young Piet Clijnk

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Pieter Clijnk was born on 30th July 1899 in Zaandam and he died on 15th May 1967 in Zaandam.
He was the son of Theodorus Clijnk and Antoinette Verberne.
Theodorus was a bricklayer/contractor working throughout the Netherlands, but he settled permanently in Zaandam. He was mainly a church builder (f.e. church of Bonifatius, Oostzijde Zaandam).

Theodorus and Antoinette
Evert Rika and Piet  

In this family 5 children were born: Petronella, Rika, Evert, Piet (right on the photo) and Jozef. Petronella died 3 months after she was born in 1894. Jozef died when he was 2 years old in 1900.
Piet Clijnk was born at Molenpad in Zaandam. His official name is Pieter, but he was known as Piet and I will refer to him as Piet from now on.

house Molenpad

Piet Clijnk completed primary school. At first he thought he might have a vocation to become a priest. He started the education for the priesthood, but did not finish it. He went to Wateringen to train as a bicycle repairer. Although this not become his trade, his training proved very useful to him in later years because he could repair bicycles very well.

In 1916 he was a builder/bricklayer and was working in his father Theodorus’ company. It is known that he was working as a bricklayer during the flood in 1916. Following an accident whereby he fell into a septic tank, he was injured in such a way that he could no longer continue his work as a bricklayer. This accident took place at the beginning of his marriage. 

Piet Clijnk with bicycle
Cornelia Vet On 4th September 1929 he married Cornelia Vet (10th October 1901 - 20th June 1968). She worked in her father’s butcher’s shop on the Gedempte Gracht in Zaandam. They took up residence above the clothing shop De Wit on the Gedempte Gracht, but later on they moved to a house at Rustenburg in Zaandam. It was at this house that Piet Clijnk started his shop and began his career as an artist. It was a difficult start because of the depression and people did not have enough money to buy paintings. The family lived here for about three years.
marriage certificate
Hugo o his mother's arm

On 2nd October 1930 their only son Hugo was born. In the photographs he can been seen on both his mother’s and father’s arm in his grandparents’ garden. In 1932 or 1933 (this date is not certain) they moved to the house at Gedempte Gracht 117. They rented the ground floor of this two storey house.

Hugo on his father's arm

Piet Clijnk’s experience in the building trade came in very useful, because he converted the front room of the house to a shop. The back room served as living room. At the end of the garden was the workshop in which Piet Clijnk made frames. He was not only an artist, but he also framed his own work and work of others. The workshop had a bell, which sounded whenever someone entered the shop. So he could go to the shop when a customer arrived.          


Gedempte Gracht 117 shopwindow shop interior workplace

We always thought my grandfather started to paint around 1930, but to our astonishment we have found an oil painting painted in 1928. My grandfather took a photo of the painting.
zandstraat 1928 zandstraat 1928
He painted until his death in 1967 and left a vast body of work which many people still enjoy, as I found out during my search.

me behind shopdoor

Gedempte Gracht 117. I can be seen behind the shop door as a little girl.