Holland has a very active and enthusiastic steam organization, known as the Stoomwalsen club Nederland, and our readers will want to know more about it.
'Stoomwalsen' means steam roller, but the club welcomes anything powered by steam.
The Dutch Steam Roller Club was founded in 1969, for the preservation of steam engines. Steam is no longer used in road construction in Holland, but as many of the rollers as could be found were saved.
Of the first 25 located, some were privately owned, some still owned by contractors. The 25 included 11 of British make; 13, German, and one, Dutch. The first and oldest steam roller in Holland is an Aveling & Porter, No. 4711, built in 1901. Its picture was used for a drawing commissioned by the club.
Some portable engines can still be found in Holland. The club holds rallies, some large and some small, organized in cooperation with tourist boards and other groups.
Annual get-togethers are held at Hoorn, in northern Holland, a very picturesque city, and members have a lot of fun at the meets. Prince Bernhard and the British Ambassador attended one of these in 1975. A number of Britons took part, including Ron Hawthorne, well known author, who brought the famous engine, 'Renown.'
The British Ambassador, who officially opened the show, said next time he would rather have a steam engine for transportation than his own Rolls Royce.
A tour of the harbor was offered on an antique steamboat. A challenge cup for the best complete exhibit went to a fire engine group whose members were dressed in old time helmets and uniforms. A silver steam whistle prize went to people showing a steam trolley. An old fireman's baton was presented to R. Gebhard, secretary of the club in recognition for all he did for the organization.
The organization's quarterly publication, called 'Op Stoom,' ('Steamed Up') carries a list of steamrollers, with the name of each (if it has one), the manufacturer, manufacturer's number, year of make, and present owner. The machines are classified A, B, and C. A is ready to go; B restored, and C, not yet restored.
Our request to the club for information was answered by Mr. Gebhard, who very kindly sent copies of the 'Op Stoom' along with postcards which show some of the members' engines, the latest 'gimmick,' a cap bearing the club's insignia for youngsters and other material.
Gerard Martin Schouten, a native of Eindoven, Holland, who is now with the Armstrong Cork Company, in Lancaster, translated some of the articles so that we could write about the Club.