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Jan van Eden

Biography - Chronological 

family tree back to the 16th century



42_foto_geboorte.jpg (7338 bytes)16th march 1942

On the 16th born in Voorburg, The Netherlands, on 16th March. The first son from the mariage of the schoolteacher Guurtje Bolding (Wormerveer, 1910-) and the civil servant Cornelis van Eden (Krommenie 1909-).

On March 16, Mr. and Mrs. VAN EDEN-BOLDING were pleased to announce the birth of their firstborn JAN GERRIT, temporary address: St. Antoniushove, Oosteinde Voorburg. Half the world was very impressed and the parents were congratulated by many. My grandfather Willem Bolding, who lives in Heiloo, was informed by telephone. He immediately sent his wife Antje Goedhart with congratulations and a letter. He says, among other things, "When you have full confidence in God's actions, you will certainly be given the strength to watch and work for the youngest born; a full ancestor of the Eden family - Jan Gerrit. Of course a lot is coming in these days financial costs, we thought we could share in this and put an amount of money in this envelope. " Grandfather Jan Gerrit van Eden and his wife Anna Waagmeester sent their congratulations by Express and came to visit Voorburg that same week. There were congratulations from the pedagogue Prof. Martien Langeveld with the remark that a birth is at the same time giving up and taking possession and he writes "that parenting assumes a disinterestedness of a whole phase of life and that marriage and child education are the two greatest cultural-creating powers in the human soul."

There are also congratulatory letters reminding us of the war: "We have had to endure a severe ordeal in recent months. On January 26, we were told that we had to leave our home within three days and the Germans moved in it. [], Our belongings spread over eight different addresses. My library, carefully arranged and ordered, fragmented and almost inaccessible for me. Myself under the care of very sweet people. "In another letter from Aunt Trein and Uncle Jan from Alkmaar the following was stated with regard to on the situation in 1942: "How did you get on with the cold, did you get or do you now receive extra rations of fuel and food. We have been almost without fuel for a day, but we received a coupon from the neighbors Bruin,of which we have already used more than a week, so it has already largely been burned, but now again we have the announcement of an other ration, but the coal merchant would supply only half of that to help his customers as much as possible, up till now we have not received anything.

Our Mayor v. Kinschot has already been fired and 400 civilians have to keep watch for 2 hours at night because an electricity cable has been cut, for which NLG 25,000 and NLG 50,000 have already been fined and now we will probably have to pay NLG 100,000 for the latter case.  So we will have to make a lot of sacrifices. In the same letter, Aunt Trein promises to make a jacket and a cap for the little one and hopes that this can win the approval of the parents. From the staff of the Central Bureau of Statistics, where my father held the position of chief of the department for education statistics, there was a very varied bouquet of flowers that my mother kept with her until the last day of her hospital stay.

My father informed the staff that by a fortunate circumstance, my mother would have the opportunity on April 7 to entertain the staff with tea and cakes, adding that rusk with "mice" [mice were rose or blue coloured grains of sweet anise] was an unattainable treat.
Finally my parents received a 'Herzlichen Gluckwunsch' from the Tekath-Fungerlings family from Oberhausen. My father had met them during his work for a Dutch employment office there, a few years before the war broke out. The envelope had been censored by the " Wehrmacht" , opened and an annex was seized. Moreover, I now see that the stamp with an image of Hitler was pasted upside down on the envelope, would that be a coincidence ?




30-7-42.jpg (5857 bytes)30-7-1942

Myself in the crib, watching a crocheted wool or cotton-filled ball hanging down from the hood by a string. Perhaps this is the origin of the ball-shaped objects that appear in my paintings in the seventies in a similar perspective. Now that I start to pay attention, many situations from my earliest childhood unconsciously return in my paintings.


In a letter of 25th October to Lena and Jan Goedhart in Wormerveer, my mother thanked for a shipment of apples [Goudreinet] and then continued with a comment about me: "It will be a real bad boy, scrambling that he does, it is just terrible. The playpen is now gone, he climbed over over the railing, while his feet were still tied together. Kees has now turned a screw in the middle of the room floor, a rope on it, and Hummel [that's me] is standing there tied up in the morning. Everything out of his reach, except the windows and Boy [the dog] He is having a good time and at least I have my hands free It made me desperate, I had to keep an eye on him constantly, and talking to him or beating him, he doesn't care yet Whether it's because of Boy that he gets so rowdy, I don't know… Boy is a loyal buddy to him,they are always looking for each other and Jan Gerrit can do anything with him.
When Boy is sleeping peacefully in his chair, JG puts a footstool on top of him and stands on it himself. Boy gives a snarl, but you never have to worry that he will bite him. Reading this I remember a story from my mother that she once, upon entering the living room, on the other side of the window she saw me standing, this is on the windowsill on the outside, now it was not that high, a first floor, but still! The tendency to pile things up is probably a very universal human trait, but I am very aware of it and  I still use it often in compositions of my paintings.


1942 - 1943 My family and my mother Guus in particular had something with numbers and seeing my pram on the picture, it reminds me of the eventuality that it was used four times, exclusively for babies born on the 16th of March. For me and three years later for my sister (both of us born on the 16th March). One or two years later it was lend to our housekeeper  Miep for her baby born on a 16th of March. Scarce as these goods were in the 50ties the pram was stored and when my niece Annie had her first born son she used the same pram once again. Piet Glijnis was born on the 16th of March 1952.




1942 - 1943  van Duvenvoordelaan 60, Voorburg
De eerste stappen met mijn moeder





In the last months of 1944 or in the beginning of 1945, my father was ordered by order of the German armed forces to report for the labor deployment in Germany. My father, like most men in the Van Duvenvoordelaan, refused, and on the offending day only one or two men stood by the street to be picked up. So my father was forced to go into hiding, and a shelter had to be found. We had two en-suite rooms in Voorburg with a stained glass sliding door in between with a cupboard next to the sliding door and above the sliding doors there was a space that was only accessible from the side in the top part of this cupboard. During possible raids and house searches, they took the planks out of the closet, so that my father could scramble up and hide in the empty space above the sliding doors, after which my mother would put the planks back. In the meantime, my mother always had a plate of porridge to make it impossible for me to talk, because a three-year-old could of course say the wrong things. In fact, only one search was done and they had time to prepare. My mother tells me that a friendly young German soldier came up the stairs and had a little conversation with her, where my mother explained that my father was traveling for work. Meanwhile, I was stuck in the red high chair painted with Hindeloop's motif and she fed me with a spoonful of porridge. The soldier looked at it and asked me "schmeckt das gut", to which I could not answer. The soldier took my mother's story as it came without further searching the house. Our neighbour was painted in bed with a deadly, contagious disease and that also ended well. The soldiers were not interested in making it difficult for people.


[Photo 1942] Hummel (as it was they called me at the time) in Hindeloopen designs-decorated children's chairs. Of course it was not during the search, but for at least one or two years before.




We lived under the firing range of the V2s that were fired at London, they flew over with a howling sound and as long as you heard that it was safe, but woe to the projectiles of which the rocket engine stopped.

February 28th Nearby strike of an airborne bomb causes damage to the elderly home, but nobody of the family is hurt. Damages such as a chipped frame of a large watercolour by Cees Bolding were a constant reminder of the incident. The work in the original damaged frame is hanging in my study at Singel 100. The effects, particularly the shattered windows of the home caused a deep and lasting impression on me. It transformed our home because my father used the interior doors to barricade the broken windows. 

Geoff, a collegue of mine with comparable work experience in Zambia and Saudi Arabia, sent me a narrative of his adventures as a young boy with the overflying V1 and V2 assault in the UK.


Birth of my sister Beatrijs, on my third birthday, 16th March.

My father keeps a diary of events during my stay with family in Wormerveer (Noorddijk, where I was evacuated because of food shortages at home:

March 1: Aunt Aagje writes, that Uncle Wijbrand and Annie [his daughter] intend to come and get JG by bicycle, because transfers must be considered too dangerous for the father himself because of his age (under 40 years). There are still raids for labor in Germany every day. Aunt A. writes that JG does not need to bring any coupons and food because of the famine that prevails in the city.

March 10th: late at night, i.e. around 8 o'clock, Uncle W. and An arrive. They first fear, when they see how all the houses on the street are blinded because of the bomb hit on February 28, 10 meters away from our house, they will not find anyone. The fear turns out to be unfounded: people live behind the shelves and interior doors placed in front of the windows.

JG soon indicates that he does not feel like going with that "man" and that "aunt"! When he hears that there is a cat in Wormerveer, he is already reconciled with the plan.

The next morning the cat turns out to be the deciding factor. JG wants to come along, is even somewhat afraid that the man and the aunt will leave without him. After Uncle W. and An have taken a look at the Bezuidenhoutkwartier, which was ravaged on the 3rd of March, around half past nine they start the trip. JG dressed in an astrakhan jacket that his mother had made from an old fur coat of her own. Uncle W. and An with their cousin were accompanied to Voorschoten. JG takes a lot of goodbyes to say goodbye to mom, Aunt Til (Zonnevijlle) [our neighbour] and his bosom friend Henk. He keeps himself firm when his father returns. He does turn red, but incidentally he controls himself and now it goes on the back of the bike of uncle Wijbrand to the Zaan.


March 12: Annie writes that they arrived at Wormerveer at half past five the previous day. JG does not show symptoms of homesickness. The first stop had been at the pharmacist Happe in Oegstgeest, where JG received a cup of warm milk. Then they visited a café in Hillegom. They also walked a lot, because it was quite cold. Not bothered at all by acts of war. At the ferry in Buitenhuizen they had to wait quite a long time, especially the rowing trip that followed JG thought it was beautiful. He now slept until 8 am.

March 13: Aagje writes: "JG is doing well. He is very sweet, eats and sleeps well. Although the Sunday trip went well, JG had arrived cold. He had not immediately recognized Aunt Aagje, but was soon with her at home. At 7 o'clock he was already in bed with a hot water bottle and had slept until 8 am. The next afternoon back to bed and they had to awake him at 4 pm, because he did not wake up of himself.
He plays with Rie Goedhart and Bets Oly.

March 15: Jan Goedhart writes: As far as we can tell here, JG is doing well. Rie spends a lot of time with him and they get along well.

March 16: Grandma Bolding writes: JG is doing well, said An, and is very sweet. He loves everything and is very happy when he gets something. I am very curious about him. If he is used to something in Wormerveer, he will come here. She also congratulates JG
Grandpa Bolding: Congratulations from me too on JG's birthday. You can be firmly convinced that he, the birthday boy, is in good hands and will not lack anything.


March 24: Aagje writes: JG is doing well. He is usually out all day with the children of Oly, the farmer. Everything is of course equally beautiful there. Sheep, lambs, cows, he is not afraid of anything. This morning he was in the country with a horse and cart; that was nice of course. He has been dry for 3 nights. I think that if he only gets bread in the evening, it is going well. I don't take him up at night. He eats well and likes everything. Tomorrow he will go to Grandma van Eden. An will bring him in the morning and pick him up again in the evening. Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Diet were here on his birthday, but he didn't have much to say to them. Apparently they were too strange to him. Mother asked if we came with Paschen and then they wanted to keep JG for a week. He is silent with other people. Then he just laughs. And if you ask him if he wants to go back home to Voorburg, he says "no, because all the windows are broken. If they are made again, I will leave again." He calls his sister "Trijs". He thinks she's in his bed now. Wijbrand adds: We have already experienced Jan Gerrits strong caracter. Once he says "no", there is not much left to start with him. I think it is best to not react, the last few days have been going well.

March 24: Karel van Vals writes: We also congratulate you on JG's birthday, which I admire a few times every week at the Prins family. "Admire" because he looks so cool.

March 26: Grandma Bolding: The plan is that An and Wijbrand will bring JG with Easter for a while. I have not seen him yet, because they thought it would be better that he first stayed in Wormerveer to get used to it. He was doing his best and was very sweet. They all think he's a nice child and he looks so good. The food is getting a bit less, but not much. They know they have a boarder.
Grandpa: JG is well looked after, you can be assured of that.

March 27: Uncle Siem Huig: We had Jan Gerrit visiting. He's a good guy!

March 27: Aunt Dien: We are very curious about JG. We've heard a lot about him, but haven't seen him yet. The plan now is that he will be taken to Mother with Paschen, and then stay there for a week. This morning I asked to borrow the crib from Spruit. We can use that, so it works out nicely. He is doing fine otherwise in Wormerveer, they are not bothered by him. How lucky, hey, he can stay there for a while, until you are fully regained.

March 27: Aunt Diet [in Krommenie]: On Sunday little JG was a guest with us. What a cute boy that is. It's like a sun in the house. A naughty little guy. He becomes just like his father used to be. he's full of pranks and banter, but really funny. In the morning he watched the rabbits and played football with the grandparents. In the afternoon we went to the Park, a lot of children with us, so much fun. Jan Gerrit was sitting at the bottom of the car [my aunt's invalid car, who had been paralyzed on both legs by paralysis of polio since she was 16] and certainly did not want to off. He sat like a prince and enjoyed. Later he played with Sieuwtje and when An Prins came to collect him at six, he did not want to leave. I asked if they would bring him again, because I think it is such a treasure. And for Pa and Moe, so nice too, he talks so nice, although he can be weird too. He loved to say; "I'll kill your head" how did he get it? But if you said: "Jan Gerrit, will you come another day? Then he said:" No, because tomorrow I will go to my daddy. "He said:" Today my sister is sweet, but tomorrow she will hit you on the head ".

March 30: Grandma Bolding:  Wijbrand was here this morning and said JG was fine. He had been to Krommenie for a day on Sunday. Monday he was very tired, it must have been quite busy for him. He plays outside all day with neighboring children. Also with the children of Oly, of the farm. He had ad a cheese sandwich there and an egg. So you see, he is being taken care of. If the weather is fine with Easter, Aagje and Wijbrand come here with JG and the plan is that he will stay. We already have the crib ready in our bedroom. He comes to us and can occasionally visit Karel. It is certainly quiet, hey, that he is not there. But you've got your hands full enough to care for the baby. JG doesn't make much of it, he must of course see it first, then he will love it.

April 1: Aunt Ma Goedhart: I saw your Jan Gerrit at Wormerveer. What a beautiful boy that is. He looked good and was quite content with Aunt Aagje.

April 4: Ma Prins: We often see Jan Gerrit appear. Yesterday Aagje and Wijbrand went with him to Heiloo. He is a sweet boy and he looks good.

April 5: Family Yff, Noordeinde Wormerveer; I often get your son to visit with Aagje. He is a sweet little guy. He is as at home with Aunt Aagje as if he belongs there and has his playmates nearby. A quiet idea for you and he can stay there until the war is over.

April 8: Grandma Bolding: Jan Gerrit was brought here Tuesday, April 3, so after Ester. They would bring him with Paschen, but because there was so much wind, that was not possible.
He is doing well and is not at all strange here. He eats well and sleeps well. In the afternoon he takes a nap of approx. 1 ½ hours. He plays a lot with Karel [Charles]; they can get along best. Karel feels the eldest and has to look after him. He brought toys here and they play together. Jan Gerrit is very sweet. We are now fully experiencing him, so now we see how he is. He chats everything and if he wants something, he says every time: Is that allowed?
Last night he was completely dry, but other nights it is usually wet. He is happy with it himself, when he is dry, and can then go to bed with me. It is easy for him to leave home so well. He liked it with Aagje and here again. He has seen Jan Willem, but he does not make much of it. He says: He cannot walk! We thought he had grown up a lot. He looks good and he is really heavy. They all think here that he resembles you, Guus [my mother]
but I think he also has something of the Van Edens in him. I think he will stay with us for a few weeks and then go back to Wormerveer. When Karel and JG are together, it is a busy couple. If it gets too bad, we send Karel away again and JG is not that busy.

This week I went to the hairdresser Klopper with JG. He liked to come, but when he had to sit on the chair, he didn't want to. Lots of screaming. But the barber tied him with a belt and then he calmed down quickly. I held his head and then it went well. He certainly understood that he couldn't win. It looks much better, because his hair was getting so long. He now constantly asks: must I go to the hairdresser?

April 8: Aunt Diet: JG hasn't been with us yet; we hope that he will be brought again soon. I have not been there either, because such a child will not mind whether you are visiting there and it is always the question whether I will meet Aagje at home and it is too tiring. When JG is back with us, I go with him to Diet Japies [a cousin married to Klaas Bolding, brother of Cees]; he is also curious about him. Cees Bolding always says he's a very nice boy. [Cees Bolding was deputy director of the Royal Academy in The Hague in the 1950s, he painted in a traditional style related to the Hague School. He was my first contact with the art world, also in the fifties].


Poster by an exhibition of  Cees Bolding in 1997, reproduction of the painting "Nettenboetsters", 1943. This painting was hanging in my elderly home, presently with my brother.







April 10: Grandma Van Eden: 5 weeks ago Jan Gerrit was a guest here. It is a sweet boy and now Father [my grandfather Jan Gerrit] has gone to Knollendam and he is going back over Wormerveer to Wijbrand Prins to hear whether he [JG] will come again for a day, because we see him very little. We had hoped that Aagje or Annie would come with him, but she hasn't been there yet. And for me to go walking is too far away. I came home very tired on his birthday. You will also have a longing for him, but Guus, it might be good for you, because it is not very easy at first, hey, you are weakened from a delivery, and he seems quite a busy little guy. He already knows quite a bit about what to say.

Grandpa Van Eden: Jan Gerrit is with Father and Mother Bolding from Tuesday after Easter. He is a sweet boy (a real Dutch boy, you know). We would like to have him for a few days, but Mother and Diet would have no rest when he played on the road. So they don't dare. For one day it goes well and especially on Sunday, as we can then devote ourselves entirely to him. When he was here he had a good time. He was at ease immediately after his arrival and he was sweet all day long. I think it will be a surprise when he sees his sister Beatrijs.

April 11: Aagje:   We did not go to Heiloo with Easter. That was not possible: there was a terrible storm, it was a shame. The weather was pretty good on Tuesdays after Easter, so we went. JG no longer knew grandpa and grandma, but he was home soon. When I left he looked sad, but it went well right away and he is still there at the moment. I heard that things are going well together with Karel. Well, that is not so bad, because they are actually both rather stubborn. I thought it was very strange that JG was gone again. We will hear by tomorrow when we have to get him again. The last week that he was here, he was dry all week, but with Easter he was soaking wet again, how crazy, huh! He can stay here for a while. Kees [my father] cannot come here, of course they don't feel like it at the moment with that shooting going on. We still have food for him. He didn't eat as much as the first weeks. He was crazy about porridge and meat was always his first question: Do we have meat?  He once or twice had an egg at Oly. Now, he likes that too.

April 11: Aagje: We did not go to Heiloo with the Easter. That was not possible: there was a terrible storm, it was a shame. The weather was pretty good on Tuesdays after Easter, so we went. JG no longer knew grandpa and grandma, but he felt at home soon. When I left he looked sad, but it went well right away and he is still there at the moment. I heard that things are going well together with Karel. Well, that is not so bad, because they are actually both quite stubborn. I thought it was very strange that JG was gone again. Tomorrow we'll hear when we have to go and get him again. The last week that he was here, he was dry all week, but with Easter he was again soaking wet, how strange, isn't it! He can stay here for a while longer. Kees [my father] cannot fetch him and for Wijbrand and An to bring him back, of course they don't feel like doing that at the moment, with those shelling incidents these days. We still have food for him. He didn't eat as much as during the first few weeks. He was crazy about porridge and meat was also always his first question: Do we have meat?  He's had an egg at the farm of Oly once or twice. Well, he likes that too.

April 15: Grandma Bolding: Jan Gerrit is currently taking his afternoon nap, I'll stick to that. He did it with Aagje too and I believe he needs it. He eats well, although not that much, but he does get a piece of meat and a little milk from time to time. In the morning he plays with Karel every day, who comes to collect him. In the afternoon I go out with him. He's been here for 14 days now. We have agreed that they will come and get him again at the end of the week, I think Friday. He is not troublesome, but sometimes he does not want to do what we say and then you will not get it done from him. He then says stubbornly: "no". But then he gets a few taps and cries for a while, but he soon forgets. He is almost always dry at night. In the evening when we go to bed, approx. half past nine, I let him pee and sometimes also at night. But at night he is nearly allways dry. Then he comes to bed with me in the morning, he loves that. Now, we are lucky with good weather and he is out a lot. Karel has also brought him toys and is very kind to him. When I ask him about Voorburg, he sometimes says something about it, but it doesn't make any difference. He is now starting to look a bit at Jan Willem. He knows he has a sister and knows her name. Jan Gerrit is best and feels at home everywhere. Don't worry about that.

April 19: Uncle Wijbrand: We got Jan Gerrit again yesterday afternoon, so he is here again. Apparently it got a bit busy in Heiloo, although they had a good time with him. The JG-Karel relationship was also good. There is nothing special, but you would like to hear something from Jan Gerrit, I think. Aagje may have more to say about this.

Aunt Aagje: JG looked happy when he came back here. He went home again, he said and that was to the Noorddijk [home of the fam. Prins te Wormerveer]. So he certainly feels quite at home here, although he will sometimes be reprimanded, because we will not spoil him, you will not be bothered by that. He now walks with a summer sweater and that blue cardigan at home. What are we having nice weather, huh? It is full summer on the dike in the afternoon. He still eats well. Just like 4 sandwiches and 1 or 2 in the morning with a plate of barley malt. In the afternoon 2 servings with a plate of porridge. So that's fine. This afternoon he had slept a long time until a quarter past four, but tonight I went upstairs again at half past eight, as I thought I could hear him and there he was lying on his stomach in front of our bed. I did not understand what he was dealing with. But when I put him in bed again, he slept like that.
He has been outside all day. Just eat for a moment and out again. Mostly across the street, where they were fishing. He always whines for a stick with a string for fishing. Then he certainly wants to get going, but we shall not let him.

April 22: Grandma Bolding: Last week on Wednesday Wijbrand took JG from here again. He had been here for 16 days and it was very strange when he left again. Especially the first evenings, when I no longer saw him in his bed and did not have to help him at night. He has been very sweet and we have experienced him completely in his ways. Of course, like all children, he was sometimes naughty too, but it will soon pass with him; he had forgotten it rapidly. Of course, it does cause a lot of worry if you have a child, and especially if it has been entrusted to you. But it was fun too. He liked to go back to Wormerveer again, especially because he was allowed to go on the bicycle. The weather was beautiful, he played a lot with Karel here and it went well. When we asked if he shouldn't go back to mom and dad, he used to say, "When the panes of glass are repaired". And he said to me so triumphantly: "and Henk [my Voorburg bosom friend] must sit with the broken windows." At first I did not understand, but later I found out what he said. He did kiss your portraits, which I showed him. And about Boy [the dog of my parents who had to be given to a horticulturist in the Westland around this time, to their great sorrow, because there was no food for him in Voorburg] he said: "When mom is sad,  I just sit on her lap. You can hear that he has not forgotten his home yet. He looks good, only he has a lot of itching. He then says that it comes from the fleas. I then just put some powder on it. Nothing special otherwise. As far as playing is concerned, it was very different from what he was used to, I think. In the bushes, which were previously bushes in Tuindorp, many pits and holes have been made. All children now play in this. JG and Karel were also there. They then make a tank wall with water and naturally get quite dirty. Every evening I had to wash his legs. But he loved it. In the morning, Karel always came to get him and then they went out together. JG loves to pick flowers and then they had to put them in a vase. Jan Willem is already very sweet, JG started to look at him now anyway.

April 23: Aunt Diet: I sincerely hope that you will all be together again next year. I find it unfortunate that little JG is still not home. He said so sweetly the last time: "Now I will not come anymore, because tomorrow I will go to my daddy". He would have liked that. We are so sorry we haven't seen him again. Maybe he is still in Heiloo.

April 29: Grandma Bolding: I can imagine that you would like to see Jan Gerrit again. Wijbrand was here on Friday and said that JG was happy again when he came to Wormerveer. He was very sweet, so I certainly would not have spoiled him, because I had received those orders from Aagje. He was now playing with the neighborhood boys and by the farmer on the land. It will be a real outdoor child and he will have to learn the city manners again later. It is peeing outside and at night he is almost always dry. So you see, he's coming back to you big.

My father's report ends here. I must have returned to Voorburg at the beginning of May, after all, the liberation of the Netherlands was a fact, and my father was free to come and take me home.



As Canadian soldiers [the Canadians had liberated The Hague and Voorburg] dressed up, my boyfriend Henk Zonnevijlle and I took part in the costumed parade of the liberation party. We were both dressed in brown paper uniforms with a beret, after the model of the Canadians who liberated Voorburg from the Germans.We were wrapped in brown wrapping paper and I remember like the day of yesterday the crackling paper between my legs when walking. I hated it and have had an aversion to dressing up all my life.


With my neighbor Henk Zonnevijlle (right) both dressed as Canadian soldiers for the costumed parade during the liberation party.

[45 mei canadees kostuum-bevrijdingsfeest]




In the street on wooden shoes, photographed by an anonymous street photographer.

[45 op klompen]




This year I went to the Montessorie kindergarten, situated in a park with large beech trees on the river Vliet (Vreugd en Rust). With other children from my neighborhood (van Duvenvoordelaan 60) we went there on foot under the guidance of a different mother. Soon they refused to take me into the group because when I crossed the Laan van Nieuw Oostindie, at the time the road to Rotterdam with the busiest car traffic in the Netherlands, I always stopped when the group ran to the other side, because I wanted to do that under my own responsibility. When my mother then wanted to take me by bike every day, I resisted and she could not put me on the bicycle. So I ended up walking to school on my own every day! My mother urged me every day to watch carefully when crossing the road and she says she often sneaked after me to that busy motorway to look and make sure I was safe. I enjoyed my daily trip to and from school.


Sometimes my mother came to pick me up from school and it happened that I didn't want to come along and clung to one of the teacher's legs. My teacher had dark medium long hair with bangs. I remember she was dressed entirely in black and wore post-war quality black nylons and pumps with half-heels. All my life I have been fascinated by black shoes and legs in nylons. My mother then took me by appealing to my great sense of responsibility, she then shouted that she thought her bicycle was stolen and I ran out to catch the thief. I remember as the day of today how I clung to the legs of the teacher of the Montessory kindergarten because, straight as I was, I did not want to go home with my mother. I very physically remember her black nylon stockings and  lacquered black shoes. After that, I only remember nylon stockings from the advertisements in women magazine Libelle that were stacked in the attic, but that was already in my puberty.

Buiten schooltijd speelde ik met de kinderen uit de buurt in het open veld met ruines tegenover ons huis dat daar ontstaan was na de bominslag in het laatste oorlogsjaar.

In de strenge winter van dat jaar zakte ik door het ijs in de plas die ontstaan was in het midden van de bomkrater. Een buurman redde mij met gevaar voor eigen leven, door liggende op planken naar mij toe te schuifelen en mij er uit te trekken.

Outside school I played with the children in the neighborhood in the open field with ruins opposite our house that was created there after the bomb hit in the last year of the war. With my bosom friend Henk I participated in the costumed procession of the first memorial party after the liberation. We were both dressed in brown paper uniforms with a beret, after the model of the Canadians who liberated Voorburg from the Germans. I hated the crispy paper suit to wear and I have never wanted to change since.
In the harsh winter of that year, I sank through the ice in the pool that had formed in the center of the bomb crater. A neighbor saved me at the risk of his own life, by shuffling towards me on a plank and pulling me out.



Location of the nursery school Vreugd en Rust (Google maps 2018), where I went walking mostly all on my own on a daily basis




My nursery school where I went from 1946 to 1947 , since 1989 beautifully restored as a hotel restaurant. I remember the spacious playground with the circular windows facade.




My sister Beatrijs was now big enough to play outside and I had to take care of her, but I did not have much patience with her and in no time I put her back on the stairs under the cry here you have her again. The most fun was playing with water and mud in the open area across the street. Bigger girls in the neighborhood took me everywhere to play with me, nothing special happened but I found their attention fascinating. Once when I was playing alone with a big rubber football, which I got from my "uncle" Guus Bauer, a completely unknown and much older girl who happened to pass in the street took this football from me and without thinking a moment I threw myself at her and pulled her dress to shreds. Her parents complained later. Uncle Guus was an old college friend of my father's who had gone to Indonesia to work for the government. He had impressive big ears and was very tall. On his visits back to the Netherlands he visited us and brought beautiful gifts, such as that big rubber football.

Another incident that my father often related was when Martien Langeveld, the later famous professor of Pedagogy at the University of Utrecht, gave me a silver spoon. I returned this child-unfriendly gift directly to his head and he gave me a great blow. This made me think, as small as I was, and since then I hit children immediately, if I suspect they are naughty. I usually didn't feel like going into town with my mother either, she promised me candies, but my answer was that she would buy them anyway because she liked them so much. My friend Boy the dog was no longer there, although we still visited him regularly. Because it is good for children to have an animal in the house, my mother had adopted a pussy, but I played all kinds of irresponsible games with the poor beast. One day I had thrown it in the stove and it had jumped around in the ashes for several hours. When it was released by my mother it took off and we never saw him again.


Beatrijs op de step en JG met de rubber bal (cadeau van oom Guus)
Beatrijs on the step and JG with the rubber ball (gift from Uncle Guus) and a sigar in my mouth.

[47 Voorburg-Beatrijs en JG met rubber bal]









My father left the Central Bureau of Statistics in The Hague and accepted a new job to set up a social association for dock workers in Rotterdam. We moved to Navanderstraat 6 in Rotterdam on July 14, 1948, a much too small apartment, in what we think is a bad neighborhood. On the same floor across the stairwell lived a nice woman who often stood in the open door in her pink peinoir. She received sailors, my mother said. One day she met a man in the stairwell who spoke to her and this turned out to have been a former student of my mother, who was a teacher in the years before her marriage.
After our arrival in this neighborhood, I instantly joined the local street gang and confirmed myself, with friends who wouldn't listen to me, by banging their heads against the concrete  and then they went home bleeding. Parents constantly complained about my behavior. We also organized shoplifting just for fun. I remember the shoplifting we committed with a few more kids of a number of red painted ceramic candlesticks at Christmas time. We got caught and it was quite a fuss. I also made trips through the city all by myself. I charted a course on my compass, which I had received on my birthday, and after an hour or so of walking in the same direction, I came back in the opposite direction.

My father took me with him on small tugboats through the harbor and also to the annual dockworkers outing. Men who were so drunk that they couldn't feel the bat the police used to beat them, they just kept laying there in unauthorized places. There was singing and a man dressed up as Neptune run around immersing some people to baptize them in a ritual I did not understand, but the overall roughness did leave me in awe. On the 1st of May I went with my father to PVDA [Labour party] demonstrations and at Easter we searched for eggs together with the Socialist youth. My Mother didn't like it and with election time she had to be pressured to vote for the correct party.

I went to Dalton Public Elementary School. I obtained my swimming diplomas A and B in the Sportfondsenbad. All this under gentle compulsion from my mother, because I hated water for swimming. I often wet the swimming trunks under a public pump to at least give the impression that I had been to the pool. The diploma swimming at the end was fun, my parents gave me a plastic model airplane as compensation for the misery I suffered. Now I also remember the aquarium with two goldfish that my sister and I got from our housekeeper (Kate) on our birthday. My father, who, as a true Dutchman, thought that potatoes were about the best you could eat, threw a few crumbs into the aquarium, on which the fish floated with their bellies up the next morning,  but we were not angry or sad.



Guus, Beatrijs en JG op Navanderstraat 6 te Rotterdam

[49 Navanderstraat nr 6 - 2]















Towards the end of the year, my father got a new job as director of the national umbrella organization of child welfare.

In the summer my parents had planned a working holiday for me. Our housekeeper Kate, who was of German descent, took me to family of hers on an agricultural farm not far from the Dutch border in Germany. It was a beautiful area of ​​cornfields and the farm was a striking building with a closed square courtyard, through which you entered through an arched gate.
I must have stayed there for 4 or 5 weeks, obviously I didn't understand the people at all as they only spoke German, but no problem, I enjoyed myself, mostly accompanying the men in the field. I'll tell you one of my adventures. One day we went out to collect the horses from their grazing fields.The farmer asked me with gestures  to take one of the horses back home. After putting on the holster he handed me the end of the rope and I walked homewards with the workhorse stepping behind me. For me the horse seemed enormous and I was rather apprehensive, but nevermind. The rope I held must have been half-inch thick, but it felt as a very thick mooring rope in my 7 year old hands. On arriving at the farm I walked through the gate onto the court that was paved with cobblestones. I heard his steps klok..., klok... behind me and I hardly dared to look back, so I kept marching at quite a pace for not being trodden on by the horse. In hindsight I should have stepped aside and left it at that, but responsible as I was I didn't let the horse go, and not  knowing how to stop him,  I kept walking in circles around the court until the farmerswife came to my rescue. It may have been only a few minutes, but in my memory it lasted an eternity.
And so I carried on this summer excommunicated  in an golden landscape  of which the memories come back to me whenever I see the paintings with corn fields of van Gogh.





On March 9, we moved to a spacious house with a large garden at 30 Kiplaan in the Vogelwijk of The Hague.


The whole family in front of our house at 30 Kiplaan in The Hague. JG on his oversized bicycle with wooden blocks on the pedals

[52 Den Haag - Kiplaan]




Family van Eden-Bolding, 1951
[1951 fam van Eden-Bolding.jpg]


Family reunion on the occasion of my parents' marriage for 12 1/2 years in the garden of Kiplaan 30
Standing: Dien de Vries-Bolding, Jan de Vries, Grandmother Anna van Eden-Waagmeester, Grandfather Jan Gerrit van Eden, Wijbrand Prins, help in the housekeeping, name ?, Grandmother Antje Bolding-Goedhart, my father Cees van Eden, Maarten Klijn (widower of Anna van Eden), Grandfather Willem Bolding, Aagje Prins-Bolding
Sitting: Diet van Eden with my sister Beatrijs on her lap, my mother Guus, myself Jan Gerrit on roller skates



I went to the Nutsschool on the Sportfondsenlaan. I was a difficult pupil and almost daily I was sent out of class to stand in the hallway. I remember many times when the teacher in class ran after me as I jumped over the benches to avoid getting caught. In playtime we played rough games and smoked cigarettes. At the time, my father had cigarettes on the coffee table at home, and visitors were first invited over for a cigarette or a cigar. I gave up this habit of smoking now and then when we moved to Groningen in 1953. So I can say that I stopped smoking at the age of 11.

I went with a friend to the cubs (youth division of the Boy Scouts) who had a beautiful clubhouse not too far away from our house in the middle of the dunes. My parents didn't hear of it until weeks later, probably because they got a bill, and my dad didn't like it at all, he was very anti-militarist and associated it with the military and a wrong mentality, but I kept going ..

In the middle of 1951 my father was fired unceremoniously because of a conflict with one of the board members of the Child Care and Protection Board. [I remember the case from memory one of the board directors (a certain Mr. Overwater) required an automobile for his personal use, against the rules and my father did not agree.]  Because of the dismissal, my father was at home for almost a year on a generous salary that was apparently paid from the proceeds of the charitable children's stamps. My father was a real fighter and he accepted the resignation, but for the next job he did not want to make e step backwards as far as his career was concerned.

With my father I went to the Picasso exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. I thought it was wonderful, but there were still doubts in the press whether Picasso was a great artist or just a charlatan.




Den Haag, Kiplaan 30, Vogelwijk

I don't know why, but they used to tease me when I walked to school with Hermien, my neighbor. I liked her.

Unlike the years of Rotterdam, we now lived in a very neat neighborhood, we enjoyed ourselves with the boys by playing wargames by dividing ourselves into two groups and then stalking each other in opposite directions in the backyards of the houses. We had to climb over fences and sheds that formed the partitions of the gardens. Behind our house was a large willow tree, as high as our house, which I often climbed high as our house. My mother agreed with everything.

Sometimes she would go to "town" by bicycle and then I went with her roller-skating. These were skates with 5 or 6 cm large iron wheels, which had to be replaced every few months. The pavements were not as smooth as these days and it was sometimes a pretty rough ride. In the playtime at school there were always fights between students of different classes in which I fully partcipated. One day I was picked off the street by the father of one of my "victims" , and locked up in the garage of their house. I remember being locked up one morning, but I had no problem with it and it had no further consequences. There were few cars in the neihbourhood, but my boyfriend Leo had a family connection with a car, and during winter when the streets were covered with a layer of snow, they let us tie our sleds to the rear bumper with ropes and tour the area.

July 1952 my father is appointed director of the Social Service Groningen.
My father moved to Groningen and my mother stayed with me and Beatrijs in the house of the Vogelwijk. As a 10 year old boy, it gave me a lot of freedom and responsibility.



From January we lived at 33 Hofstede de Grootkade in Groningen. On January 15th I went to the Van de Berg school. Because I had missed a large part of primary school due to misconduct and being in the hallway, the advice was to have me repeat 6th grade. My father did not agree at all and told the principal of the school that he would teach me a few things. I was taught by my father every night and on weekends and I cried a lot, but I can say that I finished elementary school in one year. At the end of the school year, I passed the entrance exam of the Hoogere Burgerschool with flying colors.

Birth of my brother Willem (May 18, 1953).


Myself, my mother Guus, the newly born Willem and Beatrijs in the garden of Hofstede de Grootkade 33 in Groningen

[54 Groningen - JG, Guus, Willem, Beatrijs]









Public HBS. Although still very difficult for the teachers, I became an exemplary student.

I would like to mention Willem Diemer (1922-1994) of the few teachers of whom I have memories. Poet, teacher, publisher and bookseller. Willem Diemer (jr.) Was active in the student resistance from December 1942. He provided assistance to downed Allied pilots, Jews and people in hiding. He worked as a courier Lo / KP (group Schalken-Horlings) and was deputy commander of the Domestic Armed Forces in Musselkanaal.

The summer of this and the following years I spent sailing in the Frisian lake district with the seascouts "De Bevers".



On the bike from Groningen to Rotterdam all by myself, staying overnight at adresses from friends of my parents, to the E55. On this large open air exhibition the first television of Philips was presented and I also remember the 360 degrees sound surround film projection.

On Sundays we regularly went to Kunstlievend Genootschap Pictura, where the Groningen painters of De Ploeg (Jan Altink, Jan Jordens, Johan Dijkstra and Hendrik de Vries, George Martens, Hendrik Werkman and of course Jan Wiegers) exhibited. This group is related to the German expressionists before the war, among whom Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Paula Modersohn Becker had a lot of influence on my development as a painter.1956

On weekends with the sea scouts on the Paterswoldse lake. Where we had 2 flat-bottomed sailing boats and a rowing sloop. During the winters they lay face down for maintenance, it was hard work. Every Saturday afternoon we cycled about 10 kilometers to get there.
Deze zomer doe ik mee aan de Jamboree International in Schotland (UK).

In the summer I participated in the International Scouting Jamboree in Schotland (UK). I got to England with the ferry from Hook of holland to Harwich and by train to Edinborough.

We were also a few weeks with the whole family on the island of Terschelling, where I became a fanatic bird watcher.



Benefit auction in the Groninger Museum, co-organized by my father C van Eden, who was president of the Groningen section of the Queen Wilhelmina Cancer Fund (KWF). My parents also bought a number of works here, of which the Anton Buitendijk and the Teun Roothart are still in my possession.



1954-1958 Summer camps at Terhorne (Frisia) with the seascouts "De Bevers". Flat bottom sailing boat in the background.

Jan van Eden, Joost Hamming, (?), ... van Doornmaal in the picture.






With Katrien Bel (president of the party committee) at the annual HBS girls' ball

[59 Groningen - Katrien Bel - meisjes HBS]




By bike from Groningen to Paris with my friend Jan Hoogland.

"Dispuut" tent van Carl Denig

[59 Reims - on route to Paris - Jan Hoogland]



We had drawing classes in high school at least half a day a week. I won a prize in a school competition with an abstract watercolor in blue and yellow. Tissing, a regionally known artist who then started as a teacher at our school, praised my effort. The work [ref. 595801] was exhibited in the Museum of Groningen.

1959 Groningen RHBS - schooltime
Nederlands         English

1959 Beroepskeuzeadvies - Psychotechniek-Utrecht   in the Dutch lenguage




Carry-Ann Tjong Ayong and Catharine Vinkes in a picture with date unknown. Here to show Catharine, who was a secret love of me at the RHBS, later she married Wim Tjong a Yong (died March 2005), from Suriname. Carry and Wim Tjong Ajong were from one of the first immigrant families in the Netherlands from Suriname, their father was a renowned surgeon. Their brother Frits sat next to me on the desk for a whole school year of the 5th grade HBS.



Catharine was very beautiful in my eyes, I was in love with her in my last high school year, but had no plans to start a relationship with anyone, so it was all very far away. I ran into her again at a RHBS school reunion in the 1990s. She was still a beautiful woman. She had studied French and had been teaching somewhere in the south of the country all her life and had also lived in Bergen op Zoom all her life. Only a few years later, she died at a relatively young age from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Carry-Ann was also a friend of mine and she visited the Art Singel 100 gallery in the 90ties.

The year of my graduation. The last schoolyear was the easiest. There was a clear set of requirements for this ultimate state exam and I was able to prepare for it myself. I left the teachers for what they were and stopped listening to them. Their tests and smart preparations for the exam left me cold. The results during the year were below par, but on the written exam I obtained exemptions for all Beta subjects and I was able to devote all the time for the oral to the French language. I had to, because although I had always loved the French teachers a lot for their feminine charms and disorder, say chaotic teaching structure, I could never have an approximate understanding of gramatics and therefore only had a two and a half for the written French exam.

 Luckily I had a great reading list, a beautiful French accent and waved my arms to clarify myself, so they gave me a nine and a half for oral. My final exam average was ultimately the fourth highest in the school (with three graduation classes), not a bad achievement for such a less than mediocre student. I had hated that school, with all those forced teaching packs and unexpected tests, and I was always at odds with the teachers.

School days had been torture for me, in which I had to give up my idiosyncratic ideas and my personal character in order to survive within the straitjacket of the authoritarian system. After the liberation in the year 1960 I fell into an emptiness in which I was desperately looking for a direction of life. The only thing I missed from school was drawing lessons and I realized that painting, which I had always been interested in, should be my salvation. Here began my restless search for a style in which I could process my abundance of ideas. My sketches and first paintings were already focused on the human figure and portrait, although in the summers of 1960 and 1961 I still made a number of watercolors after nature.

I left highschool and started to take painting serious. I worked in crayon or watercolour on cheap paper. My subjects were landscapes after nature and (self)portraits mostly from photographs. I felt relieved about the omission of supervision and I was rather secretive about my creative efforts.

During the summer we made a trip with the whole family by car to Austria where we stayed in a farm somewhere lost in the high mountains.
[watercolors 606029-31].

In September I started my study Mathematics and Physics with subjects such as integral arithmetic, chemistry, mechanics, atomic physics, electricity science and some subjects in preparation for further study such as general geology and crystallography. With this package I only had one fellow student who also did geology and crystallography, but he (Gerard Germs) later focused on paleontology.

I joined student association Vindicat with a severe hazing that involved shaving my head bald, but I survived easily. During the hazing I learned an awful lot about human relationships and I am grateful to have experienced this. All this was encouraged by my father who, as a poor working student at the Amsterdam University in the 1930s, had felt excluded during his studies.




Victory for Aegir at the Amsterdam Bosbaan. At the finish where we won the Dutch National Championship of the class light-eight I am seated 3d place from the front, the 4th is lying backwards towards me. My weight was 64 kg that is 141 lbs, and that for my broad shouders en height of 182 cm. An advantage for a light-eight crew.





Student life suited me well, the freedom it afforded was in stark contrast to the discipline under which I suffered during the RijksHBS. I had joined the rowing club Aegir and in the spring we got so good with our light eight combination that we were beating everyone and kept winning during an entire season. So I have a few more medals, one of which is for the national championships.

I continued doing watercolours after nature, much in the style of my ‘uncle’ Cees Bolding. I did this so convincing that my family did’t see the difference and for years they attributed works of Bolding in the elderly home to me. I experimented in various styles and various techniques, making my own paints from pigments, using eggyolks from my mothers fridge to make an eggtempera medium. Max Doerners book 'Malmaterial und seine verwendung im bilde' was the basis of my technical knowledge. Also I did a good selfportrait in black crayon on green paper in the style of Paul Citroen. During the summer we went with the whole family to Italy and in the company of my father I visited Florence. In the months before I studied the art and architecture of Florence in quite some depth. At University I followed lectures in art history on 19th century Romanticism: Gericault, Casper David Friedrich etc.



My studies in mathematics and physics went in the normal way and I had geology as a minor (Geological Institute, Melkweg, Groningen).
In June I took part in a first exercise in geological fieldwork, together with students from Leiden. The exercise involved the mapping of a geologically already known area in the Belgian Ardennes.



1962 Corcubion Galicie  [62 Corcubion - vrienden]

Picnic with our friends young and old. These were republicans and under the Franco regime, a professor had to live with a private garage because they were excluded from the university.
We drank large glasses of brandy and had a lot of fun. I myself standing 2nd from left and Kees Woensdrecht 4th.




This year I had to start geological fieldwork in Spain over the summer period and I had followed lectures in Spanish lenguage in preparation for it. I had enjoyed these lectures in the company of all those beautiful girls that tend to study popular lenguages. However, I must have been distracted as far as my study of the Spanish language was concerned, because when I had to buy a train ticket at a ticket office of the Spanish railways in San Sebastian, they couldn't make sense of what I said at the ticket office. In all fairness I hurridly had to look for one of the girls I travelled with from Paris to San Sebastian to buy me that ticket. Fortunately, thereafter I was on my way to La Coruna, Galicia.

I had to work as an assistant with a geologist who was doing field research in Galicia for a thesis on migmatites and other igneous rocks. Kees Woensdrecht, the geologist did his work under the supervision of Prof. den Tex from the University of Leiden.

This kind geology has always been a bit of a mystery to me, these different types of igneous rocks, the composition of which you could figure out in the field by examining the crystals with a loupe, were theoretically explained with complicated diagrams of temperature and pressure. Such a magma constantly changes composition during solidification because certain minerals crystallize earlier and then sink, so that the remaining magma takes on a completely different composition. These processes, which had taken place at depths of many kilometers, left a differentiated pattern in the rocks now lying at the surface due to erosion. Just find out, all those logical relationships between one granite and the next diorite! This wasn't my trade, my future was in sedimentology.

For a month or two of work, we were based in Corcubion, walking hours every day on narrow walled  roads to get to the study area, although I remember that one in three days we dould not get out in the field because of rainy weather. Quite a different climate compared with the other Spain. Apart from work we had an interesting social life. This was Galicia, just before the introduction of television. In the cafes there were still men with a guitar to dispel boredom and as a stranger you were immediately accepted, although you were never allowed to pay for your consumption, because that was beyond their honor. By the way, for a peseta you got two glasses of wine.

On Sundays we had meriendas on the beach near Corcubion with the family of a garage owner, who had lost his job as a university professor because he hadn't fought on Franco's side. From the meals at people's homes, I remember that we always drank too much wine, because I did not know that I had to leave my glass full and that was why I was being added again and again, and then with the coffee another brandy glass to the brim.

After completing the job in Galicia I went on a holiday to discover the metropoles of Spain. Travelling on a minimal budget I took trains at midnight that stopped at all of the smallest stations to arrive early in the morning in the next city of my interest. In this way I avoided costs of lodging, sleeping in the 3d class wagons that were full of young soldiers The
mood was friendly and you could sleep on the wooden benches, on the floor, in the luggage racks, wherever you wanted, only taking care of the leaks in the roof in case of rain. I could leave my backpack unattended without fear of theft. In the early morning they were selling cafe con leche in large bowls, pouring from two jugs at the same time, one with coffee and the other with milk.

Like this I went to Santiago, Leon, Burgos, Zaragoza, Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Granada and other places visiting landmarks and bullrings. I loved the bullfights, seeing it from the cheaper seats high up in the arena. Spain turned out to be overwhelming. People with passion and human interest that I did't know was possible. It was really a cultural shock to be here as a Dutchman. It was life under the Franco regime, but I must admit, as a foreigner I was not aware of anything special.



My father, director of the Social Services in Groningen, in his meeting room on the top floor of the office. Painting [ref. 643002] by Jan van Eden on the wall. In addition, there were works by Groningen artists in his room that were purchased at that time within the generous BKR (Visual Artists Regulation) with which he participated within the selection committee.




With Nel Tjong Ayong on a boat in Friesland during the annual party of the Groningen women's student association Magna Pete. She was a sister of the above-mentioned (see 1960) Carry-Ann from one of the very few Surinamese families who were in the Netherlands at the time.
We had a really good time together, but I haven't seen her after college.




In May geological excursion in France, basin of Paris.

In July stratigraphic and tectonic mapping in Asturias (Spain) for Prof. de Sitter (Leiden University). Together with my classmate Gerard Germs, we camped near the village of Pedrosa del Rey, close to Riaño. I have another watercolor of the Romanesque bridge.

This year I had my own transport, a Puch motorcycle. I drove back to the Netherlands via Frankfurt, Germany, where I visited Ursula Sasz who I met last summer in Galicia, where she was on vacation with her parents at the time. She was very beautiful, rock hard, sometimes icy cold, a bit younger than me and we were deeply in love with each other, we wrote a lot of letters, but the geographical distance turned out to be too great and nothing else came of it. Her father had a plaster on the place where his left eye had been, right out of a drawing by George Gross. They had a beautiful house near the Black Forest, where we made excursions with her mother, who was youthful and also very beautiful, she liked me. I gave her an ink drawing which she greatly appreciated. The Federal Republic already made a rich impression on me, that was apparently the Wirtshaftswunder you read about in the newspaper.

Where I could, I visited the museums, Basel, Bern, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and others

This year I did my bachelar exams in Mathematics and Physics with a minor in Geology. Normally you get your diploma in a ceremonial meeting, but I had to take a real exam. I had already failed my exam 'electricity theory' twice by Prof. De Waard, and my rather down-to-earth professor of geology Kuenen came up with the idea of ​​applying for the bachelor's exam, so without the exam in question. So my exam was not just a formality. After the oral interview, where I again turned out not to have sufficient knowledge, they made me wait outside in the hall for an hour and a half, but eventually I got my diploma based on good results for other physics subjects such as' mechanics' and 'nuclear theory '.

My entire study was a mess, my first exam, chemistry, went completely wrong because they had removed the wall map with elements that was always there before the written exam, ie with all students of the faculty at the same time. At the time, I was still under the impression that the university required understanding and no knowledge learned by heart, in short, I did not know that map by heart. For my oral geology exam, Prof. Kuenen also made m come back , because of incorrect answers to three questions (things like 'in which geological period did the first fish occur?'). Later it turned out that I had answered correctly, but that the professor himself did not know.

But Kuenen didn't bother that kind of thing, when I came back even better prepared, he didn't ask any questions at all and we only had an animated conversation. By the way, Kuenen was the only man with genius features I met at the State Universities and my example of what a professor should actually be. He also proved to have a big name internationally, with his theories about deep-sea investigations with Vening Meinesz in Indonesia, and the 'turbidites' from which he had established the origin, he commanded respect everywhere I went in the world of geology. For the literate among you, this is also the professor that geographer Willem Frederik Hermans rages against in the book 'Onder professoren', Hermans apparently couldn't compete with so much scientific originality. Prof. Kuenen refused doctoral students, because he was too busy with his own research and to continue in geology I had to go to Leiden. It became geophysics and sedimentology. The professors were less brilliant, but they did have a practical study program.

In art I started to find my own style, I was now completely focused on the human figure. Some of the imaginary portraits in watercolor and pastel are among the best I have ever made [636002].



Oude Hoefstraat 3, Leiden - my study room and atelier.




I now had a student room in Leiden, on the Oude Hoefstraat. Saturday and Sunday I reserved for painting, I rolled up the worn-out carpet and had a temporary studio. I worked in an expressionist style with big gestures with blobs of paint flying around the room. At the weekend I didn't eat because the cafeteria at the university was closed and a restaurant was too expensive. My landlady soon realized this and usually gave me some of what was left at her own well-stocked table. There was no shortage of money, but rather a matter of spending choices, I bought oil paint and other materials, and I often went to the cinema in all the cities of the Randstad.

This was the time of the French Nouvelle Vague and then there was a whole film history that I had yet to see. I sometimes saw three movies in a day. I was a member of the Leiden student film club, where we saw, for example, films by Bunuel, which (you don't think it possible) for the most part were not allowed to be shown in the public cinema, because they were offensive to the Catholic population and, I think, because Bunuel had communist sympathies after all. When they showed L'age d'or to the students, no one seemed to understand what it was about. There were also films from East Germany about the erection of the Berlin Wall, etc. that were never shown publicly, because of the danger that they could generate understanding for a system that was not ours. Anyway, there has never been much freedom in our decadent, self-righteous country.

Retrospective exhibition of work on paper by Antonio Saura, organised by Eddy de Wilde in the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam. Saura made a deep impression and had a lot of influence on my way of work.

Start of my fieldwork in the Spanish Pyrenees.



65 Jan van Eden.jpg (5165 bytes) Self, 1965



May 1965 geologic excursion South England and Wales

During the summer I participated in a gravimetric survey in the Cantabrian Mountains in preparation for my MSc thesis geophysics. Field work in the valleys of the Rio Esla and Rio Cea.

More mapping in the Spanish Pyrenees. Friendly relationship with Pepa Santolaria.

That winter I worked on the calculations for the gravimetric survey, every afternoon I cranked the calculator, which was still operated by hand at the time. Multiply a number by 5, you had to turn the handle 5 rounds.


Beatrijs (my sister) in 1965, in front of a Vietnam poster. Protests against the war in Vietnam were a big thing.













First earnings from a student part-time job. This year I got my first part-time job, I worked for Shell oil company on a litterature search, collecting data on grain sorting and rounding related to porosity and permeability in a variety of sedimentary environments. First real money spent on a visit to a prostitute in Amsterdam.

My life as a student


Excursion Hydrogeology with Prof. Voute in Germany, I escaped the company for a day to visit the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne.
Field work in the Spanish Pyrenees and a trip through Morocco on my motorcycle. Was this the year I saw Picasso's great retrospective exhibition in Paris? I do remember a trip to Paris with my friend Peter Pieters traveling in his Fiat 500



This summer my last fieldwork in the Pyrenees.
Pepa in the company of Joaquin Ferraz, my sister Beatrijs and Jesus Santolaria make a trip in the Volkswagen Beetle from Joaquin to Holland. We make an excursion to Bremen and Hamburg (Germany).

I submitted my thesis on the Eocene of the Spanish Pyrenees in September. [publicado en Geologie en Mijnbouw en 1970].

Somewhere in the middle of this year, Prof Voute had an important proposal for me regarding a hydrological project in Algeria, for which he would have full responsibility. This was a final offer to me for work in Algeria, which I accepted. According to Voute, it had been decided, but for formality, administrative approval had to be obtained from the National Psychological Service. The examination took place in Utrecht and to our surprise my candidacy was rejected. The negative result completely shocked me and although the negative advice from the service was final, I went back to Utrecht to find out what the service's objections were. I was received by a very nice young psychologist who said that the main argument against me was that I would not be able to adapt abroad. The conversation showed that she had no idea what a geologist did and what the job entailed. Curiously enough, the same National Psychological Service in Utrecht had given me career choice advice in 1960, with the main conclusion that I should choose a study that would allow me to work outside the Netherlands. It is clear that the investigation was not about my qualifications as a geologist, but purely the reality that I was listed by the Internal Security Service as someone with left-wing political views and this project in Algeria was within an international World Bank program for which they were probably looking for a more politically flexible candidate. After all, it was the time of the Cold War.

In Sept 28, 1967, I had an interview with Anglo American Corp. in London for a job in Southwest Africa (Namibia) with their diamond exploration. A few weeks later I received an offer for a much more interesting job in a Research department of Roan Selection Trust for the Zambian Copperbelt. I accepted the latter before I graduated, because after my exam I would be called up for military service immediately and the plan was to be 'safe' in Africa. This was the time of the Vietnam War and my sentiment was quite anti. At the time, when I was 17, I had enrolled enthusiastically for the officer training of the Marine Corps, but now it seemed a bit exaggerated to spend three (!) Years on that.

No sooner said than done. That autumn I said goodbye to the Netherlands to go to Zambia on a four-year contract. Until I was 35, I would only be able to make short visits to the Netherlands, and damn every time I crossed the Dutch border there was a call from the Marines on the worn coconut mat of my parents' house within two days, admonishing me to report me immediately .

The day after my graduation I boarded a plane to Madrid where I said goodbye to Pepa, then I flew via Rome and Nairobi, to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and from there to Kitwe, where I was met by a colleague of the Research department of Roan Selection Trust. to continue by car to Kalulushi. The first introduction to Zambia was a surprise to me, in contrast to my romantic idea of ​​Africa, Kitwe turned out to be a somewhat boring, very modern city.


Graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Leiden on December 12, 1967.





Diplomas 1960 - 1967

May 68, the revolt in Paris that changed the lives of generations was too far away to worry me in this period of my life.




Life in Zambia was very enjoyable. I started a research project on Mufulira Copper Mine that was eventually published in the renowned  ‘Economic Geology’.
Years later, working in Brazil, I heard from colleagues that they were using my studies in teaching (in Canada) because of the useful techniques in relation to ore deposits in sedimentological rocks. Nothing appeared to have been published in this field.

Short trip to South Africa with Mike Dawes who went there to meet his wife Jean who arrived by boat from the UK. I met up with Gerard Germs and Ansje Kloppenburg who lived in Cape Town. Gerard Germs was a paleontologist from the same study year as me at the Groningen University, who had found a job with the Geological Survey of South Africa.


During this year at Kalulushi we had a good time with my friend Mike Dawes seeing nearly every film in the theatre in Kitwe, he was a specialist in B-movies, most of the time blown-up versions of 16 mm material, and he knew nearly every actor by name. Weekends people spent in the golfclub, while I was locking myself up to get on with my painting. Sometimes we had parties with black girls from South Africa, refugees of the Apartheidregime. One girl I was quite intimate with, but it never came any further than kissing. She had firm pointed tits and a fine sculptured face, very dark, with huge, light purple lips. I will never forget her hugs and kisses and I still love the whole of Africa for it. Generally the girls of Zambia weren’t worth looking at. Sometimes with an Italian friend we took a couple of  whores home, but they were not attractive with their cheap make-up. In this part of the world, for anything worthwhile you had to go to Katanga in the Congo. Crossing the border you had to mentally adjust. In Zambia you shouldn’t be caught offering anything to the uniformed customs officer, because of their proper British upbringing they were (in those early independence days) uncorruptable. On the Zairean side you found a bunch of irregulars with somebody in command, no uniform in sight, who inspected your passport only to fetch the banknotes that you had to leave between the pages. On the road to Lubumbashi we were stopped several times by half-uniformed military, automatic rifles over their shoulders, who inspected our Morris Mini for anything usefull. Now, one of them wanted my Rayban sunglasses, but after chatting him up in French and lying to him that they were prescribed, he desisted and took a couple of tins of Zambian beer that he spotted on the floor of our car. They were great guys those Zairese, but time and again you had to convince them that you was their best friend and use all your charm on them. The difference in attitude was remarkable, the Zairese held their heads high and never placed themselves in a subserviant position, whereas in Zambia it was the yes-bwana attitude, obviously the Britsh whereever they go they ingrain a slavelike attitude in their people. Lubumbashi was swinging, especially at night. It had been converted to one great brothel where all races mixed. We spent the evening drinking beer and dancing. Finally, me and my friend left for the hotel in company of two nice girls.

This year I had contacts with a group of refugees from the South African resistance organisation ANC.  Cris Hani  [PDF anarchists page 28]  had left South Africa in 1963 for the Soviet Union and returned in 1967 to Zambia from where he took an active role in the Rhodesian bush war, acting as a Political Commissar in the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army. Hani was assassinated in South Africa on 10 April 1993, few months before the 1994 elections.

Theoretically I might have met him on one of our party time gatherings, but naturally I was more interested in the ANC girls and I had no idea of their activities in Rhodesia.
I was intimate with one girl in particular and I lively remember her warm luscious lips.

I recall our conversations among geologists of Roan Selection Trust that we were making jokes
and condescending comments on the existance of Russian fieldcamps of socalled development aid projects surrounded by fences. We thought they were protecting themselves from the plentyfull wild animals of the Zambian bush. But recently, studying the history of South Africa and reading about the presence of Cris Hani (arriving from Moskou) and his armed struggle against the Southern Rhodesia of Ian Smith. It is beyond doubt that these were training camps for the resistance fighters of the ANC.

Nederlandse ontwikkelingshulp in Zambia

Dutch development aid in Zambia


Certificate of marriage










Marrried Pepa Santolaria in a short ceremony at the townhall of Kalulushi, Zambia on the 20th of July. She had come to Zambia on a transit visa but after marriage she would be allowed to stay. When we turned up at the townhall with our witnesses that morning at the appointed time, the secretary wasn't present and nobody knew his schedule. I had taken the day off, but, wasting no time, went back on the job, the witnesses went home and Pepa continued cleaning my house. I made checks every few hours and in the afternoon I found the secretary on duty. Pepa took off her apron, and we rushed in with the witnesses, Sheila and Jean that were the wives of close friends. This was the first civil marriage at Kalulushi, usually people married under tribal law, but not belonging to a tribe what can you do… The secretary proposed that we skipped most of the ceremony, he would just do the papers. In stead of faithful swearing on the bible we used a magazin of the Readers Digest We sat there on his desk spelling our names and places of birth, ourselves and our witnesses. He was writing with difficulty, english not being his native language, but nevertheless within the hour the writing was done. We were standing outside the modest townhall, a small crowd of mostly wives of collegues hugged and kissed the just married couple, when the secretary of my company looked at the document that the civil servant had diligently drawn up and discovered that we had a hunting license instead of the marriage certificate. No problem, once again we went into the office with our witnesses and the townsecretary patiently filled out the proper certificate, which was a similar grey piece of paper. After leaving we found our Morris Mini tied up with a string of empty cans as is customary for some British, we drove like that a couple of streets to our house where we hurriedly undid these concoctions.

We had dinner at the Binda's, my Italian friend, stayed at home that night and left on honeymoon the next morning in our Morris Mini on a trip that led us through Zambia, Rhodesia, Mozambique, and back to Kalulushi through Malawi.

1969     Travel through Zambia, Rhodesia, Mozambique, and back to Kalulushi through Malawi.

1970    Publication: A reconnaissance of deltaic environment in the Middle Eocene of the South-Central Pyrenees, Spain: Geologie en Mijnbouw, v.49 (2), p. 145-157.

1970      Travels from Zambia to Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.


This year I was working on geophysical surveys, mainly “induced polarization” in eastern Zambia, not far from the Angolan border. At the beginning of the dry season we would send somebody, mostly a volunteer geologist, to go there with a few Landrovers to clean a dambo (open areas in the bush) for use as an airstrip. From Kalulushi it was a couple of hours flying in a single propeller Cessna. When Pepa came to visit, the pilot made an effort to impress by flying low over herds of elephant that were raising their trunks and waving their ears while running for cover.

On the job I was working weeks on time from field camps. One of these camps along the Dongwe river, with uninhabited and unspoiled nature all around. A variety of antelopes and at times a lone elephant to name a few of the extensive list of species you could observe, all of which we took for granted without giving it any attention. In the camp, which consisted of a few tents and a field kitchen we had a elephant skull standing there as an ornament. One day coming back from the job in our Landrover we drove over a honey badger and left it for dead, but the black workers in the back wanted to take it for eating, so we slung it by its tail on the back of the truck between them and carried on homewards. Driving through the bush in Zambia was easy you could go anywhere step foots choosing your trackless path between the widely spaced trees and sparse undergrowth. After a while , say 20 minutes, there was a panic in the back of the truck, with the men jumping out of it. The honey badger had come back to life and these animals are the most ferocious of the Zambian bush, they are known to have killed a buffalo, climbing up a back leg and getting to its scrotum and that is the end of the buffalo. Of course it would not attack large animals, but cornered it will defend itself . It has got a thick skin to protect from stings during his favorite meal at a bee-hive, claws on the front legs to climb a tree and nasty sharp teeth. It is a fearless animal and its defense is its armored skin. Drive over it with a wheel of the Landrover and it survives. To carry on with my narrative, our workers got some branches to immobilize the animal and at arrival on the camp site we managed to put it in a closed wooden crate. My colleague, Gijs Niemeijer, who was brought op on a farm in Kenya and who knew all about handling animals, started domesticating our wild pet. From now one called Camboli, the name given by our black assistants. At a start Camboli only growled at us with barred teeth and we could throw some food from a save distance, but the days passed by and Camboli became more familiar with us. With enticement and reward as well as punishment with an occasional hard tick we taught Camboli to take the food out of our hand in a controlled manner. After a few weeks Camboli could be let out of the crate and he walked freely around the open field kitchen. The animal fully respected us and when you let him, he would, standing on his hind legs, embrace the calves of our legs and look at us with his small jet-black eyes “begging” for our attention and food. Playing with him we would put half a boiled egg on a piece of wood horizontally placed on two vertical supports, and Camboli would climb up along the vertical post and then hanging on the horizontal beam he would move towards the egg, throw it on the ground and let himself fall to eat it. In a small basin of water he would love to sit up like a baby on his backside and throw up water with his claws as if to wash himself. Being free we didn't see him during the day, but at a set time every day during twilight, he made us company. The few times that Pepa was visiting our camp, she sat on the kitchen table when Camboli was visiting, as she did not trust him. Outside the kitchen area you had to be careful because he made a hissing sound when we met in the open field. His behavior was conditioned by the environment of the kitchen and out of that it was a wild and ferocious animal. Never mind Camboli, we loved you and we will never forget you.











Travels to Cameroun, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Canarias, Spanish Sahara and Marocco.

Arriving in Spain we stayed a couple of days in Madrid. Having married under the English law, we did not have  a family book required by the Franco regime for recognition of our marriage. In the hotel they made us stay in seperate rooms. There was a guard posted in the stairwell on every floor. In Huesca we stayed at the family home as a married couple.

Arriving at Schiphol for a short stay in the Netherlands, I phoned my father. Curiously, after so much time not speaking Dutch, I stumbled and we continued the conversation in English. Within a day I recovered the  speech in my native language, but not without a heavy accent.

We returned for a few months to Zambia and prepared us for the emigration to South Africa. This country with its apartheid regime was not our first choice. We aimed at South America  to no avail, and finally I got an offer with a consultacy firm in Australia, but before we left to this new world, they avised me not to come because of the crash of the raw material markets. Our plan to emigrate to South Africa was received by my family and friends in Holland as a betrayal to my own revolutiary ideas. My black friends in Zambia, the refugees from the ANC, were more realistic and did not find any objections. They were eager to go back to their native country themselves, but couldn't.


But the dramatic changes a few years after our departure from Zambia touched me deeply and weigh heavily in my memories. In 1975, the year we were working for a South African consortium in Angola, the railway line from Zambia to Lobito and Benguela, used for the export of copper, was blocked. The result was the total collapse of the Zambian economy and it became one of the poorest countries in Africa. This event is easily explained as a consequence of the civil war in Angola. But nowhere on the internet can I find any reference to the decisive involvement of South Africa's apartheid regime.




January 30, 1972 Immigration to the Republic of South Africa and working for African Selection Trust, based in Johannesburg. In retrospect it is interesting to mention that this was an official emigration from the Netherlands with a subsidy from the Dutch government. In addition to the full travel costs, we also received 20 cubic meters for our belongings. We used the meters to ship a car and furniture, such as the Dutch dining room chairs with wicker seats that Pepa had bought and of which we still have 2 in our home at Sabayes [in 2021]. We bought a MG-B in England tax-free, which we were allowed to import without import duties. You could only buy locally produced cars in the RSA and that's why our car was worth a fortune there. I normally had a company car myself, but Pepa has enjoyed riding it for a number of years, with the dog BiBi in the back seat. Before we left for Angola we sold the car.

Debuut-tentoonstelling galerie "De Sfinx"

Gallery debut exhibition "De Sfinx", Oudezijdsvoorburgwal, Amsterdam.
This gallery was run by Joe Liplaa. The gallery owner is Jo Lipplaa (de Volkskrant, November 13, 1965). In 1995 he opened a gallery in Amsterdam and in The Hague, both under the name Galerie de Sfinx. In these galleries he showed both modern art and exotic arts. Lipplaa owned a collection of exotic antiques from Egypt, Arabia, India, Peru, Afghanistan and Israel (Invitation PDO). Oudezijds Voorburgwal 241. From August 20, 1980, the Sfinx leaves for Bergen (NH), Tuindorpweg 11.

Outrageous imagery, male and female sex specimen, masturbating priests, screaming popes and the undertaker. Strong show, nothing sold. To get this show, my sister had gone to most of the half dozen galleries in Amsterdam with documentation and many of them showed an interest. I had offers from Krikhaar, Jurka a.o. Pity I made the decision not to continue exhibiting. Long years of creative wrestling with myself followed and production piled up without ever being shown. Although one must admit that lots of it is trash.

Publications: (co-author P.L.Binda) Sedimentological evidence on the origin of the Precambrian Great Conglomerate (Kundulungu Tillite), Zambia: Paleoclim., Paleogeogr., Paleoecol., Elsevier, v. 11, p. 152-168.

(co-author P.L.Binda) Scope of stratigraphic and sedimentologic analysis of the Katanga Sequence, Zambia: Geologie en Mijnbouw, v. 51, p. 321-328.




Johannesburg. Work in the Northern Cape, Namibia (prospect for Rossing-type uranium).

We had close relations with our neighbours.

1972-1974  Republic of South Africa [English and Spanish]



Luanda, Angola. Uranium exploratie voor Johannesburg Consolidated Investment (J.C.I.) in opdracht van het Portugese gezag, Britse Electricity Board, het Duitse Urangesellshaft en het Franse Minatom, dit in tegenspraak met de United Nations boycot van de Portugese kolonie Angola.

Publication:Depositional and diagenetic environment related to sulphide mineralization, Mufulira, Zambia: ECON. GEOL., v. 69, p. 59-79.



Director of the company in Angola (for JCI) was Jacques de Villiers a capable geologist and an effective leader of our workforce, we were great friends.



The first half of the year we are still in Luanda, a city with increasing tension between the MPLA , FNLA and UNITA.

We are leaving the 26th June to attend the 9th International Sedimentological Congress in Nice from the 6th to the 13th July 1975 in the understanding to come back to Angola after the congress and a short holidays in Spain, but the events in Angola will make it impossible to return. We learn from Pam de Villiers (the wife of Jake de Villiers) when she visits us during our short holiday in Spain, that the staff of JCI had been evacuated by the army of South Africa and that our private belongings were left behind. We would not return to Angola ever.


We buy a property in Sabayes, Spain.

Leaving wartime Angola, leaving personal belongings behind, but rescueing most paintings. Lost some dear friends that were killed at the southern border trying to stop the invading forces of  South Africa.

wartime Angola


Resettled in Johannesburg. Work in Zimbabwe



Investigation for uranium in Namibia and in the South African Karroo. Projects for uranium mining in the Graaf Reinet area in the year 2018 have been stopped for environmental reasons?



From the first of January I started with Mineraçao Sao Jose in Brasil. Spent the first few months working from Rio de Janeiro, then moved to Curitiba. Curitiba was a well organised city in southern Brasil, relative prosperous and white. Nethertheless the poverty of a small portion of its population made more impression on me than in other regions of Brasil. Reason for this was the European descent of these streetdwellers. Poor black seem to be more acceptable to my Dutch eyes.


At home in Curitiba  [77 Curitiba house 5]




Rio de Janeiro, where we lived below the Pão de Açúcar in Urca. Working throughout Brasil, mainly in the Northeast up into Ceara, where we had a base in Camocim.

My parents came to visit us and we made a tourist journey to Paraguai, Bolivia and Peru, with the obvious sightseeing at the waterfalls of Iguacu, La Paz, Lake Tititaca, Macho Picho,  Iguaçu, La Paz, Machu Pichu, Lake Titikaka, Cusco and Lima.



About to cross a river in Parana [78brasil1]

© Photo C van Eden










Publication: Stratiform copper and zinc mineralization in the Cretaceous of Angola: ECON. GEOL., v. 73, p. 1154-1161.



Short return trip to the Netherlands over the christmas period

Started working for Billiton (then a sunsidiary of Shell Petroleum company of the Netherlands) and based in Salvador, Bahia. The project I worked on was close to the Boquira lead (PbO) mine and we lived in the village of Oliveiros dos Brejinhos.
My permanent employees and temporary workers worked under bad conditions, the social rights were not paid while this was required by law. My complaints about this to the direction in Rio de Janeiro did not help to improve conditions and were rejected with the reasoning that any claims would be dealt with cheaper in court. The Dutch management hid behind the argument that 51% of the company was in the hands of the Brazilians.

Painting 'Woman on barstool' on unprepared cotton. Asserting a more personal style [ref. 792501]



Completion of the project in Oliveira dos Brejinhos, with core drilling of the main structure. The result was completely predicted by me, but as foreseen there was no possibility of an economic exploitation. The project that had dragged on for years without a proper synthesis was now closed, another important result. A colleague of mine, Sergio Maraschin, presented my report in 1981 (after I left) at the annual international meeting within the Billiton / Shell company.


Breakthrough in style development, painting 'Yellow executive' [ref. 802501]


Salvador, Bahia

Last day of the year, last day in Brasil spent in Copacabana (Rio de Janeuro). What a New Years eve! with the millions of candles on the beaches and the cascading fireworks from the highrise along the entire boulevard.



Back in the Netherlands and passed the age of duty for the military service we decided ro give it a go as an artist. We moved in with my parents in their spacious villa in Vaassen and started using the Dutch social unemploment service. But, we had not foreseen the problems with our family and my father specifically, who got close to a nervous breakdown seeing his son without a job and wanting to start as an artist. So, within a period of weeks we moved out and rented a small house in Abcoude, opposite the home of my sister. In the meantime we were confronted with problems in Sabayes, where our house under construction needed substantial more investment to finish it. So we decided to look for a job to make some real money. I got a real good offer from the Electricity Board in the UK and Pepa was particularly interested, but in one of the few occasions in our live, I did not follow her consent and continued to look for a job in the Middle East. Few weeks later I got a definite offer of Selection Trust International to work for the government of Saudi Arabia, but not before a psychological appraisal by the Canadian firm Jackson Smith.



Few months based in London with Selection Trust to do literature and archive study, preparing the Saudi job on Potash exploration in the Red Sea coastal areas.












Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Publication of the ministry of Mineral Resources, referring to the Potash project, Red Sea coast, where I worked as the chief geologist.

Fotos by Jan van Eden


The geological survey stretched along the entire Red Sea coast from Yemen in the south to the Gulf of Acaba in the north. We were able to use the results of the oil drilling, which incidentally had not yielded any economic supplies, for our research into the salt structures. Because of the field work, we had the privilege of being able to go wherever we wanted as long as we gave notice of our travel plans. So it was that we drove with two Rangerovers along the beach with the Sinai in sight and without having met a human during the whole day, a vehicle drove towards us and a man jumped out who came towards us with his hand stretched out with the words Mr. of Eden I assume. Border guards who left us alone.

The foreigners in Jeddah, and there were hundreds of them, had a restriction within the city of Jeddah and a few miles of beach where they could enjoy themselves. Friday and Saturday it was very busy and there too there was a beautiful coral coast where there was a lot of snorkelling and diving. We have only been there a few times ourselves and then only to please the business visitors we received. The coral reef had a sheer wall, where you looked into the depths with a sense of fear of heights. Very spectacular. Getting back to the restrictions for Christians, at times colleagues of ours ventured beyond the confines of Jeddah. It happened quite often that they did not return to work and that an official investigation had to be started through the Saudi responsible person to find them, because they were detained somewhere by the religious police, who did not report to the authorities. This does bring back memories of another incident with a Saudi driver who worked for us. He was missing after a short mission in the desert and given the limited survival chances, the alarm was immediately raised, resulting in a search with 2 or 3 helicopters over a few days. After three days, the man was found at his mother's home in a remote village. The saudies were handled with velvet gloves, he received a punishment that was no more than a reprimand, and then we should be glad we were not held accountable.


Gaining confidence as a painter, working on larger format 200x150 cm, occasionally in triptichs.

The enormous size of this country, its emptiness are astounding. The harsh light, heavy cast shadows and its women hidden in black made a deep impression on me. In respons I did a series of large black and white figures on cotton. I gained in freedom of style and got more respons from the public than I had thus far. This period paved the way for my return to Europe as a painter.


Jeddah, Saudi Arabie

[82 Jeddah souq]





Trip to the Far East, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore.





Our Fieldcamp on the Farasan Islands, Red Sea coast, Saudi Arabia. Round structures of coral reef over a nearly surfacing diapyric salt dome, investigated for potash salts.

(aerial fotos by Jan van Eden)


Reef sharks made it unsafe to swim in the work areas of the Farasan Islands




Helicopter was used for the gravimetric survey over the islands of the Farasan.




On a pyramid, what else?

Trip to Egypt. Luxor and Cairo





Fieldwork with deep drilling of salt deposits. The first hole was made close to a surfacing layer of sylvite (potassium chloride mineral) and carnalite (magnesium chloride), which made the direction of the project enthusiastic, but this was only a beginning of the search for economic deposits at greater depth.

Downgrading of the  exploration program because of dimishing funds. There were increasing numbers of US military in Saudi Arabia and  increasing military  purchases, in preparation for what followed, starting with the first Gulf War in 1990. This was the end of development programs that gave usefull employment to Saudi people.

For me this was the end of a career in geology. 1985



83.jpg (8222 bytes)Jan van Eden in front of the painting ref.850222
Polished words fell from his lips, 1985
Oil and acrylic on linen, 200x150 cm






Settling in Amsterdam, starting to work professionally as a painter.

Purchase of Singel 100 beletage for and extreme reasonable cost, as the housing market was on its lowest point in 15 years and the centre of Amsterdam was litle more than a place for squatters.




1987 First public show at gallery Art Singel 100 with work of Jan van Eden.





Tentoonstelling bij Schuwirth en van Noorden, Maastricht.




Work in stock at the gallery 'Albatros', Madrid

Visit of Nelson Mandela to Libya.
“We consider ourselves comrades in arms,” Nelson Mandela said in thanks to Gaddafi. After hugging Gaddafi outside his tent, he added, “your readiness to provide us with the facilities of forming an army of liberation indicated your commitment to the fight for peace and human rights in the world.” Taken to see the ruins of Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, bombed by the U.S. in previous years, Mandela condemned the bombing and insisted on seeing every room in the building (UPI, 1990/5/19). On criticisms of his visit to Libya, Mandela incisively replied: “No country can claim to be the policeman of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do. Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gaddafi. They are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past.”




Tentoonstelling galerie Dacal, Madrid



In front of
Downtown revelation, 1992
Oil and acrylic on cotton, 150x116 cm
Exhibitions: Amsterdam 1992
Reproductions: Invitation, Art Singel 100, Amsterdam, 7/11/92; NRC/Handelsblad, 6/11/92; Alert, Amsterdam, 11/92
Collection: Mr and Mrs G Hutin, Neuchâtel, Switzerland [1994]













Work in stock at the gallery 'Arcs and Cracs', Barcelona



We were in Spain for a whole year, Pepa for her work with Seat in Barcelona and the weekends to Sabayes with friends to work on the renovation of the house.

We started a challenging excavation underneath our house in Sabayes to enlarge the studio and connect it with the house on top. Thanks to many voluntary workers we accomplished a job that was held for impossible by the professionals and architects.



Construction in the studio at Sabayes - 1995











Exhibition at the post-graduate military institute 'Defensie Leergangen, Rijswijk' of the Ministry of Defense. Among the work purchased was Die Triumphbogen (1993). This painting is a philosophical statement not only about war and victory, but also about the loss of human values; the widow of the 'victory' looks out into uncertainty. War, although seemingly distant, suddenly becomes a reality, the heat of guided missiles have scorched the skin of the artist and he is unable to avoid the theme, A.D. 1993. The building in the background is the design by Albert Speer (the architect of Hitler) for the 'Arc de Triomph' to be build after the war in Berlin...

Toelating als lid kunstenaar tot Maatschappij Arti et Amicitiae.
Memberschip of the Amsterdam Artists Society 'Arti et Amicitiae'.

Construction of the studio in Sabayes, largely excavated below our existing house.



"Black and white drawings", Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam


"Poste Restante", Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam


My father dies on March 12th. I sit alone at his deathbed and feel the transition as the fulfillment of a life, he was a brave man. Personally, I've always had a good relationship with my dad and I like to look at the strengths of his personality. For me as a child, the belief with which he lived was an overwhelming experience. I remember and experience my father mainly from the first 12 years of my life, when he was actively involved with me, how he ran next to me to teach me to ride a bike, or how he taught me to skate with a scarf around my waist. But it was not so much the activity itself that impressed me as the intention and enthusiasm with which he did things. His self-conscious presence radiated on me and you should never give in to weakness.

Of course, these were the ascetic post-war years, you had to deny yourself things for your own future and that of the others, there was no imputation to yourself. My father never respected himself, was fully committed to others, and he was caring but demanding for our family. After primary school my father was hardly there anymore, he was absorbed in his work, I had become responsible for myself and became independent, we treated each other in a respectful way, never again an unconventional word between us. He trusted me and our relationship hasn't really changed after I was 12 years old. I admired him for his good qualities in my own perspective, I judged him by the yardstick of the sincerity and objectivity that he had taught me.
My father was a brave man and a man who lived with conviction. I am grateful that I had such a father.

Experiments with color, the figuration now lies under a mood field of almost monochrome painted areas of color. The color confronts and the figuration often only becomes visible after careful observation.

The subject remains the human figure, usually solitary or in an archetypal union such as that of Adam and Eve. Commitments that can arise from the merging of several panels. Exceptionally, there is a hug or a kissing couple, a momentary and fatal attraction. The dressed man in the city, shrouded in the anonymity of the evening, next to the woman who defiantly shows herself in a sensual glow. The wide-lying nudes are universal symbols for life force and fertility. The luscious color and the broad gesture temper the aggression and eroticism that remain in the background.
Participation in 'Spiegelbeeld', Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam. Self-portrait [983616] on display.1999

Further experiments in colour. Monochrome paintings using the contrasting reflections of thick painted areas versus sparsely covered cotton. Characterisations of common male and female passers-by.

Nostalgic figures, e.g. a young girl with a bow in her hair.


Participation International Art Fair, KunstRAI, Amsterdam
De Brandwacht Galerie, Breukelen (solo)

Recent work reflects experiments in colour, line and more specifically contours of the human figure remain, but the figuration now partially hides behind a nearly monochrome colour field. Colour confronts and the figuration is often only noticeable after careful observation.

The subject is the human figure, mostly in solitude or in an archetypal connection such as Adam and Eve. He searches in an intuitive manner for relationships between persons, by placing persons, each of them caught in their own panel, together.  By exception there is an embrace of a kissing couple, or a short and fatal attraction. The dressed man, shrouded in the anonymity of the evening, next to the provoking woman who shows herself in a sensual glow.


‘Dier’, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam. [845013] and [845014]
Galerie DIS, Maastricht , "Streetscenes" and portraits (solo).

September 11th, buildings at the World Trade Center being pulled, causing thousands of innocent death. [See  &  ].

There are many examples of violent incidents in history, in which innocent victims fell among their own people, orchestrated by parties in power, to secure political approval for a coming war. In this case Afghanistan and Iraq.



Doing more 'streetscenes' on a large format for the retrospective exhibition in Huesca.

'Sleutelwerken', De Salon 2002, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam


Retrospective exhibition at the 'Diputacion provincial', Huesca, Spain
















One man show at the Fundación Maturen - Iglesia de San Atilano, Tarazona (Zaragoza). The title of the exhibition Belphoebe, ‘chastity, grace and courage’, refers to the renaissance poem "The Faerie Queene" (1596) of Edmund Spenser.

From the press:  M Perez-Lizano (Zaragoza) in the monthly 'El Aragones' of august 2003: 

Jan van Eden's exhibition starts as the subject of an English Renaissance poem, which has in Belphoebe and Britomart its two main protagonists with the war as the main subject. Past for all present. A theme that is the consequence of the marked historical and social awareness of an ethical painter who saw and felt multiple injustices from when he worked as a geologist, from 1967 to 1985, in Africa, the Middle East and Hispanic America.
The work presented at the Maturén Foundation is unpublished and represents a break with the very excellent previous series based on figures with suitcases. Some expressionist forms, however, are related to works such as "De Strijder", 1993, due to the anatomical lengthening to create maximum impact. Here, the important thing is that the past, despite arrows and bows, even cutlasses, is linked to the present from a precise naturalness, although in some smells the bombs serve as testimony and denunciation of all current war to emphasize the defenseless population.

Different symbols sometimes masked, such as the hourglass to allude to death or fascinating eyes in unexpected places, and the subject itself acquire an exceptional tone due to the exact color and formal treatment, so that the agile line and formal reduction To enhance the expressive, they give the figures an undulating appeal. Beautiful. Flawless and impressive work, which drags, with the great success of avoiding any nuance of the free message. It could be assured, on the other hand, that the subject is not far from exhausted, although the poem as the starting point will force the painter to consider another change.


11th March More than 200 people killed after bombexplosions in commutertrains.  The following words are cited from the now defunct  site:


Hoy en Madrid sólo confusión. Documentos impagos en las calles. Líneas férreas sin dirección. Sangre empapando intereses políticos y étnicos. 


Today in Madrid only confusion. Unpaid documents on the streets. Rail lines without direction. Blood soaking political and ethnic interests.

Violence, repressed with violence (Aznar, Sharon, Bush, Tony, Putin) Madrid will become a hysterical city, as will London, Jerusalem and New York. So where do we go, when do we reflect that the weakest sometimes use the vilest weapons to be heard. It was not about defending anyone, but tragedies could be avoided, not with more police and tanks, but with a willingness to dialogue.

Exhibition at gallery Pepe Rebollo in Zaragoza, Spain.

La prensa (El Aragones):
Jan Van Eden presents a set of paintings with the human figure as the primary theme, in the field of street and interior scenes following the title of his exhibition. Female figures of models with a critical inclination and figures with elegant tones as if they were fleeting scenes, are accompanied by other paintings that evoke films with famous actors, such as Marilyin Monroe, without forgetting the exceptional series with the revolver as another protagonist. Also remarkable are the ancient street scenes with their splendid aroma. Tables, in their entirety, that have a vertical line at the base that divides each work with indisputable success. A painter defending a social criticism that here is also linked to the work based on the recent torture of Iraqi prisoners by some brainless Americans.



Exhibition at gallery Klas Vijf, Velp with 'Streetscenes'

What’s behind my “Streetscenes”: 

In his famous 1863 essay "The Painter of Modern Life", Charles Baudelaire documented a new modern male urban subject - the flàneur. An anonymous observer, the fláneur strolls through a Parisian crowd, mentally recording and immediately erasing the faces and figures of passersby. From time to time, his gaze meets the gaze of a passing woman, engaging her in a split-second virtual affair, only to be unfaithful to her with the next female passerby. Baudelaire writes: "To the perfect spectator, the impassioned observer, it is an immense joy to make his domicile amongst numbers, amidst fluctuation and movement, amidst the fugitive and infinite . . . To be away from home, and yet to feel at home; to behold the world, to be in the midst of the world and yet to remain hidden from the world." The fact that modern man feels more at home in a crowd of strangers than in a closed community shows the psychological price paid for modernization. The “Streetscenes” show walking and gesticulating figures in chance encounters and casual contacts, characterizing the transitoriness of egocentred modern life.



Working on a series of paintings related to September 11th, 2001. Unabated talk of terrorism in the media, ever more violent interference in the Middle East and increasing repression at home. Every discussion going back to the events of September 11th, 2001.




This engine  landed 3 blocks away from Ground Zero  and was identified as a CFM56, the primary engine of the Boeing 737 and not the Boeing 767 alleged to have struck the South Tower.










Holland is not any more what is was. While photographing on the street in Amsterdam I was held under arrest by secret police. Like in a miltary operation I was surrounded by five plain clothed man and women that flapped out their police identification, interrogating me on my objectives. They took my driving licence that I had on me for identification and two of them left the site with my papers to come back in about 20 minutes. In the meantime one of the officers went through the pics in my digital camera. After they gave me back my driving licence they dissolved in the crowd without saying a word. I can tell you, it was blatant intimidation. I went on to the Central Station, carrying on the job and making more photographs of passers-by.

Exhibition at the UNED (Universidad Nacional Español a Distancia) Barbastro under the title 'La batalla del pintor'.



Pepa organises "Españoles en el mundo" of the national TV of Spain

She refers to the exhibition in Calanda in the program on the national Spanish TV.

"Miradas contra el olvido, 1948-2009" en el Centro Buñuel de Calanda (Teruel).



Constitucion de la Fundacion van Eden - Santolaria (VANES) baseada en Sabayes (Huesca), Espana.

The year of many exhibitions in Spain. "Ecos del Passado" first in the sala CAI of Huesca and later in the sala Luzan on the Independence Avenue in Zaragoza. "Miradas contra el olvido, 1948-2009" in the Matadero of Huesca, in the Centro de Historia of Zaragoza and later in Castejon de Sos (Huesca).

We got notice from Mike Dawes, that his wife Jean, witness to my marriage with Pepa, passed away. They had been out of sight for a number of years as they lived in the U.K., North Yorkshire. These days with the years passing by, you wonder about the condition your friends are in. Would Mike have the same surprising memory as in the Zambian days? We would love to visit the cinema in Kitwe and see washed out coloured "B" movies in which he would would recognise the minor supporting actors and whisper their names in my ear.



Work of the Palestinian Series used as a backdrop to a manifestation at the Westerkerk in Amsterdam, where Noam Chomsky gave a lecture.

My dear niece Annie Prins-Bolding, widow of Gerrit Glijnis, died in Krommenie on the 24th october. I said a few words at her burial in UItgeest on the 29th. During a critical period in my early youth, in the last days of the 2d Worldwar she was like a mother for me.

Unprovoked war in Libia, a bombing campaign by the forces of NATO against Libyan military installations causing an estimated 30.000 victims. Efforts by the African Union to end the fighting were disregarded.



Group exhibition with artists of Arti et Amicitiae at the Salmagundi Club,Greenwich Village, New York City. The Salmagundi Club is one of the oldest  art organizations in the United States, Founded in 1871.
La exposición “Miradas contra el olvido 1948 – 2012” fue presentada en Madrid en la Embajada de Palestina.



Con la ayuda y el esfuerzo de todos los patronos de la Fundación VANES y de D. Miguel Lacasa en especial, desde Febrero de 2013 la Fundación VANES tiene, dentro del Núcleo Úrbano de Sabayés, un terreno donde puede proyectarse la construcción de un almacen y espacio de exposiciones.

Compra de terreno en Sabayes para la construccion de nuestro 'Casa de Arte' que servirá como almacén para mi obra y nuestro collecccion de otros artistas.

One man show at the Sala Dalmau, Consell de Cent, Barcelona. The weekend of the opening was an opportunity for a reunion with many friends from as far back as our Zambian period (1960ties). Pier Luigi Binda coming all the way from Canada and his daughter Francesca. Paul and Jenny Guillan from Scotland. Pien en Rolf from our Saudi Arabian times early 1980ties, coming from Australia. Meike Hansen from Germany, Corinne and Hill from Holland, my nephew Stein and Charlotte, my niece Daphne from Holland, Esther Levigne one of the artists of Pepa’s gallery, now working in NY, and many others from Spain and abroad.

Mike Dawes (see the year 1968), friend and collegue of Zambian times, visited us in Amsterdam.


Inicio construccion de las salas de exposiciones de la Fundacion en Sabayes. The architect Sixto Marin uit Zaragoza and the  construction contract with Malmayor uit Huesca.


Mapi Rivera y Pepa Santolaria on the building site of the Fundación VANES on the 24th May 2014










Muerte de Pepa van Eden - Santolaria Garcia (Melilla, Spain 17-03-1945 - Amsterdam, Netherlands 09-01-2015). Habiendo vivido venturosamente 70 años, Pepa ha muerto después de una corta enfermedad. Inesperadamente, después de Navidad le diagnosticaron un tumor cerebral muy agresivo que sólo hubiese podido ser objeto de un tratamiento paliativo.

Having lived an adventurous life of 70 years Pepa has passed away after a short illness. Just before Christmas, totally unexpectedly, she was diagnosed as having an aggressive brain tumor, for which only palitative treatment was possible. Considering that Pepa was so active in her gallery, the B&B, the promotion of new initiatives and the Fundacion in Sabayes, the medical prognosis came as a shock.
She kept a very clear mind until her last breath, as the disease did not affect the cognitive portion of her brains. Pepa and I knew each other for 50 years and we lived in perfect symbiosis. She searched continuously for ways to bring her life and that of others to a higher level and was convinced that art was the means.

Construction of the main building of the Fundación VANES has been completed.


Fundación VANen)S(antolaria), Sabayes (Huesca)










Death of the gallery owner (Carboneria) in Huesca Maria Jesus Buil and her partner Angel Ramirez in a traffic accident on the 11 September 2016.

The death of my gallery owner in Huesca Maria Jesus Buil and her partner Angel Ramirez in a traffic accident on September 11, 2016 was a shock to me and to the art community in general in Huesca.
Before Pepa's death we were good friends and after that Maria Jesus and Angel were my refuge, for maintaining the Spanish contacts. We had communal excursions all weekends and they were a vital support to the Fundacion's project.


Work in the interior of the Foundation vanES continued.



Death of Alberto Carrera Blecua my collegue and friend in Huesca. He has died in the morning of the 10th of March 2017 in a traffic accident in the province of Tarragona, Spain. Alberto was planned to exhibit in Art Singel 100 gallery in the coming month of April and we will honor this event as a tribute to a great artist.


First paintings have entered the Fundación.








After the donation by Sara Usieto Lopez to the fundacion of a disputed part of the terrain in front of the building, it became possible to complete the entrance to the upper floor of the Foundation with the construction of a wheelchair ramp.

Exhibition "All your armies" in Art Singel 100, Amsterdam as a comment on the worlds backward move on nuclear proliferation.



Exhibition "The last judgement" in Art Singel 100, Amsterdam with never exhibited work of the 60ties and new work as an hommage to Henri Rousseau.

Recognition by the Dutch authorities of the Fundacion vanES as an cultural ANBI, this is an organisation  of public interest without profit motive.
Decoration of the south wall of the Fundacion vanES.






Decoration with logo and name on the south wall of the Fundacion vanES.









Death of Joaquin Ferraz.

26th June surgical operation at the AVL, removal of bladder diverticulum and restoration of the ureter to the right kidney. Mid August final recovery and travel to Sabayes.

Starting with the installation of a representative exhibition of my work at the Foundation.

Official approval of the electrical installation.



15th March outbreak of the Corona epidemic in the Netherlands and instant closure of bars and restaurants. Cancellation of all events like concerts, theatre, musea.

Cancellation of the inauguration of the expo by Judith Heinsohn at Art Singel 100. Borders of Spain closed.

In the United States, 46-year-old George Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after being tied to the ground on Monday, May 27, while handcuffed and a police officer kneeling on his neck. This incident sparked a wave of protest worldwide. Despite the Corona crisis, I was present at the Dam in Amsterdam on Monday June 1 from 17:00 to 19:00. The number of people on Dam Square was estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000. The thousands of demonstrators almost all wore mouth masks.





Family Stories

Stories of our life in the foreign

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Recent work of Jan van Eden

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