with my wife.
1953 Amsterdam
Began work as a baker.
1978 Amsterdam
Worked for Time Magazine as a translator in the mailroom (knowledge of Japanese, French, Spanish, Serbo- Croatian and more).
1992 Amsterdam
Retired. My wife and I wanted to travel.
1996 Amsterdam
My wife died from muscular rheumatism and pulmonary embolism.
2000–2014 Amsterdam
Lived in a group home with eight women.
2015 Amsterdam
Very active at the Open Hof care home (many women), I help where it is needed. I also write poems about birds , but also current events such as the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Please note: all conversations will be assigned randomly


Ondergronds is named for those exceptional conversations below the surface.

While travelling through Amsterdam on a daily basis, we pass by hundreds of strangers and rarely get a chance to connect. Ondergronds allows you to have a real conversation with one of those strangers – perhaps the connection will last, perhaps it may inspire other conversations on your daily travels.

About the team:

Julien Thomas developed urban interventions and creative civic engagement strategies in Vancouver, and graduated from the Sandberg Instituut in 2016.

Webdesign: Fabian Hijlkema

Photography: Coco Plooijer

Ondergronds is an initiative of the Knowledge Mile Coalition, a community of knowledge institutions, companies, organisations and residents working together along the Wibautstraat and Wesperstraat from Amstelplein to Nieuwmarkt.


Do you have questions, want to participate, or want to set up an Ondergronds project in your city? Feel free to contact us.

We are

  • Gemeente Amsterdam

  • Knowledge Mile Coalition

  • Amsterdam Boiling

  • GVB

  • Humans of Amsterdam