From the private collection of the Roest family
h 50 cm x w 25 cm
The last winter of the war (1944-1945) was extremely icy and cold. Hunger was rampant in the west of the Netherlands, particularly in the big cities. There was also a large shortage of fuel. The supply of coal from the province of Limburg had come to a halt. To make a bad situation even worse, from November 1944 the gas and electricity in Amsterdam was often shut down. No gas, no coal, and as a result no heating. So anything flammable was burnt in makeshift stoves like this one.
The Wimmers family used it to heat their home in Amsterdam and to cook the small amount of food they could get hold of. People often built these improvised devices themselves from large biscuit tins or other pieces of metal. They did whatever they could to stay warm: they cut down trees and plundered vacant houses in search of wood to burn. Even the wooden blocks between the tram rails were pried loose. Some people went as far as burning their wooden staircase banisters and kitchen cabinets.