Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Board games and Advertising in the Netherlands

My thanks to Prof Adrian Seville for alerting me to these two sites: HONG and Reclame Arsenaal


HONG (Historisch Overzicht Nederlandse Gezelschapsspellen) is a historical survey of Dutch games, the website of Rob van Linden. It can be browsed by publisher, title, and themes (cars, planes, boats, trains, sports, Disney, music etc). There is also simple and advanced searching (Uitgrebrieder zoeken).

Each entry typically has several digital images, showing the packaging (where applicable), contents and sometimes details, but not (for later games at least) necessarily each separate card or element of the game.  Many board games are commentated. There is a very useful table giving the chronology of games publishers and their relationship with each other.

Since I have to confess to an almost total ignorance both of Dutch games and language, I found date a rewarding way to search this impressive resource, it then becoming possible to make comparisions with British games. This is best done through the advanced screen. Entering 1700-1800 gave me 36 fascinating results. The major focus of the site is games dating from 1861-1999.

Krygs spel, 1710 Photo (C) Luigi Ciompi. The game is held
at the Openluchtmuseum
As in the case of the earliest game: the  Krygs Spel (left), many images (of the Game of the goose and other games) come from the Gioci dell'Oca website and from the Fred Horn Goose games at the Flemish Games archive, KHBO University in Bruges (a collection of 25,000 games housed in the Faculty of Education and Teacher Training, with its main focus "the integration of board games in early childhood, primary and secondary teaching"). Others come from Dutch museums (notably the Speelgoedmuseum Deventer)  and libraries, including the Reclame Arsenaal.  Each game is also cross-referenced to variant titles (where applicable) and to relevant reference works.


(C) Reclame Arsenaal nl. (Home page)

The Reclame Arsenaal is the result of a merger in 2001 of the Nederlands Reclameachief (Dutch Advertising Archive), founded in 1981, and the Nederlands Reclame Museum (Dutch Advertising Museum), founded in 1975.

Again, a command of Dutch would be a distinct advantage, but there is much to explore: a searchable database, virtual museum, online exhibitions, etc. The material is divided into Advertisements, Posters, Small printed works (leaflet, calendars, etc.) and Varia (works in other media such as textiles, enamel) and dates back to 1870. For purposes of the virtual tour, online museum, etc the works are divided into periods: 1870-1915, 1915-1930, 1930-1940, 1940-1945, 1945-1960, 1960-1975, 1975-1990, 1990-2002. A nice, quirky touch is a street image for each period, showing the Reclame Arsenaal material as if displayed on billboards, etc. Mousing over one of these items turns it into colour, while clicking brings up a pop-up box with caption and link to the main object description. Each period is accompanied by digest of Dutch history.

The searchable database offers simple and advanced searching. My simple search for Chocolade brought up 21 items, all with thumbnails which click through to records with larger images.  Advanced searching enables the user to restrict results to type of object, collection (other collections, e.g. Decaux can be searched through this database) and date. There is Boolean searching. The collection includes games (a search for spel) yields 80 results.

There are also multimedia online exhibitions, for Persil and Packaging for example.

Both sites offer interesting ways to compare Dutch culture with our own, either chronologically, or through Dutch versions of familiar games or advertising of international products, as well as presenting Dutch popular culture in accessible and attractive ways.


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