Old things (past) should be considered past

Chapter III

© Gerardo C.C. Oberman


1. Introduction

Let us return to those men, women, and children that we left unloading trunks in the port of Buenos Aires. Their trip had not been at all easy. A ship had been their world during five or six long weeks that became an eternity. The voyage marked by fire the lives of these peoples and tested almost to the limit their faith and their tempers. But, they would have to suffer still more upon setting foot on terra firma in Argentina. It would seem as if God might have abandoned them to their own destiny. And there is no doubt that many experienced it that way, repudiating their faith and religion. The hard blows of life play with a human being, casting doubt on his certainty in a divine providence. The Reformed postulates ("without the will of my heavenly Father not one hair of my head will fall, and everything that happens to me will serve for my salvation"172) lose for many their force in the face of the crudeness of such an adverse reality. Many cannot accept that the God in whom they believe should permit such unjust things to happen to them, in spite of their obedience to the biblical commandments and precepts.

Others, nevertheless, were able to see in the midst of tragedy the hand of God, guiding, consoling, strengthening. Their faith was maintained firmly and, soon after arriving in the country, it would blossom in firm attempts at church organization.

There are more than enough testimonies from that period that corroborate the difficult situations through which most of the emigrants to Argentina had to pass. To give the reader an idea we will analyze in this chapter some of the statements to which we have had access. They will help us to outline the first steps of the immigrants, from their departure from Holland until their more or less definite establishment in this country toward the end of the century, during the years in which, under the presidency of Roca, the country and mainly her economy, begin to get back to normal.

As we already mentioned in the previous chapter, the Argentine government had organized a great propagandistic campaign in the old world with the objective of attracting, mainly, the interest of farmers. In November of 1886 offices for promotion and propaganda are opened in Antwerp and Brussels173. The man in charge of the office in Brussels was Santiago Alcorta, appointed by president Juárez Celman174. Later offices of this type were also opened in Rotterdam and other important cities of Northern Europe. The law of subsidized passages of November 3, 1887175 contributed in large part to overcoming the last doubts of some Dutchmen who were planning to cross the ocean with the idea of being able to begin a new life on the other side. The opening of these new propaganda offices as well as the law of subsidized passages had as their objective to promote the immigration of North Europeans, to compensate for the massive Italian immigration, whose presence in the country is considered "inconvenient"176.

2. Commercial contacts

In Argentina there had already been installed since the early '80s a group of Dutchmen associated mainly with engineering and architecture. Still remembered today are, among others, the names of persons like the architect J. A. Waldorp, the architect E. Folkers, the engineer H.J. Dubourcq, the engineer M.C. van Hattem177. These and other persons collaborated in Argentine international expansion in many fields. The construction of important ports, the dredging of the entry channel to the Río de la Plata, the construction of well-known buildings like the Pabellón Argentino de la Sociedad Rural178, to cite only a few examples. It is not surprising then that these men, given their capability and the importance of their work in the eyes of the Argentine government, should be well remunerated. We can group these Dutchmen under the traditional rubric of "the wealthy of Belgrano". Though some lived in Rosario, 700 km from Buenos Aires, the description serves to give us an idea of the social position deservedly enjoyed by these great men of the Low Countries.

Holland had already installed its first consulate in Buenos Aires in 1875179 and since that time had some commercial contacts with Argentina. But, these relations were not of great importance. Van Lonkhuijzen, in 1908, still says that the Dutch "let them eat the cheese off their bread". Many products from Holland arrive in Argentina under German or English labels180. The attorney S. Estanislao Zeballos still writes in a letter to the Dutch Consul in Buenos Aires, L. Van Riet181, dated in 1899: "Dutch capitalists who work by way of England and pay commissions there, would do well in establishing direct agencies of their own. I would have much pleasure in helping them and you would do a good deed by exerting an influence so that that capital might come"182.

The interest of the Dutch merchants was quite strong but it wasn't so easy to open in Argentina a branch of their businesses in Holland. It is actually astonishing to see the number of letters received by General Consul Van Riet requesting advice and counsel on the possibilities offered by Argentina for this or that business. The merchants in tobacco and alcoholic beverages are found among the first interested in setting up branches in the New World. But also from other branches of trade, like the sugar refineries, the diamond industry, the cheese manufacturers, and even the exporters of herring!183, interest is demonstrated in the possibilities that Argentina seemed to offer.

The big Argentine ranchers, for their part, were very interested in Dutch cattle. With the new possibilities that modern maritime transportation offered, importing (and exporting) livestock promised to be a great business. Contacts are made with a prestigious cattlemen's organization in Friesland. In the rural exposition of 1886 the only two examples of the Dutch breed present at the exposition, a bull and a cow, both obtain first prizes in their respective categories184. This contact is the antecedent of the so-well-known breed "Holland-Argentina". In 1887 the cattleman Vicente L. Casares, owner of the San Martín ranch (Cañuelas), introduces the Dutch breed into his establishment for the specialized production of milk and meat185.

A few Dutch entrepreneurs finally set up businesses in Argentina, in all areas from musical article houses to breweries186. The Dutch Bank of South America, created toward end of the past century, watched over the economic interests of the Dutch entrepreneurs established in the country.

3. The great migration

But the men, women, and children who between 1888-90 tread Argentine soil, correspond almost completely to a different category. They are part of the group of the Dutch marginalized by the economic policies put into effect in their country by the liberals. They do not have capital, they have not come to set up businesses, they have not studied. They have not come tempted by ambition but impelled by their survival instinct. Their only tools are their hands and with them they must earn bread to maintain their families and to begin to build a future for themselves.

Even though we know of Dutch immigrants who came to Argentina in the mid '50s, these are nothing more than isolated cases187. The great migration does not occur until the decade of the '80s. And, though this migrant wave cannot be compared to that of mid-century, the one that gave rise to so many settlements in the United States of North America, we know that Holland "lost" in the period from 1888 to 1892, 25,196 of her children, of which 5,555 came from the province of Friesland188. A group of these migrants demonstrated their interest by emigrating to Argentina. Early in 1888 we find in the records of the Dutch Consulate in Buenos Aires the first letter requesting information about the conditions in the country. And, as of that date, the letters multiply. In the end, about 4,500 Dutchmen entered Argentina between 1888-1892189, a figure that without a doubt might have been greater had the Argentine government fulfilled the promises made at the opportune time, through their agents in Europe, to the emigrants. Furthermore, as we will see immediately, the Dutch steamship trips to South America must have been discontinued at the height of the migration, something that prevented many, perhaps fortunately, from coming to our country190.

From the materials that we have had at our disposal we can deduce that most of the Dutch immigrants in Argentina came from the areas most severely affected by the crisis in the farming sector, for example, the province of Friesland, a topic to which we have devoted our attention in Chapter I of this work. There were also some from other places in Holland, of course, but this group from Friesland is the most important in number and influence. For an overall idea of the places of provenance of the Dutch immigrants to Argentina see the addenda.

From their place of origin the emigrants were transported mostly by train to the place of departure: Rotterdam or Amsterdam, generally. Some, however, had to make the trip to port in wagons191. There they boarded between 1887 and 1890 mostly at the expense of the Argentine government: subsidized passages- ships of the Nederlandsch-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij (agent L. Wuben), later the Holland-Amerika Lijn. On October 24, 1888, a contract was signed between representatives of the company and the General Immigration Commissioner on special assignment, in representation of the Argentine government192. This agreement envisaged the "transportation of 10,000 passengers at the cost of 84 guilders per person (one way) and in third-class"193.

"We have taken, in the last six months, three of our steamships, the Schiedam, the Zaandam and the Edam, from our line to New York and have relocated them to our services between Rotterdam and Amsterdam and Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Rosario", reports the general agent of this company in an article given to the New York Times in February 1889194. This is a clear sign of the importance that at the outset was given to the migration to Argentina. After some years, in 1891, this company had to discontinue its trips to Argentina, as a consequence as well, the transportation of large numbers of immigrants ceased almost completely, because of the serious political crisis with financial results that the Argentine Republic was going through195. The company possessed several steamships that made the crossing Amsterdam/Rotterdam-Río de Janeiro/Montevideo/Buenos Aires. They were the P. Caland, the Schiedam, the Zaandam, the Leerdam, and the Edam II (listed in the order of their year of construction). Each of these steamships could carry about 400 passengers196, of which the majority were almost always Dutch.   The dates of the 21 trips made to Argentina by this steamship line between December of 1888 and December of 1890, as well as some of the passenger lists can be consulted in the archives of the Holland-Amerika Lijn in the Gemeentearchief in  Rotterdam197. The comforts on the ship were almost nil. Suffice it to say that for each 100 men there was only one bathroom. The women, a little better off, had one bathroom for every 50. The passengers had to adjust to the rules of the company which even stipulated that third-class passengers were to collaborate in the cleaning of the large salons in which they slept and ate198.

Argentina intended that the immigrants should be farmers with families, but the reality shows that many persons who emigrated to Argentina, with the complicity of the company, didn't even know what a spade was and were only seeking an easy fortune or adventure199. And that would have ominous consequences for them and for the success of the entire migrant wave. Alsina, especially critical upon analyzing the topic of the subsidized passages, considers that this policy only brought about an "artificial immigration", whose manifest results were proportionally opposed to those originally intended200. "There was difficulty in placing many immigrants who have come with subsidized passage arranged in Europe, because they were not farmers by profession, though they might have declared that they were in order to obtain passage; former servants, retired soldiers, coachmen, store clerks, hotel porters, butchers and other similar urban occupations; people who accept the passage lightly and who have only themselves to blame if their situation has not turned out to be prosperous, if they have not been able to continue their life style and they are obliged at present to return to their country", writes Alsina in the 1890 issue of the Memorias del Departamento General de Inmigración, of which he had been the Director since 1889. "The proportion (of the immigrants) who are useful is not high and that of those who are deleterious is high.... Two thirds of the subsidized immigration have not been good," he adds later in his report20l.

As we said, the passengers were mostly Dutch, though many Germans and Spaniards also emigrated in these ships to South America202. Nor was there a lack of Belgians, Poles or French and even Syrians, who contributed to making of the group a real encounter of cultures203. Of course for the coarse Dutch farmers this company may not always have been entirely agreeable. It was very difficult for all of them to be able to live together harmoniously during the long voyage.

One thing is interesting to point out about the Dutch who migrated to Argentina. For the most part they were children of less than 15, of whom the majority, in turn, were less than 10 years old. Of the adults the greater percentage consisted of persons between 23 and 30 years of age, followed by the group whose age varied between 40 to 45 years. Above that age very few Dutchmen came to this country. There is no instance recorded of any immigrant who surpassed 65 years204. The General Immigration Department customarily granted, nevertheless, special permits to immigrants who were already established and with stable work who wanted to bring to the country their progenitors.

4. The voyage

The voyage in ship from Holland to the port of Buenos Aires lasted about 6 weeks. Let's look at an example. The steamship Zaandam departed the port of Rotterdam around the end of March of 1890. On April 5 it stops at the port of Dover. From there it steams on, touching port in Corunna (La Coruña) on April 9, Vigo on April 11, Lisbon on April 12, and Las Palmas on April 16. During three weeks it now crosses the Atlantic ocean seeking the port of Montevideo, where it arrives on May 7. In Buenos Aires, finally, it arrives three days later, on May 10205. D. Zijlstra in his memoirs also agrees in indicating that the trip lasted 42 long days206. It was an exhausting trip that put to the test the moral and physical strength of the immigrants. For Van Lonkhuijzen, who travels twenty years later and in first class, it is easy to say that "a trip by sea is healthful for the body as well as the soul. It molds the nerves. Stand on the forecastle and see how it advances cutting the waves. Stand there when the fresh breeze splashes you up to your ears with the salty water, and something of the force and the power with which the ship furrows the waters will come through to you"207.

Would the men and women who before him had to undertake this trip, impelled by hunger and poverty, share his experience? They did not have a retourtje (round trip passage), they did not have the assurance of being able to return if something turned out badly, they did not have compatriots waiting for them in the port, people who moreover had already formed a community and who would be concerned about them. They were not counting on the assurance of a job on the other side of the ocean. The only thing they had was hope, hope that at least a portion of what they had promised would come true.

Let's listen to some testimonies of these immigrants of 1888-90: "After complying with all the formalities we departed by ship from Rotterdam. The voyage lasted 7 weeks. Those were for my grandmother 7 weeks too many: during the whole trip the poor thing suffered from seasickness. But, that was still not the worst. One of the children became gravely ill and died...; the "tiny corpse" was put in a bag and was going to be thrown overboard. But when they took the bundle to throw it into the sea, someone thought he saw signs of life... And, certainly, he was still alive, and went on to live many more years. But, the story almost does not count"208.

Others, however, did not survive the trip. "The monotony of the trip was strongly jolted by something unexpected, which made on us, people who still had not seen much, a deep impression. It is something that I will not forget easily. It was a lovely day in the middle of the Ocean. Water all around, nothing of land in sight. A pair of Germans were amusing themselves nicely on deck, they were joking with each other and laughing out loud while leaning against the railing of the ship. The metallic structure at that spot must have been somewhat weakened and in the middle of one of those guffaws it broke allowing the two Germans to fall into the water. Immediately the shout was given: "man overboard," and people began to make the preparations for the rescue. But, the ship was going too fast and the rescue seemed impossible. And we saw those two men, in the fullness of their lives, go under without being able to do anything to help them"209. It is strange that the very author of the previous paragraph does not report the death of his own daughter, Baukje, of only 5 months, a fact recorded in the Burgerlijke Stand (Civil Record) of Molkwerum210. Van Zeijl in his work counts fourteen deaths aboard the ships of NASM, though without specifying the period in which these deaths occurred211.

Some were not affected by the loss of loved ones beings but indeed of cherished "things." W. Dijkstra of Noordhorn, Groningen, writes in a letter to the Dutch consul in Buenos Aires, L. van Riet, then temporarily in Holland, that all the possessions of the family of Kornelis Pouwels were returned to Holland (Utrecht). He also comments that the family must be suffering without clothes and without the bare necessities. The writer asks the consul if he cannot do something, if only to send a cable to Argentina notifying the Pouwels family of the incident. The cold and bureaucratic response of Van Riet is: "In no case can I be of any use to you here," and he refers Mr. Dijkstra to his Argentine colleague in Amsterdam or Rotterdam212.

D. Zijlstra also relates to us in detail the trip that his family made to Argentina aboard the Leerdam, which departed the port of Amsterdam on May 8, 1889213, and ironically describes what was to be their "home" during a month and a half. All those who were traveling in third class, that is to say, most of the immigrants, had to share the same space. "The beds occupied by the families were separated from those of their neighbors by...the darkness of the night. Bachelors enjoyed the same benefits"214. One can conclude clearly from these testimonies that the voyage was not a pleasant cruise. The bad food215, the precarious sanitary conditions, the lack of privacy, the typical upsets at sea and the boredom made the voyage practically intolerable.

Of course, sometimes something happened that gave a little more emotion to the trip. Like that time that the Leerdam, around the end of 1889, was forced to disembark all the "non able bodied" passengers on an island in the middle of the Caribbean (San Vicente Island) in order to be able to combat, with the "able-bodied", the fire that had been discovered in the boilers of the ship. When the moment arrived to continue the trip it was difficult to break the ties that, in so little time, and yet in spite of the language and cultural barriers, had been established between the natives and the unexpected visitors216. On its subsequent trip, this same Dutch ship, which on December 15 had left the port of Amsterdam, after a collision with the English steamship Gaw Quansia, sank forever to the depths of the ocean, together with the traces and souvenirs of so many persons that dreamt in their cabins of a better life. Fortunately there were no losses of life.

During the long trip the passengers did what they could to pass the time as pleasantly as possible. Games, chats, walks on deck helped to fill the idleness. Except when there was a storm. Then, in the words of Diego Zijlstra, "the old steamship danced like a young man who has been discharged from the navy". In those circumstances the only distraction was to sit down to hear the noise of the pieces of junk that rolled from one end to the other of the hold. In moments like those it was obvious that the sanitary comforts on the ship were insufficient217. The food aboard was not too abundant, but the potatoes, peas and beans brought from Holland helped to fill the vacuum in the stomach.

Those 5 or 6 weeks aboard were a real test for the emigrants. Upon arrival in Argentina the physical and mental fatigue must have somehow played a negative role too, in addition to other factors like the language problem218.

5. Arrival. The odyssey continues

The passengers were off-loaded from the ship and carried to shore in the old way: first in boats and then in large wooden wagons drawn by horses219. Immediately afterwards they were taken by streetcar220 to one of the hotels for immigrants221. For some a good place222, for others the anteroom to the hell they were entering. The hotels for immigrants were offered by the government to the newly arrived "legal" immigrants from all corners of the earth so that they could stay there for a time223 until work was found for them. Obviously those who did not have family in the country nor resources with which to cover the expenses of staying in a private hotel or a boarding house made use of this benefit provided by the Argentine government. Precisely for that reason, in years of the greatest inflow of migrants--1887 to 1890, the crowding in these lodgings was tremendous224. But little could the newcomer complain.

"Immediately after disembarkation we were moved by streetcar to a large building destined by the government to harbor the recently arrived immigrants: it is called Immigrants Hotel. Any immigrant can stay there until he finds a definitive position. The Immigrants Hotel in Buenos Aires is a huge round two story building. It has large sleeping rooms and an immense dining room. In the sleeping rooms there are wooden beds and on all the walls hang posters on which, in various languages, are described the rules by which the immigrants must abide within the building. The building as a rule did not make a good impression; to the contrary, it was dirty and plagued by insects. That's what the food was like too. In different groups the immigrants could enter the dining room to consume their daily ration"225.

Another family, which after several days of suffering in Buenos Aires decided to undertake the trip to Rosario to try their luck there, tells us: "Having arrived here there awaited us the same misfortune as in Buenos Aires: no one to receive us, no one to show us the way: thus we ended up with our sick and almost moribund children, in ultimate poverty, in the Immigrants Hotel. This hotel is nothing more than a stable in which we encountered many Spanish who had already occupied all the available space, so that at this point we had to sleep not on wood but on stone"226. "Here everyone is left to his own fortune", says a third party from Goes227.

The bad hygienic and health conditions as well as the bad food aboard the ships in which the immigrants were transported to this country were frequently the cause of diseases. Those sick had to be attended in some of the hotels for immigrants until their recovery. In the year of the greatest influx of immigrants, 1889, the hotels looked more like hospitals. One of each twenty-eight immigrants entered the country affected by some disease: measles or gastrointestinal problems. Of 4,007 Dutch who entered Argentina in 1889, 193 were sick (one in 20). The majority were suffering from some gastrointestinal malady228.

To obtain work was for some immigrants a great problem. For others it was a question of a few days. The ignorance of the language played here a most important role. Those who handled English or French were perhaps a little luckier. But, who can expect a farmer from Friesland to speak French? Though the newcomers were "helped" by persons that the government had appointed to act as intermediaries between the immigrants and potential work contractors, there was no lack of complications, "altercations," and misunderstandings. One of those who was "lucky" was papa Zijlstra, who was almost immediately contracted together with other families for a projected agricultural development in the "La Hibernia" ranch, property of Dr. Enrique Butti, south of Tres Arroyos, which was at that time the terminal point of the railway to the south229. A Fleming with the surname Morrens offered to serve as their intermediary. That same person contracted, furthermore, other Dutch families to work on that ranch of some 5,000 to 6,000 hectares230. Many more, less fortunate, were dreadfully cheated231 or had to make do on their own account.

5.1 In the countryside

Generally the agents that the government designated to find work for the immigrants put the people in touch with large landowners who contracted them as simple field hands. The contract had the following clauses: "in the fields we had to plough the soil, then sow it with corn and fodder. The oxen and ploughs were property of the rancher. Half of the crop would be for us: from that half we had to discount at the end of the year the payment, our food, and everything we might have needed during the year"232. Others were not even aware of the clauses of the contract which, of course, was even written in the smallest letters in Spanish, a language which none of the immigrants except the Spanish knew. Maybe there wasn't even a contract. What is certain is that the promised lands continued being only a dream. The disorganization was total and that's how what could have been a successful immigration turned into a tragedy. By train and then by wagon they were transported to their destinations. Sometimes it was even necessary to sleep "under the open sky" on some of the long trips to the "ranches" of the big landowners233.

Once there they generally had to build their own living quarters or be accommodated in flimsy mud huts. Food was not lacking but it consisted almost exclusively of meat, salt, sugar cane and corn. The lack of milk and vegetables plus the inclemencies of the weather caused many, mainly children, to die234. "Because of disease, hunger and poverty a third of the colonists died, according to an optimistic calculation", recalls one of the immigrants upon drafting the preamble of the new Minutes book of the Gereformeerde Kerk of Buenos Aires235. Van Lonkhuijzen mentions the death of 110 persons in one of his letters to the Representatives236.

echtpaar Verbeek-SchoutenThe testimonies agree in most cases in indicating that the Dutch, like most of the immigrants237, were treated like slaves. "In freight trains we were transported for hundreds of hours into the interior of the country, most of the time without knowing even where. There we found sterile lands that were to be exploited. We were dragged, some to the left, others to the right. Some to the north, others to the south, the third group to the west... The colonists were considered and treated like slaves"238. "Upon their arrival in Argentina in 1890, they were sent by the migrant authorities to places with which they had absolutely no affinity. The cultural or climatic problems were not taken into account. In this way my grandparents Hendrik Verbeek and Gijsje Schouten were forced with their children to leave for the northern province of Chaco..."239. H. Verbeek worked there "in the forest"240.

Bijgaande foto is afkomstig uit het tijdschrift Todo Es Historia, No. 414, 2002, pagina 11 en toont het echtpaar Verbeek-Schouten in ongeveer 1910.

Only one example of what was happening at that time, because we could go on citing testimonies. The work in the fields, in places sometimes inhospitable, was extremely difficult. The immigrants were sent to places as remote as the already mentioned province of Chaco. Others went to Mendoza, to Córdoba, to Santa Fe, to Entre Ríos241. Only some of those who were sent to the most productive areas of the province of Santa Fe or of the Buenos Aires pampas242 decided to remain in the country and, with time, prosper. Even today there is in Tres Arroyos and surroundings (San Cayetano, Claromecó) a large Dutch colony243. Kaerger mentions in his book the following datum: "some 120 Dutch families entered the country with free passage. Each one of them was granted a small farm of 50 hectares at the price of 100$ per hectare"244, a more or less reasonable price for a hectare of land in a productive area like that one245.

The majority, however, did not have the necessary luck nor money so as to be able to purchase a piece of land. After trying for a time to run the plough, if they had one, through the hard soil, fighting against the inclemencies of the weather that made their crops fail, begging for food from their bosses, weeping again and again out of impotence and desperation, they decided to return to the large cities to seek other work there. And it was not, in most of the cases, a lack of will or desire to work that caused the continuous stumbling of these people, as the already cited Mr. Van Waalwijk246 and a youth who sends a letter to a Dutch newspaper hastily and unjustifiably conclude247.

From a comfortable situation everything seems easy and everything can be criticized. By what right can these men judge their compatriots who helplessly saw their children die, who still had to suffer the whip of the foreman on their backs, which already ached because of the arduous work? By what right do they point their accusing fingers? Many of these families were able to survive thanks only to the delivery of their women and daughters into the hands of the foremen248. Was this not already sufficient punishment for their innocent illusions of a better life? No, the life of most of the Dutch who came to Argentina was not easy. There are more than enough testimonies like those cited above to prove it.

Anyone who is interested will find in the already cited work by Diego Zijlstra the best illustration of rural life toward the end of the past century and beginning of the present. We recommend its reading.

5.2 In the cities

Those who decided to remain in, or return to, the cities did not have any better luck, since there the situation was not too different from that of the colonists in the rural areas.

It is certain that here there is work; the pay certainly seems high; but, it is no more than appearance. It is not possible to buy here for a "national" what in Holland is purchased for a guilder. One of those nationals has the nominal value of a dollar, but in reality that piece of paper is not worth more than 1.80 guilders, and in the winter it falls as low as 1.30 guilders. The lower the value of the currency the greater the value of articles of first necessity. The cost of rents makes it impossible for us to even think about renting. We live here in shacks that a Dutch farmer would not use even to house his pigs. And for those shacks we must pay 9 nationals per month, in advance. And if one wanted to live more or less decently he must pay up to 30 nationals per month. Luckily we are already all settled, but some are still too weak to go out to work249.... I still I do not see the way to live comfortably with my family. The few married Dutchmen that are here live four families to a house, paying 12 guilders per month (that is to say, 20 nationals, G.Or.). These are living quarters without bedrooms, furniture, upstairs or cellar, but a simple square with a dirt or stone floor250.

If we consider that a normal worker earned in those days between 12 and 20 nationals a week, after a long thirteen hours of work and still having to work on Sundays, it is obvious that the dream of a life with dignity was still far from being a reality251.

In 1907 the economic situation of many of these poor families has not improved. See above the chart prepared by Van Lonkhuijzen and presented on page 154 of his already mentioned work.

Even though there was work on the extension of railroad lines or in the construction of the Military Port, it is not certain that all could have access to it. As we saw in the previous chapter, the great recession, the devaluation of paper currency, which in 1890 had fallen to a little more than half of what it was worth in gold in 1886252, and the increase in the cost of the family food basket did not help to improve the situation in the most humble sectors. In the winter, furthermore, there were always multitudes of unemployed seeking a "job". In Argentina there were no laws, as in Holland, for social protection like those however precarious of the armenzorg, mentioned in Chapter I. The poor had to make do as best they could. Many remained without work because they refused to work on Sundays, but soon need and hunger overcame ideals.

With the arrival of the people that were returning from the rural areas, important concentrations of Dutchmen that we could call colonies were produced in the large cities, mainly in Buenos Aires and Rosario253. In Buenos Aires some of them worked on work projects that were designed by Dutch engineers and architects. The latter had a reasonably good economic situation. The great majority, however. were concentrated in the "low" areas of Barracas, Barracas al sur (Avellaneda), and the Boca, working in the factories and industries that were in that area254. In Rosario many worked on the construction of the port along the shores of the Paraná, in the employ of the Ackermans and Van Haaren Company. But they lived isolated on an island and, according to Van Lonkhuijzen, even wore clogs. Just as in Buenos Aires, these workers were well paid and the working conditions were good. The rest of the Dutch lived scattered throughout "all corners of the city"255. We do not know what they did for a living. Though it is almost logical to think that they would be simple laborers.

To give an example of the property ownership situation of the Dutch residing in Argentina let us say only that of the 2880 Dutchmen counted by the Second Census of the Argentine Republic, carried out on May 10, 1895, scarcely 121 are owners of real estate256. In the province of Santa Fe, where there were 405 Dutchmen, only 7 were owners of some piece of property257.

There were some few fortunate ones who did indeed become wealthy, who in a short time were able to return to their country of origin258. The majority, however, had to face the difficult circumstances and accept the conditions in which it was their lot to live.

We do not know if out of need or trade, but it is said that there were 10 prostitutes of Dutch origin in Buenos Aires at the end of the past century259. Maybe this is an ugly and bothersome sign of the degree of need in which certain Dutch were living at that time, a need that forced them even to sell their own bodies260.

It is no less certain that some Dutchmen, because of their abuse of alcoholic beverages, because of their chaotic life style and other similar vices, may have merited the disparagement even of their own compatriots. This is also a familiar road. But we must be very careful not to place this group in the same bag with those who trod Argentine soil in search of a better life receiving as the only reward for their faith a future uncertain as that from which they had tried to escape. The latter group had every right to register a claim before the Consulate for an improvement in their situation.

5.3 Complaints before the Consulate

As many people from the countryside as from the cities went personally to or wrote to the Consulate about their complaints261. G. te Voortwis mentions a demonstration of boeren (farmers), "in total some 320 persons," who had come on foot from the colonies "La Fortuna", "Micaela Cascallares," and "Las Golondrinas," to complain before the Dutch Embassy because of the bad treatment received. The Dutch authorities again arranged lodging for them in the Immigrants Hotel and the Argentine government would take the responsibility of assuring them a decent job262. They did not accept being treated like cattle. Some had heard that from Holland money had arrived to repatriate the immigrants and therefore they asked to be returned. But, "if we go to see the Consul that won't help us either, because he is Catholic"263. This is nothing more than an ideological (pre)judice. But it does not fail to hide certain truths.

The Dutch Consulate in Buenos Aires was not able to deal with the result of the immigration of 1888-90, which was disastrous in many aspects. His meditations before the Argentine government were limited to letters to the Commissioner for the immigrants and nothing more. But, when it was a question of commercial matters, then he was indeed capable of beating down the door of a highest level official. At one point the rumor made the rounds to the effect that in Patagonia gold had been found. The interest of Holland is so great that Van Riet is obliged on more than one occasion to write a long report to the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. The people who were suffering, the complaints from the Dutch residing in Argentina in newspapers in Holland, nothing of that sort was of special value. But the gold. That was indeed important. Like the Spanish conquerors, 400 years before, Dutch speculators were also running after the gold of the Indies.

The care of the Dutch in situations of extreme need, mainly widows and children, remained in the hands of an association created by the wealthy Dutch. They gave food and temporary housing to the people of Buenos Aires. The Association carried the name of Wilhelmina264. It was the "rich of Belgrano" who were helping their poor brothers and sisters of Barracas al Sur or of the Boca. For one who knows Buenos Aires, the difference between these two neighborhoods is quite obvious. According to Hendricks265, the organization of this Welfare Association, on November 25, 1889, is a direct consequence of the disorganized immigration. As an example of the work carried forward by this institution we can cite the repatriation to Holland in the course of 1890 of 30 persons266. Also Van Lonkhuijzen speaks of a "Vereniging van Weldadigheid ten steun aan behoefte Nederlanders in Buenos-Aires"267.

The Consulate, for its part, sent some families, widows and families with small children, back to Holland with Dutch money. Others paid for their passage by signing on as sailors aboard any steamship that would return to Holland268.

We cannot help concluding this point with a word of criticism of the Dutch government, represented in Argentina by the General Consulate in Buenos Aires and other subsidiaries in important cities of the interior. The support offered by them to their less fortunate subjects was not at all adequate. Without a doubt from the governmental spheres it should have been possible to exert greater pressure to improve the conditions, sometimes lamentable, in which the newly arrived Dutch were forced to subsist. Their efforts to get the Argentine government to comply with the promises made to the immigrants should have been much more energetic and decisive. But, this is an offhand judgment and it may be that we are mistaken.

Those Dutchmen who did not become wealthy, those who did not have the courage, or could not hire themselves out as laborers on any ship that would take them back to the longed-for "patria" (vaderland), had to face the reality of a paradise that never was.

6. The paradise that never was

"The deception of which they now are prey is a consequence of rose colored presuppositions and, in part also, of wrong information concerning the situation in the country", opines Mr. Van Waalwijk269. Also consul Van Riet says that "a large part of the Dutch immigrants who arrived in the latter time made the voyage with exaggerated hopes concerning the situation in Argentina"270. We have already seen above what Alsina thought. Maybe they all were right. Maybe the poor men and women who tried to survive in Friesland in the north or in Zeeland in the south or in the large cities of central Holland, imagined a paradise, if we consider the desire to live with dignity a paradise. No, a utopia had been painted for them. The utopia of the Argentine government which also dreamed of greatness, of prosperity. If these dreams had only been found on the road of history...! But, the selfishness of those who wished for well-being only for themselves, the ambition of certain politicians, spoiled what in theory was a magnificent plan.

The same young man who criticized so severely his compatriots says: "I have hardly been here 8 weeks and I cannot voice a definitive judgement about the wisdom or lack of wisdom in emigrating to Argentina; nevertheless, based on what I have heard and, above all, what my own eyes have seen, I can conclude with sincerity that this republic is the land of the future for any good craftsman, office employee, etc. I advise those who do not possess the necessary energy and will to work: it is always preferable to go hungry in one's own country than abroad. Here there is an awful lot of work, mainly for rural workers, such that sometimes crops are not harvested for lack of manpower"271.

Van Riet continues to feel the same, in spite of all the complaints that he reads or hears every day from the Dutch who are having a bad time of it. He says that there is work for the landbouwers (farmers) who with some 200 guilders arrive in Argentina and that in Holland they should form "associations of small farmers whose goal should be the group purchase of land in Argentina so as to then, with the necessary knowledge, exploit it". "He believes that many millions of persons could still earn their bread there", says an article that appeared early in 1889 in De Standaard272. For him, the problem is in the number of people that arrive in the country with huge families and with no resources. But, where could these families go then? In Holland they were victims of poverty and they hoped in Argentina to be able to improve their situation. However the same fate awaited them there as in their country of origin. It is certain, the poor are a heavy and bothersome burden in any part of the world. The conclusions and recommendations of Van Riet are too simple. The problems were structural and 200 guilders were not going to solve them.

The good Van Lonkhuijzen still has the same blind optimism in 1908 when he says that Argentina is a country where there is "bread and work", and where "one can get ahead"273.

What is certain, unfortunately, is that very few of these immigrants of the wave of 1888-90 progressed in any sense in Argentina, because as a matter of fact there had been few who with some luck and much effort progressed. Discounting those who were sent back to Holland by the Consulate or by one of the welfare institutions, and those who one way or another did so on their own account, about 3,000 Dutch remained in the country. They had work and a roof under which to sleep, which did not imply that their distress and their sufferings might have ceased. The promises that had brought them to these lands were by then a thing of the past. It took only a few days to make their dreams perish.

Their decision to emigrate had been transformed slowly into an insane adventure, an adventure that they had to face, because having set foot on the steamship that would carry them to Argentina, there was no turning back. Some longed all their lives to return to the land of their birth. "I still remember that my three brothers sometimes sang a song in Dutch and nostalgia filled their faces", "and my grandmother Alberta always wore her Dutch cowl. It was also buried with her. It was the link that joined her to her beloved country", recalls Ana Verbeek de Barbato, granddaughter of one of the immigrants of 1889274. Others, perhaps the majority, gradually became integrated into Argentine society. The colony only subsisted as such where school or church played an important role. But this is already a topic for the next chapter.

In Argentina, just as in their homeland, the Dutch only continued to survive, fighting for their daily sustenance. But, is that not perhaps the constant cross that man, wherever he may be. must bear? "Cursed is the ground for they sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the day of they life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of they face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground..."275.

pando (ed.), op.cit., p. 17.

172 Heidelberg Catechism, response 1, p. 5.

173 Cf. J.A. Hartland, op.cit., p. 203. According to G. te Voortwis, op. cit., p. 26, "as early as 1871 the Argentine government had a promotions office in Antwerpen (Antwerp)". Its territory was Belgium, Holland and the north of France.

174 G. Ferrari, op.cit., p. 92. According to P. van Zeijl, De Nederlandse Inmigratie in Argentinie in de Tweede Helft van de Negentiende Eeuw. Wonen en werken in de hoofstad Buenos Aires, p. 7, Pedro S. Lamas was the director of the central office in Paris and it was he who had the task of supervising the other delegations.

175 Cf. G. te Voortwis, op.cit., pp. 13 and 25-26. This subsidized immigration was a complete failure. Therefore the Argentine government decided to discontinue it as of May 31, 1891.

176 Cf. F.J. Devoto, "Políticas migratorias argentinas y flujo de población europea (1876-1925)", pp. 140-141.

177 See the already cited letter of the Minister of Foreign Relations and Religion to the Dutch collectivity of Tres Arroyos on the occasion of the celebration of their centennial in 1989.

178 Cf. for more details De Hollandsche Stem, pp. 21-22, 26-38. There are articles with information on the work of these persons. See also J. van Lonkuijzen, op.cit., pp. 155-172, and W.J. van Balen, Nederland en da ABC Staten, pp. 98-112. Finally we recommend the reading of "Iets over de groote werken die in Argentinie door Nederlanders worden uitgevoerd. Naar aanleiding van een rapport van H.M. Zaakgelastigde en Consul-generaal te Buenos Aires, L. van Riet".

179 It wasn't an embassy until 1963. Cf. A.C. Hendrlcks, "Nederlandse emigratie naar Argentinie", p. 10. In time vice-consulates were being opened in large cities of the interior: in La Plata, under A. Mendez da Costa, as of February 26, 1886; in Córdoba, under J.A. Roorda Smith, as of October 14, 1889; in Mendoza, under J.G. Mouton, as of July 22, 1890; and in Rosario, under G.J. Oppen, as of June 6, 1892. Cf. P. van Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 47-48.

180 Op.cit., pp. VI-VII.

181 Van Riet "took over the direction of the consulate" on July 13, 1885. Cf. Register van uitgaande brieven 13 Juli 1885-20 April 1887, in: Legatie Argentinie, nr.inv. 2. On October 7, 1890; Van Riet becomes General Consul and D.J. de Boer is the new Consul.

182 Letter of March 23, 1899. It can be consulted in: Legatie Argentinie, nr.inv. 69.

183 Cf. Brieven en Agenda van ingekomen en uitgaande stukken 1887-1890. in: Legatie Argentinie, nr.inv. 69 and 58, respectively.

184 Letter from consul Van Riet on November 25, 1886, to the most important Argentine cattlemen. Cf. Register van uitgaande brieven, p. 210-212. in Legatie Argentinie, nr.inv. 2.

185 G. Ferrari, op.cit., p. 188.

186 See details in P. van Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 45-47.

187 These that we mention settled in Esperanza. Cf. for example A.J. Buntig, La Iglesia Evangélica del Río de la Plata (IERP) y la Congregación Evangélica de Esperanza (Santa Fe). pp. 89-90.

188 Cf. V. Bruinsma, "De veermindering der bevolking van Friesland", pp. 139-140.

189 Cf. Chapter II. The official figures that the censuses carried out by the Argentine government give us are not completely reliable. The Segundo Censo de la República Argentina, carried out in 1895, counts 2,880 Dutch (1,601 men and 1,279 women), cf. Table VIIIa, p. CLXV. J.A. Alsina, in the Memorias del Departamento General de Inmigración -according to calculations made in the years 1888-1891-, records 4,474 Dutch who entered the country in that period. 3,742 of these Dutch entered national territory under the subsidized passages program. Cf. also P. ven Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 40-41. Alsina, in another of his works: Población.... pp. 44-45, does not register the entry of Dutch to the country before 1881. As of that year and until 1902 the entry of Dutchmen into the country reaches 5,093 persons. The number of immigrants per year is the following 1881, 25; 1882, 5; 1883, 9; 1884, 40; 1885, 34; 1886, 48; 1887, 67; 1888, 68; 1889, 4,007; 1890, 395; 1891, 4; 1892, 26; 1893, 27; 1894, 18; 1895, 36; 1896, 61; 1897, 31; 1898, 51; 1899, 26; 1900, 43; 1901, 26; 1902, 37.

190 For statistical details we ask the reader to refer to tables that are found at the end of this work.

191 Cf. A.M. Bosters, Genealogie Bosters, p. 68. They had to make a trip from Nieuw-Vosmeer to the port in a "boerenkar" (wagon).

192 P. van Zeijl, op.cit., p. 7. According to J.A. Alsina, op.cit., p. 123, the Commissioner was Samuel Navarro.

193 Hendricks, A.C., op.cit., p. 11.

194 Cf. New York Tlmes 1889, February 24, 6.3.

195 See the contract of June 14, 1899 "for the institution of a Zuid-Amerika Lijn". It can be consulted in: Legatie Argentinie, nr.inv. 69. In the previous chapter we analyzed the political difficulties through which the young Republic was passing in this period.

196 P. van Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 11-12, tells us that the ship Leerdam could transport a maximum of 392 and the Zaandam a maximum of 424 passengers in third class. The Schiedam, for its part, could transport 722 passengers in third class.

197 Archive of the "Holland-Amerika Lijn" Cf. also P. van Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 10-13.

198 P. van Zeijl, op.cit., p. 14. We recommend a careful reading of the investigative work carried out by this Dutch author with respect to the conditions under which the trips aboard the ships of the NASM were made. She reports to us in her thesis interesting details relative to trips made by ships of the steamship line in question. These data are reworked and complemented in the articles that A.C. Hendrlcks is publishing, in the magazine Nederland as of issue for 7/92.

199 To see a list of the trades of some of the Dutch who arrived at the end of the past century in the country, consult the already cited work by P. van Zeijl, pp. 21-22, 46-47. See also the table at the end of our work.

200 Op.cit., p. 225.

201 Pp. 43, 51 and 56, respectively.

202 P. van Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 21-22 and 46-47.

203 From the passenger lists that are still accessible in the files of the CEMLA it can be deduced that in at least one case the Dutch ship Schiedam arrived at the port of Buenos Aires with just one Dutchman on board. Cf. P. van Zeijl, op.cit., p. 20.

204 Data based on the study of the lists of passengers who arrived aboard Dutch ships between 1882-1895 and stored in the records of the CEMLA. These data were analyzed and systematized by the Dutch author P. van Zeijl and published in her already cited work. Cf. pp. 20-21.

205 These data have been obtained following the 'Stoomvaartberichten' (steamship bulletins) of De Standaard of March, April and May, 1890. These dates do not agree with those that P. van Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 12-13, provides us.

206 "Like lambs without a shepherd", in: Juventud Calvinista, no. 110, June-July of 1955, p. 2. He and his family made the trip aboard the steamship Leerdam which departed from the port of Amsterdam on May 8, 1889. Cf. Juventud Calvinista, no. 109. May, 1955, p. 1.

207 Op.cit., p. 16.

208 Taken from the statement of A. van der Heide.

209 K.J. and J. de Hoop, op.cit., pp. 33ff.

210 Cf. Gezinsblad De Hoop, L. 1.5.1.

211 Op.cit., p. 26. It mentions the names of some of the expired passengers. Also it mentions the case of a Dutchman, W. Potappel, expired in an immigrants hotel, which occurred on July 2, 1890.

212 Legatie Argentinie, nr.inv. 69. See also De Standaard of April 22, 1889: another statement about trunks and valises that have been opened during the trip.

213 May 7 according to the files of the NASM. Cf. P. van Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 12-13.

214 "Like lambs without a shepherd", in: Juventud Calvinista, no. 109, May, 1955. p. 2.

215 P. van Zeijl in her work already repeatedly cited transcribes for us a weekly menu served aboard one of the ships of the Holland-Amerika line, successor to the NASM. Regrettably we cannot corroborate if these foods actually got to the plates of the passengers.

216 Fact noted by D. Zijlstra "Like lambs without a shepherd", in: Juventud Calvinista, no. 110, June-July, 1955, pp. 2-3.

217 "Like lambs without a shepherd", in: Juventud Calvinista, no. 109, May, 1955, p. 2.

218 We find an exception in the following news edited by De Standaard of the 7 of March of 1889: "At least insofar as the voyage we have received very good news from the passengers who departed on February 5 aboard the Schiedam. They evaluate the treatment and attention aboard the ship as excellent.. But, this appears be an exception. De Standaard cites, in that same article, another testimony, the first to appear in De Echo. Some 7 persons who aboard the Zaandam departed on December 5, 1888, report that the care during the voyage was "nothing less than bad, very bad".

219 The building of the new port was finished in 1898. Until that time this system of disembarkation was the only viable one.

220 Streetcars of the "City of Buenos Aires" and "Anglo-Argentina" lines. The baggage was transported in carts.

221 These were created by the Law of Immigration and Colonization of October 19, 1876, during the government of N. Avellaneda. Let us recall furthermore that in 1887 Juárez Celman had decided on the construction of 11 hotels for immigrants.

222 Thus, for example, a certain Mr. Van Waalwijk relates that "the emigrants Hotel, considered a refuge in the event of need, impressed me positively. The treatment is satisfactory and the food quite good". Taken from De Standaard, April 25, 1889.

223 Officially 5 days, but this could vary according to the circumstances. Cf. Law of Immigration and Colonization of October 19, 1876, Chapter VIII, article 45: "The immigrants will have the right to be properly housed and maintained at the expense of the Nation, during the 5 days following their disembarkation". Article 47 anticipated that the immigrants contracted by the government for the agricultural colonies could stay in the hotels until their definitive movement to the same. Cf. Registro Nacional de la República Argentina, 1874-1877, pp. 491-500.

224 In the year 1889 260,909 immigrants entered the country, of whom 135,666 were housed temporarily in one or another of the hotels for immigrants. Cf. J.A. Alsina, Memorias del Departamento General de Inmigración, year 1889, p. 28.

225 Taken from the cited statement of K.J. and J. de Hoop. The hotel to which they refer is the one which was located in Retiro and which originally had been a theatre. This hotel opened its doors in January of 1888 and operated until 1911.

226 Taken from De Standaard, March 7, 1889.

227 De Standaard, April 2, 1889.

228 Alsina, J.A., Memorias....., year 1889. pp. 74-75.

229 Cf. D. Zijlstra, "Like lambs without a shepherd". in: Juventud Calvinista, no. 112, September-October, 1955, pp. 3-4.

230 Ibid., p. 3.

231 See some direct testimonies in the Addenda.

232 Taken from the statement of K.J. and J. de Hoop.

233 Cf. the already cited statement of K.J. and J. de Hoop. D. Zijlstra also refers to this experience D. Zijlstra, "Like lambs without a shepherd", in: Juventud Calvinista, no. 112, September-October, 1955 and no. 113, November-December, 1955.

234 Cf. W.J. van Balen, op.cit., pp. 116-117. See also the unpublished statement concerning Diego Zijlstra, written by his daughter Lidia Zijlstra de Slebos. Accessible in the files of the author; J. van Lonkhuijzen, op.cit., pp. 163-164; G. te Voortwls, op.cit., p. ?3. H. Beets, De Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk in Noord Amerika, p. 381, mentions the death in one colony of 90 persons -"for the most part young people"- within only a couple of months.

235 Preamble to the book of minutes of the consistory meetings of the Gereformeerde Kerk of Buenos Aires, I, 8 Febr. 1908-12 Mei 1912.

G. te Voortwis, op.cit., p. 27, on the basis of data obtained in interviews with descendants of the first Dutch immigrants, considers that half of the group that arrived between 1888 and 1890 dies in one or two years.

236 Buenos Aires, March 12, 1908.

237 In this sense the testimonies are surprisingly in agreement. We do not cite them here for obvious reasons of space. The reader interested will be able to consult details in the already cited work of J. Mafud, La vida obrera en la Argentina.

238 J. van Lonkuijzen, op.cit., p. 163. Cf. also his letter to the Representatives, Buenos Aires, March 12, 1908.

239 Ana Verbeek de Barbato, letter to her family (Verbeek) in Holland, Rosario, January 21, 1982.

240 Datum extracted from a letter sent to us by Mrs. G.M. Otte de Zabala, Laguna Paira, July 21, 1993.

241 For a specific distribution of the Dutch by province -until 1915- see G. te Voortwis, op.cit., pp. 36-40.

242 We suggest the reading of the already cited reports of Diego Zijlstra. Also the article of N. Alvarez and B.L. Liberio, "Los inmigrantes y la tierra. Labradores europeos en la región sur de la campaña bonaerense (Argentina) a principios del siglo XX".

243 G. te Voortwis, op.cit., devotes the lion's share of his investigative work to the study of the Tres Arroyos "case".

244 K. Kaerger, Landwirtschaft und Kolonisation in Spanischen Amerika, Eerster Band: Die La Plata-Staaten, p. 513.

245 J.A. Alsina, op.cit., p. 235, mentions the prices of land in that area.

246 "Our people are no good for emigration. The Italians, they are a different kind of people! They arrive barely in Buenos Aires and they are already settled in. They barely have to take one turn around the job exchange and they take whatever they find. The Dutch, on the other hand, stick together and they don't make any effort to find a job(...) They are too sleepy headed, too cloddish, too tame to look out for their own interests". De Standaard, April 25, 1889.

247 "Concerning the fortunes of my travel companions who departed with me from Rotterdam on January 5 aboard of the 'Edam', I can't say much. But something is certain: that many are disappointed. But, who are those people? All those who do not have a profession or trade or those who do not have a practical knowledge of rural life; all those who do not possess a firm will to work and who presume that gold is going to fall to them from the sky; all those who lack patience and in principle do not know how to overcome small disillusionments, inconveniences or afflictions." Utrechtsche Courant, April 14, 1889. The letter is by Theodoor Bernhard (cf. the letter from his father to the Dutch Consul in Buenos Aires, L. van Riet. It can be consulted in: Legatie Argentinie, under nr.inv. 69).

248 "Thanks to the salary received in exchange for the sin of their daughters", says Van Lonkhuijzen, op.cit., p. 163.

249 De Standaard, May 7, 1889.

250 De Standaard, April 2, 1889. Letter from a person from Goes living in Baradero.

251 Around 1891 the normal salary of a miller in the province of Buenos Aires was about 30-50 nationals per month; that of a house helper between 30-80 nationals; bricklayers could earn up to between 2-3 nationals per day; cooks could earn between 20-100 nationals per month. Alsina, J.A., Memorias...., year 1891, p. 71. See also J. Mafud, op.cit., pp. 205-215.

252 G Ferrari, op.cit., pp. 213-214.

253 On the use or non-use of the term colony, not all the authors are in agreement. T. van Benthem, Análisis histórico-sistemático de las Iglesias Reformadas en la Argentina, p. 44, considers that one can "really" speak of a colony in the case of Tres Arroyos. For his part J. van Lonkhuijzen, op.cit., devotes the last two chapters of his book to the "colonies" in Argentina and to the possibility of "colonization" that the country offered. J.A.A. Hartland, op.cit., pp. 201-213, also uses the category of "colonies" when he speaks of the Dutch settlements. But in chapter IV devoted to the topic of "Kolonievorming door Nederlandse emigranten" he says: "In Argentina one cannot speak, in reality, of the formation of Dutch colonies", p. 232. Bach-Filippini-Pastrana, Las Iglesias Reformadas en la Argentina y su relación con el proceso social del país (1966-1976), do not use the Term colonies, but rather prefer to speak of "communities".

254 Cf. J. van Lonkhuijzen, op.cit., pp. 160-161.

On the neighborhood of the Boca, see N. Redondo, "La Boca: evolución de un barrio étnico".

255 J. van Lonkhuijzen, op. cit., p. 167.

256 Tomo II: Población, Cuadro XVIII, p. CLXXVII.

257 Ibid, Cuadro XVIII, p. 179.

258 Thus the case of Age van der Heide and his family, who, after 13 years in Argentina (1888-1901), returned to Holland and were able to buy a small farm. Cf. statement written by his grandson, A. van der Heide.

259 Cited by P. van Zeijl, op.cit., p. 39-40.

260 Concerning prostitution in Buenos Aires in this period, see the cited work of J. Mafud, pp. 237-239.

261 If we peruse the Agenda van ingekomen en uitgaande stukken, in Legatie Argentinie, nr.inv. 58, we find several of those protest letters. Some examples: 1) Letter from Hendrick de Jonge on behalf of the colonists in "La Colina", on December 24, 1889: "complaints because of bad treatment". 2) Letter from Dutch colonists in the colony "Cochico" in Guaminí, July 20, 1890: "complaints about the bad treatment in the Colony". 3) Letter from the colonists in Lynch Colony, Saavedra, July 1, 1890: "failure to send food for the 22 families settled there".! 4) Letter from G.J. Wortelboer from Azul: about 50 "Hollanders" without work there. 5) Letter from colonists at "La Fortuna" in La Colina, September 19, 1890 : "complaints because of a lack of food". 6) Letter from colonists in San Antonio Colony, November, 1890: again complaints. Immigrants also went to the consulate in Rosario with their complaints.

262 Op.cit., p. 27. Voortwis takes his data from the Memorias del Departamento de Inmigración, of 1892, edited by Alsina.

263 Letter from an immigrant from Warfum, who has already been in Argentina for some time. Taken from De Bazuin, December 29, 1893. He is not referring here to L. van Riet, because the latter was a member of the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church).

264 According to J. van Lonkhuijzen, op.cit., p. 161, this association in 1907 had "72 members".

265 Op.cit, p. 11. Cf. also P. van Zeijl, op.cit., pp. 50-53.

266 P. van Zeijl, op.cit., p. 51.

267 "Welfare Association for help to the needy Dutch in Buenos Aires", Ibidem.

268 See the statement of K.J. and J. de Hoop.

269 De Standaard, April 25, 1889.

270 Nederlandse Staatscourant, no. 44, February 21, 1889.

271 Utrechtsche Courant, April 14, 1889.

272 March 23, 1889.

273 Op.cit., p. VI.

274 A copy of said letter was kindly sent to me by Mr. H.J. de Vries, of Wieringerwerf.

275 Genesis 3:17b-19a.

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