Alphabetical Movie Listings: Kruimeltje (The Netherlands, 1999?)

Figure 1.--

The orphaned Dutch boy and his fathful dog is one of the most beloved images to the people of the Netherlands. This contemporary film about an orphaned Dutch boy and his dog in the 1920s is based on a book by Chris van Abkoude. he also wrote Pietje Bell, the book every Dutch boy grew up with--that is before they all stopped reading and started playing computer games. The film was marketed in America under the English-language title Little Crum. It is set in 1921 and revolves around the Dicksonian experienes of Kruimeltje, an orphaned 10-year old boy.


Kruimeltje is a contemporary film about a Dutch boy in the 1920s. It is based on a book by one Chris van Abkoude, who also wrote Pietje Bell, the book every Dutch boy grew up with, that is before they all stopped reading and started playing computer games. Abcoude was born in Rotterdam. He served in the army and worked as a school teacher for 9 years. He became a journalist and then moved to the United States where he worked as a piano accompanist for silent films and a puppeteer. He then shifted to the field of magazine distribution at a location near his home in Almeda, California. Later in life, he founded a children's theatre company for which he both wrote and directed plays until his death in 1964. Van Abkoude served in the Dutch army when he wrote Pietje Bell and with the money that he earned, he left for the United States. There he wrote Kruimeltje ("Little Crumb") in 1921 which became the epitome of the Rotterdam street tyke. He died in 1964. Maria Peters directed the film. It is an enjoyable production, but ceratinly not a realistic depictin of the life of a street urchin. The costume designer is Bernadette Corstens.


Kruimeltje is played by Ruud Feltkamp. His guardian, Mrs. Koster, is played by Sacha Bulthuis. Kruimeltje's friend Keesie is played by Yannik van de Velde. The kindly grocer Wilkes is played by Hugo Haenen. There are excellent supporting actors. Dutch film legend John Kraaykamp Sr., plays a cameo role as the operator of the dog pound. Some critics have complained about Ruud Feltkamp's performance. Ruud himself performs well, but his "cuteness" masks the skills and larcenous behavior that a child woukld have needed to survice on the street. Ruud speaks, for example, perfect Duch that a poorly educated street irchin coulkd not have managed. This forces the film to adopt a Disneyesque rather than a realistic depiction of Kruimeltje's experieces.


It is 1921. Kruimeltje is an orphaned 10-year old Dutch boy. His uncaring guardian, Mrs. Koster, sends hom out on the streets during the ice cold winter to earn some money and earn his keep before. He can't return home until he gets some money to bring back. Kruimeltje was abandoned by his mother years earlier. Kruimeltje is a lonely child who passes the time with his best friend Keesie. Kruimeltje belueves that his mother has deserted him. He has created an idealized image of his father, although he knows practically nothing about either one of his parents. Mrs. Koster, his guardian, is the only person near him with any knowledge of the boy's past. Her mean-spirited approach hardly makes her a support figure capable of healing the boy's personal wounds.

Kruimeltje's street adventures constantly bring him into contact with both police and authorities. The authorities believe that he is responsible for all kinds of small street crimes. All kinds of people, like a window reapairman take advantage of him. Kruimeltje's only faithful companion seems to be Moor, the homeless mutt, who becomes attached to him when Kruimeltje protects him from a gang of nasty children throwing rocks at him.

Kruimeltje's situation appear to become even more serious when Mrs. Koster dies. Then the green grocer Herr Wilkes is the only adut to take a real interest in the boy and his future. He allows Kruimeltje to move into his home. In a Dicksonian surprise, Herr Wilkes happens to hold the answers to questions about that can reveal Kruimeltje's past.

He is sent to live a a sort of workhouse orphanidge. At the home he is picked on by an oaf of a bully who accuses him of stealing money. Kruimeltje receives a severe beating. At the home his longish hair is cut and he is given a short back and sides which makes him look a tad younger.

The boy's mother turns out to be a famous opera singer unknown to Kruimeltje though. A writer befriends him. At the end of the film he is reunited with both his mother and his father.


Kruimeltje mainly wears long pants in the film, but appaers in shorts near the end. I am not sure about the costume cahnge as wether it was at the orpanage, the writer's home, or finally while living with his mother, but I think it is the latter.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: December 20, 2001
Last updated: August 27, 2002