Living Today but in the 1930s

Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse still lives as if it is 1938. In her apartment on the second floor of a building in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, constructed in 1918, Teeuwisse lives with all the “modern” amenities of a 1930s woman. She describes her space as “a typical working-class house with a front room, back room, bedroom, ‘wet room’ (bathroom) and kitchen.”

The cozy apartment is filled with Dutch furniture from the 1920s and 30s, with a fireplace and radio and no television. “Making sure that everything is at least pre-1945 gives the home automatically the right atmosphere, and of course I’ve done a lot of research to see how I can recreate some of the details correctly,” Teeuwisse said. She runs a 1920s vacuum cleaner over the rugs, and washes the floors with vinegar, scrubbing on her hands and knees. She does all her laundry by hand using a washboard, a block of soap, bleach and a brush – “the smell is lovely,” she said.

“The only modern thing I have in my house is my computer; I need it for my work,” she said. “I also have a modern fridge, but only because I haven’t found a nice 1930s one yet and they no longer deliver ice for ice boxes.”

You can read the full story in an article by Ilyce R. Glink at

How many of us would give up today’s conveniences? Not me!


One Comment

In the article she says ‘lower-middle-class’ woman. That’s different than working-class. In the 1930s many actual ‘working-class’ families here in the Netherlands didn’t have a vacuum cleaner or a decent radio (though Philips made them cheaper eventually) and certainly not a house full of Art Deco furniture! A single working-class woman would have lived in a room in a boarding house if not at home with her parents.


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