BORN 21 Jul 1902, Naarden - DIED 2 Jan 1990, Groningen
BIRTH NAME Schönfeld Wichers, Herman Pieter
GRAVE LOCATION Rijssen: Oude Algemene Begraafplaats (5 A 28)

Belcampo's real name was Herman Pieter Schönfeld Wichers. He admired E.T.A. Hoffmann and because of that he used Hoffmann's character Belcampo as his own pen name.

He was born in Naarden but the family moved to Rijssen in 1906. There he spent his youth before he went to school in Almelo. In 1918 he suffered from tuberculosis and he took cures for three years. In 1921 he started studying law in Amsterdam and in 1927 he moved to that city.

In 1922 he started writing stories, mostly of a fantastic and bizarre nature. In 1933 and 1934 he travelled in Europe and the letters he sent home where the basis for his book "De Zwerftocht" (1938). In 1939 he married his first wife Joke. They had three children.

He worked as a physician in Bathmen from 1949 onwards and from 1953 until his retirement in 1967 he was a physician for students in Groningen. In 1956 he received the Marianne Philips prize and in 1958 he wrote his best known work "Het grote gebeuren", situated in Rijssen where he spent his youth. It describes the apocalypse in an ironic way and he offended the strictly Christian village of Rijssen immensily.

During the next years he wrote more stories and his house was always open to literary friends like Vasalis, Gerard Reve and W.F. Hermans. He died in 1990 in Groningen but he was buried in Rijssen next to his father.

Related persons
• admired Hoffmann, Ernst Theodor Amadeus
• was visited by Vasalis, Maria


The grave of Belcampo at the Oude Algemene Begraafplaats, Rijssen.
Picture by Androom (Nov 2008)


• Heessen, Hans, Harry Jansen & Ed Schilders, Waar ligt Poot?, De Prom, Baarn, 1997

Bell, Henry Thomas Mackenzie

Published: 25 Dec 2015
Last update: 28 Dec 2015