Nijhoff, Martinus

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Nijhoff, Martinus Gender: M
born on 20 April 1894 at 01:00 (= 01:00 AM )
Place Den Haag, Netherlands, 52n05, 4e19
Timezone LST m4e53 (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Koppejan
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 29°55' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 28°44 Asc.s_capcol.18.gif 08°25'

Martinus Nijhoff


Dutch poet, translator, critic and essayist.

Martinus was the eldest child of the publisher and book seller Wouter Nijhoff (19 November 1866, Den Haag, Den Haag - 11 January 1947, Den Haag) and Johanna Alida Seijn (21 March 1870, Roermond - 9 September 1927, Renkum), who became a Salvationist. They married 21 September 1892 in Den Haag and got four children. His grandfather Martinus Nijhoff (26 December 1826, Arnhem - 24 September 1894, Den Haag) established the still existing "Martinus Nijhoff Publishers“ and the liberal paper "Het Vaderland" in Den Haag.

Nijhoff followed the the Gymnasium Hagarum where he met Victor van Vriesland. He studied Law in Amsterdam and as an established poet Letters in Utrecht. From 1914 to 1915 he was editor of Propria Cures and in 1916 he published his first poetry bundle "De wandelaar" (the wanderer). In 1924 he published "Vormen" (Forms), for which he got the Prize of Amsterdam in 1925.

He became a leading Dutch poet: His poem "Awater" in the bundle "Nieuwe gedichten" (1934) was considered by Joseph Brodsky as one of the greatest poems of the 20th century: "Ik zoek een reisgenoot. Wees hier aanwezig, allereerste geest, die over wateren van aanvang zweeft." Later interpretations laid a connection with the Higher Self of the poet Dèr Mouw (Advaita) whose work he knew via his friend Victor van Vriesland.

Other classical poems from Nijhoff were "Het Uur U" (H Hour, 1936), "De Moeder de Vrouw" (The Mother the Woman/Wife). He wrote the libretto of the opera Halewijn by composer Willem Pijper (1932-34). His work stands between the l'art pour l'art poetry of the Tachtigers and existentialism.

Nijhoff was also a distinguished translator of Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, C.F. Ramuz, Euripides and others. His own work has been translated in 9 European languages. The Martinus Nijhoff award for translations (1953) into and from Dutch is named is named after him. The yearly awarded translator gets 35000 euro from the Prince Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

In 1953 he got posthumously the Constantijn Huygens Price for his work.


Under the pressure of his family Nijhoff married on 16 May 1916 the pregnant Antoinette Hendrika "Netty" Wind (9 June 1897, Den Haag - 22 May 1971, Den Haag), a girl who sat few classes below him. Netty lost her father 4 July 1898 with the sinking of the SS La Bourgogne. She became a writer who wrote under the name A.H. Nijhoff. Their son W.S."Faan" Nijhoff (28 augustus 1916, Teteringen - 10 december 1986, Lausanne) became a photographer, who published under the name Stephen Storm. They often lived separated, as Nijhoff preferred a bohemian life, drinking and dancing in Laren. Netty moved with her son to Paris, asked Man Ray to teach her son and later got an affair with a woman Maria Tesi in Italy with whom she ran a pension in Settignano. They divorced 11 Augustus 1950. He remarried on 3 April 1952 Marcelle Georgette Hagedoorn, an actress and singer. They got no children.

Nijhoff died suddenly on 26 January 1953 in Den Haag of an heart attack. On his sober funeral 4 days later his sister quoted his translation of Psalm 150: "Hef, bazuin, uw gouden stem".

Link to German Wikipedia


  • associate relationship with Pijper, Willem (born 8 September 1894). Notes: Nijhoff wrote the libretto of the opera Halewijn
  • (has as) teacher relationship with Dèr Mouw, Johan Andreas (born 24 July 1863). Notes: Awater was inspired by Dèr Mouw (Advaita)


  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1916 (De wandelaar)
  • Relationship : Marriage 16 May 1916 in Den Haag (Antoinette Hendrika "Netty" Nijhoff Wind)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Family : Adopted a child 28 August 1916 in Breda (W.S. "Faan" Nijhoff)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1934 in Utrecht (Awater)
  • Relationship : Marriage 3 April 1952 (Marcelle Georgette Hagedoorn)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Koppejan quotes Municipal Archive for 20 April 1894 1h00 AM Den Haag in Beeldgids van de dierenriem.

Martinus Nijhoff · dbnl


  • Traits : Personality : Private
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Heart disease/attack
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Friends (bohemian lifestyle, neglected his family)
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet
  • Vocation : Writers : Translator (Martinus Nijhoff award for translations (1953))
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Languages (major poet and translator)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession (poet)