Hubertus Salomon Hordijk, a former army captain known as “Steel Bart” spent a decade in the 1900s as Amsterdam’s autocratic Chief of Police. All that time he was taking photos.

Frosted trees and ice in the canals due to fog and sleet during the month of February 1908.
H.S. Hordijk (1862-1930).
HS Hordijk in his office. Date unknown.

Not the most likely canditate for artistic photographer, Hubertus Salomon Hordijk (1862-1930) kept his passion to himself for a decade. No-one was going to argue. He was the police chief.

On April 22 1903 and by Royal decree an infantry captain by the name of Hubertus Salomon Hordijk succeeded the outgoing Amsterdam police commissioner to the top job. 

Hordijk, who was known to his troops as “Steel Bart” due to his strict demeanor and appearance came to the notice of those who select potential police chiefs by using troops to maintain order during the widespread railway strikes earlier in 1903. As Chief of Police, Hordijk behaved completely autonomously, arranging and deciding as much as possible himself. He had little or no contact police on the beat or with the police unions. He also avoided the press as much as possible which caused a certain degree of animosity. In 1907, he was unable to work for several months due to a nervous disorder, at which the press wrote that “Steel Bart” had apparently lost his nerves of steel.

Hordijk had controversial opinions and his mouth got him in trouble. In 1908, as the Chief of Police in Amsterdam he automatically became the director of the National Office for the Suppression of the Trafficking in Women and Girls. Then, in 1909 he misguidedly warned the female population of the Netherlands against the Mormon religion. His broadside addressed in particular those who were considering settling in America; probably because of the risk of becoming involved in the perceived sexual slavery of a polygamous relationship. This incurred massive objections on the grounds of freedom of religion and that the case for Mormons being involved with the trafficking of women was far from proved.

Hordijk was a keen photographer and he took endless images of all kinds of events that he had privileged access to; crime scenes, state visits, criminals, fires, police procedures, the visits to Amsterdam of foreign dignitaries, Royal events; it wasn’t part of his job, just something the Chief of Police wanted to do. 

Hordijk was Chief of Police in Amsterdam for a decade. From 1903 to 1913 when he resigned due to his nervous disorder. During that decade he filled five huge albums with photographs which now sit in the Amsterdam Municipal Archives.

Hordijk’s images, like a decade of life in 1900s Amsterdam, are an eclectic, chaotic and diverse miscellany.

The captions are his. Police issue.

Frosted treetops due to fog and sleet during the month of February 1908.
Seen over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal from the Police Headquarters on the Spinhuissteeg. February 1908
Fire in the plot Krom Boomssloot 14, inhabited by the well-known arsonist family Van Geen and Adrichem.
Photo from album II of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 20 October 1906.
Burglary at llgemeine Elektricitats-Gesellschaft, Keizersgracht 121. Broken-open safe.
The burglary took place during the electricians’ strike, directed by striker who is an ex-employee. Approx. 2000 guilders looted. 1911
Burglary at jeweler Citroen, Gallery 40 (Westeinde), on the night of January 8-9, 1908. Hole in wall of uninhabited Gallery 41.
From album I of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk.
Burglary at jeweler Citroen, Gallery 40 (Westeinde), on the night of January 8-9, 1908. Hole in wall in the inhabited Gallery 40. Political cartoons of the Amsterdamsche Courant on wall.
From album I of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk.
Boat workers, sailors strike. Kleine Kattenburgerstraat 123. During the disturbances in the night of 5-6 July 1911 the boat worker Homma suspected of shooting at soldiers police was shot in stomach. Infantrymen. July 6 1911.jpg
Boat workers and sailors strike. Portrait, shot through during the riots of July 1911.
Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. July 1911
Caravan camp on a private site on the Notweg. February 1910.
Caravan camp on a private site on the Notweg. February 1910.
The ‘Photographie and Bertillon Establishment’ at the Police Headquarters on the Spinhuissteeg.
Photo from album I of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 1903.
Landing of the first seaplane (aero-hydroplane) in the IJ, by the French pilot Pierre Levasseur.
A harbour police boat is towing the seaplane to the Oosterdok.
Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 13 July 1913.
Performance on the Museumplein on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Algemeen Gymnastiek Verbond. 1908.
Interior of Driekoningenstraat 1, home of the widow D. Cerlijn, murdered on March 10, 1905.
The bedroom in which burglary was committed. March 1905.
Untitled. 1907 to April 11, 1907.
Interior of Nicolaas Witsenkade 6, home of Mathilda Josephina Rameau Winia. The bedroom where Winia was murdered by her maid Imke Beetsma and her fiancée Pieter Ronner by pouring boiling water over her. February 1910.
Arrival of circus Hagenbeck at Station Weesperpoort on Rhijnspoorplein. An elephant on the platform.
Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. May 1913
Residents of Freetown, Sierra Leone, abandoned by their impresario in January 1910.
Bones in the former Zuiderkerkhof, discovered during excavation work for the construction of the Zandstraat 19 school building.
April 1907.
Visit of Queen Wilhelmina. The armored ship Jacob van Heemskerck firing 35 salutes during the trip on the IJ of the queen.
In the offing, the building for the Algemeene Dienst at the head of the Oostelijke Handelskade. 8 May 1912
The railway viaduct on the side of the De Ruijterkade near the Western access in sunken condition. 1906.
Gate of the Begijnhof on the Spui. 1907.
Funeral of Chief Rabbi Dr. Joseph Hirsch Dünner (1833-1911). October 11 1911.
Funeral of Chief Rabbi Dr. Joseph Hirsch Dünner (1833-1911). 18 October 1911.
Hillebertus Elisa van den Dool, aged 64, convicted several times for theft Description Photo from album II of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 1906.
Park Theater on the Plantage Doklaan Description View of the stage. Photo from album III of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 1908.
The sheet-iron warehouse E of the Stoomvaart Maatschappij Ocean on the Javakade, which was destroyed by fire. 14 February 1912.
Sheet-iron warehouse E of the Stoomvaart Maatschappij Ocean on the Javakade. Firefighters a day and a half after the outbreak of the fire on February 14, 1912. Fire likely started due to flammable moleskite animal feed. Feb 15 1912.
Police officer by bicycle.
Photo from album I of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 1903.
A taxi from the Atax company entered the water on the Singel near the Spui. Driver Jan te Kley died of his injuries.
Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 21 July 1911.
A taxi from the Atax company, hit the water on the Singel near the Spui, is hoisted out of the water with the help of a Sinck hoist.
Driver Jan te Kley died of his injuries. July 21 1911.
Demolition of a wax candle factory on the Boerenwetering, Hobbemakade. The 40m chimney of the Wax Candle Factory fell into three parts after the wooden props were burnt away. 18 December 1906.
The remains of the 40-meter-high chimney of the Wax Candle Factory. In the offing, the fire station on Honthorststraat and the Rijksmuseum. 18 December 1906.
Type of a street boy named Nico van Beerlo, 8 years old, repeatedly ran away from the parental home in Haarlem and traveled to Amsterdam by holding on to a lantern behind the electric tram Haarlem-Amsterdam. 1909.
Portrait photo of Captain Mos, commander-detective of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. Photo from album V of the Amsterdamsche Politie. 1911
Belgian war refugees in the Netherlands. Passengers at Central Station on one of the daily extra trains to Antwerp. The refugees made little use of this free travel opportunity. Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk.
Belgian war refugees in the Netherlands. Residence of Belgian refugees in a goods shed on the IJkade (Javakade-Sumatrakade). Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 1914.
Belgian war refugees in the Netherlands. Cleaning a goods shed on the IJkade (Javakade-Sumatrakade).
Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 1914.
Belgian war refugees in the Netherlands. Lunch in one of the five goods sheds on the IJkade (Javakade-Sumatrakade) and Oostelijke Handelskade. Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 1914.
Belgian war refugees in the Netherlands. Hospital with resident doctor in the stone shed on the Sumatrakade, donated by the Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland (SMN). The men’s department with Sister Pels on the left.
Photo from album V of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. 1914.
The front of the mirror and frame factory of the Koch company, Henri Polaklaan 32-34, after the fire in the night of December 22-23, 1909.
The ruin of the mirror and frame factory of the Koch company, Henri Polaklaan 32-34, after the fire in the night of December 22-23, 1909. Chief HS Hordijk.
Two police officers on horseback. Photo from album I of the Amsterdamsche Politie. 1903.
Fire in a coal tar factory on the Kostverlorenkade, seen from the Kostverlorenvaart. November 1913.
The ruin of the malt house of the brewery ‘De Kroononde falk’ on the Hoogte Kadijk after the fire in the night of 11 to 12 March 1906. Photo from album II of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. March 1906.
Fire in the linseed oil factory of Alberdingk & Zonen in Spaarndammerstraat. One of the five steam fire sprayers switched on.
Photo from album II of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk.June 21, 1906.
Fire in the linseed oil factory of Alberdingk & Zonen in Spaarndammerstraat. Photo from album II of the Amsterdam Police, compiled by Chief HS Hordijk. June 21 1906.

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