30 years of Atari collecting: this is the collection of Atarimuseum.nl!
My name is Fred, 44 years old and I live in Schiedam, The Netherlands. I collect Atari since 1985. In that year I got my first Atari homecomputer as a present from my grandmother. I was slightly dissapointed, because all my friends owned a Commodore 64, but that computer was a bit too expensive. So I got an Atari 800 XL with a 1010 data-recorder which was on sale at the “Kijkshop” for just 399 guilders (about € 180 ). In the packet was an audio cassette. Meta de Vries (Dutch radio presenter) gave me an introduction of approximately 1 hour and after that I started typing and created my first Basic programm.
Later on I found out that cassettes were for sale at a small number of stores. In Rotterdam was a big store, called Telekoder, where you could buy these cassettes. And I bought a lot of them! That was the start of my collection. In the local bookstore I found several magazines a.o. Atari Magazine (Dutch) and Atari User (UK). I sunscribed to the Dutch Atari Magazine and for several years I was a happy reader. But then in 1989 Atari Magazine stopped and I had to look for a new magazine (yes, there was no internet back then!). I came in contact with John (TML) who just started Pokey’s Magazine. I visited him to get a stereo upgrade for my computer. We started talking and before I knew it, I was part of Stichting Pokey (The Pokey Foundation) who published the magazine. I wrote many articles and later on I did the layout of the paper version and became a member of the directors. In the meantime John started a software company called ANG Software.
ANG Software bought 17 pallets of Atari items from Atari Europe when they filed for bankruptcy. ANG became the proud owner of thousands of Atari games, hundreds of consoles, computers and pheripherals. Beside this enormous stock pile, John also made an arrangement with Polish software distributor Mirage. ANG was allowed to publish Mirage’s games in Western Europe. We went to many shows and meetings in The Netherlands, Germany and the UK. At first other companies thought we were a strange bunch of people with lots of items and very very low prices (other companies thought our prices were too low). But after a few years everyone knew everyone and we had a great time. At almost every show we visit, I bought hardware and software for my own collection. In Stafford (UK) the Tyne and Wear User Group (TWAUG) knew that I collect software, so every time I visited the AMS I got bags full of cassettes tapes from TWAUG for free!
In 1997 we stopped with ANG Software and Stichting Pokey. the number of Atari users in The Netherlands was around 50 and that was too low. Also in the rest of Europe there was not enough interest to carry on. From that moment I cherished my collection and until today I am still looking for nice finds to add to my collection. Now these days the Atari retro scene is more alive than ever before!