15 maart 2016

Little Thumb and the Ogre

Pharmacy A.J. van der Pigge at the Gierstraat in Haarlem was opened in 1849. Above the entrance is a so called and traditional ´gaper´, a stone or wooden head indicating that the building is a pharmacy, I have showed you several more on this blog before. And just to remind you: 'Gaper' literally means 'yawner'; the figure is always displayed with an open mouth, and sometimes you can see a pill he has taken resting on his tongue. In fact he wasn't yawning, but opening his mouth to take medicine.


´Little Thumb and the Ogre´
While building the V&D department store in 1930 - 1934
this premises was the only one left to stay from all the
original buildings on this spot.
A well know example of a shop keeper
who refused to give up.

Next to the pharmacy used to be a V&D department store. When V&D came here in the 1930s, a lot of other small shops were forced to go away so the department store could take up the space. Pharmacy Van Der Pigge refused to leave, and in the end was allowed to stay.
This text is on the outside wall of the pharmacy and it got quite a different meaning recently...  Just a month ago V&D (a chain of large department stores in the Netherlands) went bankrupt, and over 10,000 people in 62 Dutch cities lost their jobs. All V&D department stores were closed. Pharmacy A.J. van der Pigge is still open for business...

I'm linking to St Germain's Blog and Seasons.

16 opmerkingen:

  1. That's a nice entrance with the head.


  2. Gaping is actually also an English word which makes more sense here than yawning. :)
    I remember seeing these traditional signs on your blog before. The only thing I find strange is that the figure looks East Indian and is wearing a turban.

    1. The 'exotic' appearance of the figure is symbolic for the origin of the medicine's ingredients, as there was a lot of trading with countries in Asia and Africa.

  3. Quite an entrance- and thanks for the additional explanation about the figure's looks.

  4. Thanks for the explanation, Marleen. I've often wondered.

  5. A great sign for a pharmacy, just boring ones here.

  6. Amazing story of someone who stood up to establishment. Thanks to Van Der Pigge a piece of history is still standing.

  7. Aan grappige nederlandse familienamen komt maar geen einde. Wie denkt er nu aan van der Pigge als naam.

  8. Klinkt een beetje als "Publieke Werken". Nederlanders zijn een koppig volkje als het op slopen aan komt. In dit geval, "wie het laatst lacht, lacht het best".

  9. Ach,de Gaper! Dat kan ik me nog heel goed herinneren van de tijd dat we in Nederland woonden! Weet je dat alles kan, zolang her in her jaargetijde/seizoen is? I would love if you would link up this photo for Seasons.
    It is now 11 in the morning, so there is still plenty of time to add this photo in the post "Seasons - Almost Spring." Hope to see you there:)

    1. Thank you Marleen for linking up to Seasons! Hope you'll come back next week:)

      Now I'm reading the text a little closer - oh what a tragedy, so many people out of work! Hard to believe V&D is not there anymore:(

  10. Bravo for the pharmacy owners for not giving in to the big brute of a department store. I'm so sorry though that a lot of people lost their jobs.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

  11. Well you learn something new everyday (or so they say) and this was quite interesting. I had never heard this before. I enjoyed reading about this tradition.


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