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6. Married, and then?

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“You only had … ten days to find a partner. Other than that, you wrote letters to each other,” a maid tells us. The girls’ love life is quite a challenge!

Couple in love on Urk botter (photo Judith de Vries-Oost)

The lovers don’t get to spend much time together. Moreover, marriages often have to be postponed. This is the result of poverty and the lack of houses available on the island. Sometimes the only solution is to move in with (in-law) parents.

Young lovers during Pentecost leave (private collection)

Marriage is often seen as the escape from working as a maid. After years of running someone else’s household, young women are eager to have their own place.

At home with former maid Lumme Bos-Anker (private collection)

Because they have learned to be independent, the maids are relatively well prepared for the ‘lonely’ fisherwoman life. They often earn at least as much as their boyfriend – this has a positive impact on the relationship.

For some, getting used to island life again is not easy. “I served Jews and gentiles, but I did not experience with them what I experienced in Urk!” says one of them.

Soon the women themselves can be found at the harbour with their daughters to say goodbye. The circle starts once more from the beginning…

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