Anyone who has visited Amsterdam is probably at least a little familiar with the large banner that hangs just outside the central train station. It shows a small selection of the kind of people you might meet in Amsterdam and it is possibly one of the first things that tourists and locals gaze upon when they arrive in the city and the last thing they see as they leave. It has been there for several months.
I pass it myself everyday on my way to work and everyday the same thought enters my head; why didn’t someone tell them to smile? The photographer should have at least held up a squeaky toy to get their attention before the photo was snapped. Most of them look like they were caught off guard.
Some of them don’t really look like the friendliest bunch of people ever caught on celluloid which makes me wonder why someone decided to enlarge this photo and put it up for every new comer to see. It’s as if they are trying to say, “Welcome to Amsterdam. Some of these people don’t like you.”
No one knows who these people are but after several months of passing this banner every day I think I have finally figured out the identities of a few of them.
1) Jeron van Marionet
Once Holland’s greatest ventriloquist, Jeron has been in denial about his failing eye sight for the past five years. Ironically this photo documents the exact moment that he walked directly into a lamppost.
2) Debby de Kostuum
Ever since the video of her failed Dutch Popstars addition attempt became a brief YouTube hit Debby has become convinced that everyone recognises her and wants her autograph. So far Debby has only signed one autograph which was for Jeron van Koberg who actually thought she was Marina Sirtis from Star Trek:TNG.
3) Bart de Landbouwer
He does not like city folk. He likes photographers even less ever since an unfortunate incident when a badly timed camera flash made his prize winning cow stampede during a farm show.
4) Joris van Zaken
A young Dutch business man, fresh out of college who dreams of making Febo a world wide phenomenon.
5) Jenny de Standbeeld
Either the world’s oldest living statue performer or a very confused old lady. She is still standing on exactly the same spot that she was when the photo was taken.
6) Debbie ‘Switchblade’ McShane and Jane ‘Shotgun’ McLain (Left to Right)
Friends since childhood, Switchblade and Shotgun later became Ireland’s most notorious criminals and were believed to be responsible for most of the bank robberies in the country during the 1940s and 50s. In 1959 they faked their own deaths in what looked like a bank robbery get away gone wrong. They retired to Holland.
Since the decline of Shotgun’s mental health Switchblade has been looking after her with the money remaining from their 20 year long crime wave which is believed to still be millions.
Since they were unexpectedly re-discovered in this photo a nation wide old ladies search has been under way by the Dutch and Irish police. It is worth noting that the photographer of this photo mysteriously disappeared shortly after it was taken.
7) The Stranger
I would tell you his name but even just knowing this simple fact would give you nightmares. If I told you his story you would never be able to sleep again, instead you would rock back and forth in a corner of your house muttering to yourself. His spooky, dead eyes seem to follow you around the street where ever you go from his photographic prison. There is only one thing you need to know about this man, one simple fact that you should remember when ever you look upon his celluloid image as you past central station, you can see it in his eyes; he… wants… to… murder… you… in… your… sleep.
Welcome to Amsterdam.