29-8-2000, revision 18th March 2018
cabinet I for Isaac

Filing cabinet I for Isaac contains 35 files filled with sugar packets. And that is not all. Cabinet J for John also contains a number of ring binders. And on top of cabinet V there are four wine boxes of duplicates and packets still to be put in the ring binders. It is obvious that I did not collect that many sugar packets by drinking cups of coffee all by myself in different places. I owe it to my many friends (male and female), acquaintances and family members that there are so many packets (and wrappers) in my archives.

Many years ago things got somewhat out of hand when my father went to Nijkerk town hall and – having a coffee – took a sugar packet without using it. This caught the attention of Mr Gerrit van der Zee, a civil servant: he also collected sugar packets. But he actually wanted to get rid of his collection. It had become too much for him and the more packets he got, the more difficult it became to still find pleasure in it. This was a collection of about thirty thousand packets. Would I be interested? Well, yes of course.

So one fine night he came by, his car filled with blue files. We sat down and talked for a while, and I understood very well that he wanted to be certain that his collection would be handled with decency and care.

The files were put on top of the linen closet and stayed there for a while, but it couldn’t stay that way. That is why the filing cabinets were reorganized. The box files from cabinet I – filled with information about my movies – were moved to cabinet G, and the contents of cabinet G went elsewhere. They were part of our Vrij Nederland collection, which was more or less complete since 1970. But yes, one sometimes has to make choices, so the Vrij Nederland magazines were transferred to the Nederlands Foto Instituut (The Netherlands Photographic Museum).

There was a few major problem to be solved: I had to incorporate my own collection into that of Mr Van der Zee.