Deken, Agatha

BORN 10 Dec 1741, Amstelveen, Noord-Holland - DIED 14 Nov 1804, Den Haag, Zuid-Holland
GRAVE LOCATION Scheveningen, Zuid-Holland: Begraafplaats Ter Navolging, Corner of Scheveningseweg and Duinstraat (cleared (bones transported to mass grave 100))

Agatha ('Aagje') Deken lost her parents in 1754 and was raised in an orphanage in Amsterdam. After she left it in 1767 she worked for several families before she started a coffee and tea business. She became a member of the Baptist community in Amsterdam in 1769.

Around 1770 she went to live with her friend Maria Bosch, for whom she worked as a nurse. They wrote poems together and a volume of them was publised in 1775, two years after Maria's death.

In 1776 she started a correspondence with the writer Betje Wolff and after Betje's husband died they in 1777 started living together. When Deken inherited 13.000 guilders they could afford themselves a mansion in Beverwijk. They wrote together and their novel "'De Historie van mejuffrouw Sara Burgerhart" (1782, "The History of Miss Sara Burgerhart") was a success.

Because of their patriotic sympathies they thought it best to move to France in 1788. After living in Trévoux near Lyons for nine years their financial situation forced them to returned to the Netherlands in 1797 and they lived in the Hague until they both died in November, 1804.

Related persons
• was a friend of Wolff, Elizabeth


The plaque for Elizabeth Wolf and Agatha Deken at the Ter Navolging cemetery, The Hague.
Picture by Androon (19 Jan 2003)


Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
Wikipedia (EN):

Del Lungo, Isidoro

Published: 30 May 2010
Last update: 04 Jan 2022