Wit, Jan

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Wit, Jan Gender: M
born on 7 July 1914 at 06:00 (= 06:00 AM )
Place Nijmegen, Netherlands, 51n50, 5e51
Timezone LST m4e53 (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Koppejan
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 14°15' s_mo.18.gif s_capcol.18.gif 09°47 Asc.s_leocol.18.gif 07°49'


Dutch blind theologian, priest-poet, masseur and hymnist.

The Protestant pastor and poet Jan Wit was born nearly blind in the Catholic University city Nijmegen. The oldest Roman city of Holland lost its historical heart during an bombardment of the Allied Forces on 22 February 1944, whose pilots accidentally mistook it for a German city Gotha. More than 760 people were killed. Jan Wit stayed then save in Utrecht, waiting for the end of the war so that he could end his study of Protestant theology. His home city was again destroyed during operation Market Garden (September 1944), when Nijmegen became a battle city and at least 900 civilians lost their lives. But from 1948 to 1967 he would come back as a pastor and healer in this wounded city.

As a modern psalmist he wrote in hymne 432:3, as an by many acknowledged blind "poet of the light": "Wat God doet, dat is welgedaan, daar laat ik het bij blijven. Al moet ik door de engten gaan waar mij de dood zal drijven- als God mij leidt kan ik de tijd van duisternis verdragen; ik zal zijn licht zien dagen." The editor cannot translate his words without destroying the hymn, but it essentially deals with the acceptance of whatever happens in your life and the deep irrational hope that you still may be grounded as part of His Universal laws. The original Protestant hymn "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" stemmed from Samuel Rodigast (19 October 1649, Gröben/ Jena - 19 March 1708, Berlin).

Jan Wit (Wit means "white") was the only son of Cornelis Wit (5 July 1883, Hoorn - 27 October 1943, Utrecht), teacher at the school for teachers ("Kweekschool") and Lijntje Geertruida Kommerina de Baan (3 Aug 1882, Maasland - 27 April 1919, Maasland) who married 12 May 1910 at Maasland. His only sister was Nelleke Wit (2 July 1911, Nijmegen - 25 Nov 1973, Arnhem).

At age six, a year after the tragic death of his mother, Jan Wit was sent to the Protestant Institute for blind children "Barthimeus" in Zeist. At that time he had "glass eyes" as many operations nor medicine could cure them. In 1931 he went to the "Instituut tot Onderwijs voor Blinden" first at Amsterdam, later in Bussum. Here he followed diverse courses that prepared him for a suitable occupation and role in society: regular education, MULO school, classical languages, Esperanto (1933), stenography (1934), gymnastics and massage (1937) and music (1938, organist). He had a poor sight, but was very keen and gifted with a fabulous memory. In 1940 he graduated for the Gymnasium-alfa exam and started the study of theology at Utrecht (sept 1940). After the closure of Dutch universities he wrote poetry for the surrealistic monthly "De schone zakdoek". His first bundle "Bottende knoppen" (begin 1945) was illegal press published without permission of the "Kulturkammer" censorship.

After the war he finished his study theology in 1947. He then spent a year in Paris on the "Faculté Libre de Théologie Protestante" to improve his French to become a Wallonian preacher. From 1948 till 1967 he was the pastor of the "Waalse Gemeente" (French speaking Church) in Nijmegen. Meanwhile he published poetry like "Rites de passage" (A'dam 1950) and drama for outdoor theatre and the Ikor (Ikon) television. With friends like the poet Guillaume van der Graft (Willem Barnard, 1920), he became a major contributor the "Liedboek de kerken" of 1973 that was used by both the Catholic and Protestant churches in the socio-economic compartmentalised ("verzuild") Netherlands. In the sixties and seventies the in many different brands split up Christian churches ("iedere ketter zijn letter") quickly lost members and to survive the Ecumenical movement tried to re-connect Christians with each other and their common roots. In this process blind poets with essential texts about life, belief, love and death like Jan Wit and Jules de Corte, appealed much more to the public than the dogmatic theologians debating about the them separating theorems.

In 1960 the by Christians celebrated blind poet Jan Wit posted an too explicit version of the outstanding / erected "Song of Songs" on Dutch television: "Wanneer ik zien kon nu, zou ik van alle meisjes weten (...) hoe de wind met hun rokken speelt (...) inzicht en uitzicht op benen en borsten. Ik keek ze de kleren van het lijf. (...) Dan werd mijn pik pas stijf." Jan Wit had no problem with seeing the phenomenon of human sexuality as a gift of G'd, but many Christians were still hesitant.

He went early in emirate, as his more profane modern poetry seemed offensive to the morals of the Protestant church. But on 27 June 1967 he got an honorary doctorate in Groningen and from 1969 to 1979 a lectureship in hymnology. This unexpected acknowledgement inspired him in difficult times.


Jan Wit on 10 Jan 1949 married the teacher classical languages Johanna Post (28 March 1918, Naarden - 1 Jan 1993, Ede). She helped him a lot to pass his exams. They got a son Marc (1949) and a daughter Mirjam (1951). But he divorced 27 Jan 1970 and married on 19 June 1970 in Oosterbeek Johanna Cornelia Ribbers (29 March 1933, Nijmegen - 22 Jan 2003, Groningen). They got no children. He died 26 August 1980 in Groningen. His friend Willem Barnard held the funeral speech.

Link to Dutch Wikipedia


  • Social : Institutionalized - prison, hospital 1920 in Zeist (Blind children's institute)
  • Relationship : Marriage 10 January 1949 in Naarden (Johanna Post)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1950 in Amsterdam (Rites de passage)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1962 in Amsterdam (Revalidatie)
  • Work : Prize 27 June 1967 in Groningen (honorary doctorate)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Marriage 19 June 1970 in Oosterbeek (Johanna Cornelia Ribbers)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Sibling 25 November 1973 in Arnhem (only sibling Nelleke Wit)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death, Cause unspecified 26 August 1980 in Groningen
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1982 in Baarn (Terwijl ik wacht wat mij de wereld doet. Verzamelde gedichten.)

Source Notes

Koppejan quotes Municipal Archive in "Beeldgids van de dierenriem" for 6h00 AM.

Jan Wit, de blinde dichter van het licht

Wit, Jan (1914-1980) - Resources - KNAW


  • Traits : Mind : Education extensive (Till 1948, when he started preaching in the French language (1948-1967).)
  • Traits : Personality : Humorous, Witty
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Eyes (born blind, got glass eyes at six, later called poet of the light)
  • Vocation : Healing Fields : Alternative methods (blind masseur)
  • Vocation : Religion : Ecclesiastics/ western (Protestant pastor)
  • Vocation : Writers : Playwright/ script
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet (hymns and poems)
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Verbal skills (poet-preacher, gifted with a great memory)