The first generation

Beginning in 1946, immediately after the war, Frieda Struyk settled as a midwife at Staten Bolwerk number 10. It was here that the current practice “Bolwerk” began.

Frieda was eccentric. Former clients remember her as the woman with the cigar, often dressed in knickers and driving an Ugly Duckling. She was always accompanied by a dog, and in recent years, by three wayward Dachshunds. Frieda had a heart of gold and was ready day and night, for truly everyone. For years, for example, she provided shelter for single mothers in her own home.

Special consultation hour

On Sundays, Frieda held a special consultation hour for immigrant women who had difficulty getting time off from work during the week. Sundays were a sweet treat. No set appointments and often in the garden, where the leaves of the grapevine were picked to make Dolma’s.

Working hard

For over thirty years, Frieda worked as a solo obstetrician. In 1979, she looked for a buddy. That became Marja Brakman, who helped Joyce into the world and was active in the practice until 2022. Marja and Frieda formed a close couple. They worked hard: one week of duty, one week of consulting hours and a weekend off once every two weeks. They also regularly worked for other practices in the region as well!

By the way, the whole obstetric care in those days was incomparable to now. In four hospitals at that time, you could still give birth on an outpatient basis, and each hospital had its own atmosphere and character, also to be attractive to midwives. For example, one hospital offered the option of giving birth in the bathtub, while in other hospitals the midwifes performed breech deliveries together with the gynecologists.

Thirty years of experience

In 1985, Frieda retired and Josseline Dahler took her place. When Marja had her first child and Josseline also became pregnant shortly thereafter, a third colleague was necessary. Practice work could be hectic, especially with the combination of motherhood. Cell phones did not yet exist, hence the range of colorful stories and unexpected events from that period.

Several midwives passed through the years, but Marja and Josseline remained as a common thread. They would eventually work together for 30 years, until Josseline’s retirement in 2016 and Marja Brakman’s in 2022.

Permanent team of three

In 2008, the practice literally moved up one door, to house number 8. Other faithful midwives appeared. For example, Nienke has been working in the practice since 2000 and Joyce has been active since 2009. The latest addition is Sophie as a co-owner (since 2019), so there is now a permanent team of three midwives. Bolwerk is a practice bursting with history. The arc from Frieda to today’s practice spans more than 75 years!