Slauerhoff, Jan

BORN 14 Sep 1898, Leeuwarden, Friesland - DIED 5 Oct 1936, Hilversum, Noord-Holland: Villa Carla rest home
BIRTH NAME Slauerhoff, Jan Jacob
GRAVE LOCATION Driehuis-Velsen, Noord-Holland: Begraafplaats en Crematorium Westerveld, Duin en Kruidbergerweg 6 (Urnentuin, sectie 2-J 76 on top of a hill (urn with ashes))

Jan Slauerhoff grew up in Leeuwarden, Friesland. During his youth he suffered from attacks of asthma. In 1916 he moved to Amsterdam to study Medicine. During his studies he met the author Simon Vestdijk. His first poems were published in the student magazine Propria Cures. In 1919 he became engaged to bew married to the student Truus de Ruyter. In 1921 he started publishing his poetry in the literary magazine Het Getij. In 1923 his first volume of poetry "Archipel" was published. Around that time his engagement to Truus ended.

He hadn't taken part in the regular student life and this made it difficult him to find a position in the mediacal profession after completion of his studies. He decided to work as a medical doctor on board of ships that sailed to the Dutch East Indies, but during his first trip his asthma returned and he suffered from stomach bleeding. He was forced to return to the Netherlands where he worked as an observer in medical practices.

After returning to the sea he sailed to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Japan. In 1928 he went to Latin America. His health was better now and he published several volumes of poettry until 1930 with the help of his friend E. du Perron. In 1929 he returned to the Netherlands for a longer time. He married the dancer Darja Collin in 1930. In 1931 his health failed him again and he went Merano for a cure. His wife followed him and in 1932 they had a stillborn son.

In 1932 he joined the Holland-West Africa Line but his ill health didn't go away. In 1934 he opened a medical practice in Tangier because he expected the climate to be better for his health, but in October of that year he was back in the Netherlands. By that time he novels "The Forbidden Empire" (1932) and "Life on Earth" (1934) had increased his reputation as an author. In 1935 he returned to the sea, but he also divorced Darja. During a trip to South Africa he contracted malaria on top of his tuberculosis. He went to Merano again, but to no avail. He returned to the Netherlands, where he died in 1936 in a rest home in Hilversum.

His work attracted more attention after his death than during his life and a committee was founded that published his complete works between 1941 and 1958.


The grave of Jan Slauerhoff at Begraafplaats en Crematorium Westerveld, Driehuis-Velsen.
Picture by Androom (25 Jun 2020)


Slezak, Margarete

Published: 19 Jul 2020
Last update: 19 Jul 2020