Trash Toys



If one sees a toy made of trash, the first thing one could think is: that it was made by a boy, who lives in some shanty town in some third world country and hasn’t had a 2500 kilo-calorie food day, all his live. But, non other than a former NRC editor-in-chief, actually does the same: making toys from trash.

Henk Hofland (1927), writer/journalist/inventor, never kept one: ‘All the cars and boats I’ve made, drove or sailed off or I just gave them away’. Hofland, whose newspaper columns are described by Mulisch as pulp, makes these toys all his live. The 80 year old boy found his material on the street. One of the Journalist-Of-The-Century (2001) creations is a sailing cart, made from a plastic bag and empty (‘non-alcoholic contained’) aluminum tin cans. The found materials are cleverly connected together by pieces of metal wire.

‘Nowadays, if I get one of those folders of the Intertoys in my mailbox, I find all the toys in there ugly. That whilst you can make wonderful things by what is lying on the street. I saw once a plastic bag being shoved over the asphalt through the wind and I thougt: there goes a sail, without wheels. You have to observe, than you learn to find.’

By sending an email to, you can get a full do-it-yourself manual, for your very own, sailing-cart.


– NRC, d.d. September 29, 2007, page 28, picture by Maurice Boyer

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Toon Verberg