Stories from a true Jouster
'Bell collection building was once a homeless shelter'
If you want to know more about 'de vlecke' Joure, you can of course download a circular walk. But what is more fun than going on the road with a real Jouster who during the walk also tells you the most interesting facts?
Are you strolling with Max?
In the summer the Joure Guild and the VVV offer the Jouster Kuierke and every Thursday afternoon in the museum garden real Jousters are ready to tell you about the rich history of Joure. One of the guides is Max Buis (66).
'After high school I first did a bit of everything. But soon I found my niche as a waiter in a pub that stood where the Albert Heijn is now. A beautiful building and the landlord made sure that nice bands performed every weekend. In my younger years, for example, The Outsiders came there with Wally Tax, Armand and Boudewijn de Groot. The floor of the room upstairs would move a bit when there were too many visitors, which was exciting.
When the AH bought this building, I got a job at Party Center 't Haske. More people came there, because there was a big stage and dressing rooms for the artists. Also theater societies liked to come there with their performances. I did the bar in the evenings and sometimes catering on location during the day like at the Balloon Parties.'
'Around 2015, I needed something else. I was able to get a job at the BP near the traffic circle. Even there I had nice contact with the people, because after all that is the common thread in my life. During the day I then did the BP and on weekends I still helped at 't Haske.'
'My father was a window dresser and historical painter. He could tell well about the former Joure and he painted the former houses and streets. He often sold those paintings to emigrants who came back to their birthplace for a trip. He did make more than 2000 drawings and paintings. His work hangs all over the world.
'What my father could do with his drawings, I try to do with words. I have the same interest in the old days and I can tell about them beautifully. I joined the tour group around 2000.
The route leads past old facades, narrow streets and historic buildings. During the tour, we as guides give the opportunity to see the historic courtroom in the "Jouster Toer," where in the long past minor offenses were tried directly. Visitors then have to climb a high staircase and when they are almost at the top, they grab onto a flat stone and hoist themselves upright. As they go down, I tell them that that stone was a urinal for the condemned who could do their business there before they had to appear before the General Court. You see the people startled!
't Sael was homeless shelter
'I always focus my stories as much as possible on the background of my audience. If I know where their interest lies I go into that a little more. Architecture, social history, commerce or industry: I have stories about all of those. Just look at the building of 't Sael (which now belongs to Museum Joure and houses the Frisian clock collection, ed.), which used to be Joure's homeless shelter. My father was very sensitive to injustice and he painted all that for, among others, the descendants of the people who were taken in there.
Guided tours of the museum
'After I retired, I started doing more for the museum. I do tours, even a little in German and English sometimes. If I can't figure it out I have the hand and foot work. Everyone understands. In addition, I can be found behind the counter where the public comes in.'
'There is a difference in groups we do get to lead around the museum. Northerners are mainly interested in the Douwe Egberts utensils they used to have (or still have) in their homes. Other visitors are especially interested in the clocks and the history of crafts. I then tell them that there used to be a transshipment trade here in Joure. Copper ore and old oak wood was imported from Scandinavia and the yellow casters and clockmakers could use it to set up their businesses. There was also a lot of work done at home that was later assembled in the factories, such as sawing dials.'
'Finally, an anecdote. Around 1900, in one of the narrowest streets in Joure, there lived a family with a retarded daughter. That girl sat in a cordoned-off corner of the room. She ranted and raved all day, not to be heard. After several years, one Sunday it was suddenly quiet in that narrow street. The neighbors came asking, "How quiet Lieske is! Did something happen?" "No way," the parents said, "Lieske has gone to the care of the brothers in Limburg. She is very well taken care of there." The neighbors didn't trust it, the forester also came to take a look, but no, no Lieske.
After many years, the parents had died and the cottage was sold. The old streets were cleaned up, everything went up. Even the estriken were removed from the basement floor. And under those tiles...'
Interview and text: Willeke ten Noever Bakker