As we chomped at the bit to head back over to the Netherlands to take possession of our skûtsje, Nieuwe Zorg, Edi dug-out some old tiles that had been in her family for more than half a century. These hand-painted tiles had come from the renovation of a house on Amsterdam's Keizersgracht. The houses there date from the seventeenth century and were once home to the city's wealthiest families, and some still are.
The tiles measure 152 X 152 millimetres and are about 9.5 millimetres thick with grooves for mortar on their backs. Each depicts a separate traditional scene. One is a scene of grazing cattle alongside a canal flanked by windmills. On the canal are two small boats.
Another of the tiles has several windmills and some people alongside a shoreline. Near the shore is a gaff-rigged barge, possibly a skûtsje under sail.
The fifth tile is of a seaside scene of a fisherman and his wife lugging baskets of fish ashore from their tjalk, which is dried-out with the low tide. In the middle ground is a second dried-out tjalk with several people around it. In the background are other sailing vessels.
I spent a lot of time online looking for similar tiles, first searching through over a thousand Google images, then browsing over seven hundred eBay listings. I saw none similar, and only a tiny handful as finely done. We have decided to have these tiles appropriately framed to hang in the salon of our skûtsje.