- Category : 1887-births
- Type : PSE
- Profile : 1/4 - Investigating / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 2
Dutch jurist, poet and essayist.
Bloem was born in the small village Oudshoorn, 2400 inhabitants then, now part of Alphen aan den Rijn. His father the jurist Jacobus Willem Cornelis Bloem (12 Dec 1857, Amsterdam – 29 March 1922, Utrecht) was mayor of Oudshoorn from 19 March 1886 till May 1903. He got little money for it, but the family was not poor. Bloems grandfather Jacobus Cornelis Bloem (25 February 1822, Den Haag - 1 Sept 1902) was a Dutch finance minister. After his death Bloems father got a big legacy that allowed him to retire. In 1914 the father lost his money and became mayor of Hardenberg.
His mother Catharina Maria Anna van Eck (23 April 1861, Soerabaja - 1932) came form the Dutch Indies. She married 12 May 1886 in Den Haag. In Oudshoorn the mayors family was loved and respected. Jacques was born first, 10 months later his sister Louise, who died early July 1889 from dysentery. Bloems early years were marked by the sorrow and fear of his parents, especially from his mother. Around 1892 the family got a new house called Villa Nuova, a small paradise with a beautiful garden, where they stayed till 1903. A good time broke out with the birth of his sister Ini (Dec 1892) and brother Floris (1899), though his mother stayed overprotective. When it rained, Bloem was like a little prince in a carriage brought to school, that was only a few minutes walking away. Maybe as a compensation, Bloem was as a child fond of horror stories. But he never would become a hard worker.
When Bloem went to the HBS school in Leiden, his mother let him through the week stay with the history teacher Jan Kunst as she felt that travelling some 14 kilometres was to dangerous. His wife and biographer Clara Eggink wrote that Bloem considered the 6 years as being driven out of Eden and was happy when the holidays and the weekends were there. He only worked hard for Dutch, French and History, and sacked twice. When Bloem got his exam at age 19, he wanted to study Letters, but his father pressed him to study Law. Like his father, Bloem had little ambition and wanted just to live a quiet life. He studied Law in Utrecht in slw tempo (1909- 10 May 1916), spent his money on books, tried to publish poetry, got pleurisy in 1915 and at last got a Ph. D in Law at the university of Utrecht (30 November 1916) helped by his friend P.N. van Eyck.
Around his 15th anniversary Bloem read the poem "Sluimer" of Jacques Perk. It was spring 1903. He was impressed by the power of poetry and started writing. In 1905 he first tried to publish poetry, but without success. He debut was in 1910 in the magazine "De beweging" of Albert Verwey.
Bloem hated his firsts jobs as a clerk in Amsterdam and Almelo. From 1920 to 1927 he was night editor Foreign Affairs of the NRC paper. He had lifelong financial problems, as he bought many books and later also misused alcohol. Friends helped him out of trouble. On 12 May 1921 his bundle “Het verlangen” was finished with the help of his friend Jan van Krimpen. After the death of his father (1922) he had a writers block till 1930 and felt that his literary life was destroyed. In 1927 he was fired and got a job court clerk in De Lemmer. Again he was a lazy and uninterested jurist, but he spent endless time to improve his poems. In 1931 his second bundle appeared (Media Viata), in 1937 “De Nederlaag” (The defeat), in 1946 “Quit though sad”
In 1925 he met Clara Eggink. On 15 Dec 1925 they engaged and on 4 Nov 1926 they married. The couple got a son Wim (Rotterdam, 8 Sept 1927), an event that stabilised the relation for a while; but they divorced on 12 Dec 1932. This was not the end or the relation: there would follow many periods that they lived together and Clara cared for him when he was sick and died in Kalenberg. She also wrote his biography.
At the end of his career Bloem got many Dutch awards and was nominated for the Noble Prize. In 1949 he won the "Constantijn Huygensprijs", in 1952 the "P. C. Hooft Prize" for his literary oeuvre. In 1965 he was awarded the "De Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren. He is still appreciated by Dutch readers. His "Verzamelde gedichten" had 18 reprints.
He died 10 August 1966 in Kalenberg.