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As a boy he witnessed and took part in the local customs which unfolded in relentless succession during the course of the year.

at Pentecost when children were baptized to commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ.

Very likely, Johannes was born in the house which doubled as an inn (combined living and working quarters were the most common arrangement in seventeenth-century urban Netherlands) called "De Vliegende Vos" ("The Flying Fox") at Voldersgracht, northern from the Grote Markt (see image right).

However, in 1641, when he was nine years old, his family of four moved up in the world a to a larger tavern called "Mechelen," on the corner of Grote Markt and Oudemanhuissteeg even if it was only a few paces away (left).

It was not unusual for art dealers or even artists to run an inn or brewery like the great genre painter Jan Steen.

In 1654, Steen's father signed a contract to rent the brewery "De Roscam" at the Oude Delft for his son, which he had run until 1657, unfortunately with scarce success.

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However, all was not fun and laughter as the painted images would lead us to believe.

Heavy drinking, a little raillery gone too far, a wrong word at the wrong time were more than enough to excite temperaments and light a fire that was impossible to snuff out. A typical example of this kind of early Dutch realism is Adriaen Brouwer's , a subject which he repeated several times.

In front of rustic tavern, villagers and their children listen with rapt attention to a beggar playing a hurdy-gurdy while the reek of cheap drink and tobacco hang over the scene.

Even the innkeeper has been lured to the doorway to listen to a few notes of music.

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