“Godfried Bomans is een beetje van ons.”
“Godfried Bomans belongs to us for a bit.”
Last Saturday, our mayor Jozias van Aartsen unveiled this beautiful blue plaque at the Bierkade 2a in the city centre to commemorate that Godfried Bomans (Den Haag, 2 March 1913 – Bloemendaal, 22 December 1971) was born at the exact spot where his family’s house used to be a hundred years ago. The blue plaque was obviously inspired by the London plaques.
Den Haag is famously connected to a number of Dutch authors, like Sir Constantine Huygens, Baruch Spinoza and Louis Couperus. Due to the fact that Godfried Bomans moved to the Haarlem area shortly after his birth, not many Hagenaars were aware that he actually belonged to this illustrious list as well. In his radio programme Uit! Omroep West presenter Rogier remarks that due to the new memorial plaque in Den Haag, Godfried Bomans is now finally “een beetje van ons.”
Bomans was a very popular author and television & radio personality. His style reminds somewhat of witty artists like Stephen Fry and Oscar Wilde. Although Bomans is one of the most widely read authors in the Netherlands, he never received any official award during his lifetime. However, his popular children’s novel Erik, of het klein insectenboek (1939) – which was translated as Eric in the Land of the Insects (published Boston, 1994) – is this year’s national reading book. It will be distributed for free by all Dutch libraries, so don’t forget to pick one up for your own children (or just for you). The book has inspired the film Erik of het klein insectenboek (2004). In autumn our filmclub will probably show this film at the public library.
Not many of Bomans’ fairy tales or phantasy novels- were translated into English. So you have to learn Dutch to read your own copy. You know where!
Image source: Omroep West