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Jan van Eden

bio - biography

Stories of my life as a young man

I had the first contacts with people who were different from us Dutch in the city of Groningen. My friend Jan Hoogland, with him I sat on the school desk for 4 years at high school and with whom I also did all sorts of things on weekends at the sea scouts De Bevers, often spoke about the Jonas family from Suriname, with whom he had a lot of contact. I personally did not meet this family, but I did meet the Tjong Ayong family who had their children at the Rijks Hogere Burger School in Groningen and who also came from Suriname. At that time there were not much more than those two families from Suriname in the city of Groningen.

In 1959 my classmate Jan Hoogland moved to Delden and from there on I sat next to Frits Tjong Ayong at school. That went without any special attention, every boy was acceptable to me, without distinction. Frits was not so outgoing and he had few stories. After several months without news, the following happened during a short break in the lessons. A student sitting behind us did something to the back of Frits's head, which Frits thought I was to blame. He unexpectedly pushed me backwards, causing me to get stuck between the table top and the backrest. He hit my face with his fists without me being able to defend myself. When I got up again it immediately became clear and I could forgive his mistake. I was physically strong and could take a beating and it was no reason for a complaint. However, I had to explain the story over and over the next few days because I was sitting with a swollen purple and yellow eye. Although I was constantly fighting in my elementary school years, I had renounced the violence when I went to HBS. Here I was confronted with boys who were older and stronger, from other districts, which I was not physically capable of gaining in a fight.

It is curious that this incident in which Frits beated me is unique, in the sense that I have never experienced anything like it in my entire adventurous life. For me it always remains a question how and why he reacted so quickly. Such an outburst of rage must have arisen from an inner built-up frustration, possibly something to do with his "being black" in our white society. For my part, my complete self-confidence was sufficient to dismiss it as an incident without further consequences.

His sister, Carry-Ann Tjong Ayong, was mentioned  in my biography in the year 1960. She continued in contact with me through her visits to the gallery Art Singel 100. In the year 2000 Carry had a cerebral hemorrhage which partially paralyzed her, but we met again in Utrecht in the year 2018.

With the other sister of Frits, Nel, I have fond memories of the party by Magna Pete (the feminine student organisation of the university of Groningen), mentioned in the year 1963 of my biography.


mencionada en el año 1963 de mi biografía,













Recent work of Jan van Eden


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