Conscience, Hendrik

BORN 3 Dec 1812, Antwerpen - DIED 10 Sep 1883, Brussel: Ixelles
CAUSE OF DEATH stomach disease
GRAVE LOCATION Antwerpen: Schoonselhof, Sint-Bernardsesteenweg, Hoboken (perk T, bij ingang, zicht westkant, stadsmonument (erekerkhof))

Hendrik Conscience was the son of a French ship carpenter and a German mother. He was a weak child, but he managed to reach a position as an assistant teacher. In 1830 he joined the army, but it was too tough for him and he left in 1836.

He started writing, at first in French, but soon in Dutch. His "De Leeuw van Vlaanderen" (1838, "The Lion of Flanders") was important for the Flamish national consciousness. In 1841 he married Maria Peinen. At that time he worked for the Academy of Fine Arts. His radicalism faded and he started writing rural novels. In 1859 he became the conservator of the Wiertz museum in Brussels. Shortly before he died in 1883 a statue was erected for him in Antwerp.

He was buried at Schoonselhof in Antwerpen and on his monument is the inscription 'he learned his people to read'.


The grave of Hendrik Conscience at the Schoonselhof, Antwerpen.
Picture by Androom (27 Jul 2002)


Plaque for Hendrik Conscience at the house in Brussels where he died. It was also the former studio of the painter Wiertz.
Picture by Androom (27 Apr 2007)


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

Constable, John

Published: 19 Dec 2009
Last update: 02 May 2022