Laatste update op 8 May 2020

Venice, following in the footprints of Willem de Mérode

Love of art, culture and music

Helma (in Barcelona ...)People who heard of the Dutch writer/poet Willem de Mérode, are undoubtedly aware of his infatuation with art, culture and music, besides literature. His interest in Venice came to life when he was still young, and eventually he visited the city twice despite his bad health. According to his biographer, his last visit to Venice must have been one of the most fulfilling experiences in his life. If you want to know more about this poet, read the article Who was Willem de Mérode ».

Fusion of art en poetry

In september 2010 I visited Venice for the third time in my life. When I was touring through the Doges Palace, a painting of San Cristoforo attracted my attention. It immediately reminded me of the poem Christophorus » of Willem de Mérode. I realised that he could have been sitting on the steps of that very same stairs, maybe inspired to write the poem at that particular spot. In September 2012 I learned that that cannot be the case, since that part of the palace was not yet open to public when he visited Venice for the first time (he wrote the poem before he went back), but anyway … This instance lead directly to my intention of assembling a book in which I link Venice and De Mérode. In this book I link his poems to locations, persons and art in Venice. Jan G.P. Best, author of the book ‘Het Byblosschrift ontcijferd’ (the byblos script deciphered) got me on this track when we discussed the website for his book.

Book and website

A lot of people who know I work on the book, regularly ask me about the status quo. The making of this website was caused by their interest. Now I am able to inform everyone about the proceedings. Unfortunately the poems are in Dutch and only a few have been translated. So if you did not master the Dutch language, you will be not able to interpret the poems. Sorry about that. Nevertheless you will probably find enough interesting information. Sometimes I did an attempt, however, please take into account that I dit not study English; these translation are merely an attempt to catch the drift of the poems of De Mérode. If you should have any suggestions to improve a translation, please feel free to email me. This is how I go about website and book: I link with a wink. There is no heavy material and what I present is purely from my perception. It is my intention to keep things simple and enjoyable for a large audience (at any case also for persons who are not really interested in poetry). If you get to know Venice a little better, and you are challenged to look at it in another way, then I reached my objective.

Why Willem de Mérode?

In 1996/1997 I developed the website ». Back then, my parents managed two small musea in their home: one with needlework, the other concerning Willem de Mérode. The housing of the museum was initiated by the biographer of Willem de Mérode: Hans Werkman. After some snooping around when I spent a weekend at my parents, I hungered for more. Although biographer Hans Werkman his primary interest in Willem de Mérode, I was inspired by his story. His life intriges me and I am greatful for the enormous amount of work that Hans Werkman executed to get the extensive biography on paper. In fact, he is the one that directed me to Willem de Mérode. I developed the website as digital information center, linked to the museum. Although the museum does not exist anymore, I kept the website and I am still maintaining it with pleasure. There is, however, a small permanent exposition of items of Willem de Mérode in Uithuizermeeden nowadays.

This website provides you with all kind of information about Willem de Mérode, about Venetië, about paintings, legends, locations and person. Through various small facts and oddities, you will get to know Venice better. A book is the goal, but first of all it is my objective to offer everyone an option to read about Venice and De Mérode in a relaxing way. From out of your lazy chair. Have fun!

Helma de Boer

Overview of poems of De Mérode, translated in English bij Hans Osinga

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