AUGUST 23, 1956
COPENHAGEN, Denmark —On leaving Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands Monday, we found our way with a little difficulty to the home of Dr. and Mrs. Nicholas Kappeyne. The Kappeynes have a lovely country home in the outskirts of Loenen. It is right on the river, which seems somewhat like a canal. It faces an old windmill which they told me, however, rarely is propelled by the wind, since an engine is more convenient at present.
Across the road from the house there is a stretch of garden and woods facing on the lake which they use for swimming. Our lunch was delightful and I was so glad to meet Mrs. Kappeyne and the rest of the family—two boys and a girl.
We talked over the coming meeting in Geneva and I was glad also to meet the young woman who has acted as assistant treasurer of World Federation of United Nations Associations and who impressed on me the need that both the new Secretary General and his Assistant Secretary General should realize that this organization has only been able to function because everyone has turned every penny three times before spending it.
We returned to our hotel just before 4:30 p.m. and Mrs. Wouter Nijhoff came for us and took us to see the public library in a wonderful old house. Then we went to her husband's publishing house. For more than 200 years men of the same name and family have operated this business.
We saw some of their treasured maps of The Hague which are most decorative. Mr. Nijhoff showed us an early Dutch atlas printed in American, French, German, Latin, and Dutch, with the most beautiful hand-drawn maps and illustrations—nine volumes with beautiful gold-tooled red leather binding. And there was even a map of Long Island, N.Y., and Virginia.
He presented the boys with a book on the use of land in Holland which they will find most interesting and which will be a nice souvenir for them.
Afterwards, Mrs. Nijhoff took us back to her home for a cup of tea and told us that she was very fortunate to have two military officers in her home.
Housing is so difficult to find in Holland that anyone who has a spare room must take in guests and, because she had volunteered in the early days after the war, she was on the military list and received two officers.
These gentlemen ate at the officers' mess, so she did not have to provide them with any food. I could not help thinking how we would feel in the U.S. if the aftermath of the war still forced us to receive guests into our houses, whether we wished to or not.
Little discoveries of this kind make one realize the difference between living in a country that has been occupied and devastated by the enemy and in the United States of America.
In discussing other difficulties here, for instance, I found that while prices of many necessities are kept down by the government and butter, milk, bread, and vegetables are fairly low in price, meat is a luxury few families can indulge in more than twice a week.
And then they can only buy cuts that will make a good stew after long cooking. The rest of the time they eat a soup made out of leftovers, a large amount of mashed potatoes and such vegetables as are in season and such plentiful fruit as can be bought at a low cost.
The Dutch children look healthy but probably have too much starch in their diet. Coffee is a luxury and so is tea, apparently. Cheese is still available.
Lee Blanchard had dinner with us at the hotel and then I saw three members of the press—the representatives of the Associated Press, the New York Times, and United Press.
(Copyright, 1956, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] Copenhagen (Denmark)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 23, 1956
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
- Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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