- Category : Humanities+Social-Sciences-Philosopher
- Type : PE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 2
Dutch man of letters. The father of the movement of "De Tachtigers".
He was born as the seventh of twelve children in the small Frysian village Dearsum, where his father Jan Jacobus Doorenbos (10 April 1777, Oldeboorn - 11 Augustus 1827, Rauwerderhem) was the pastor of the medieval Saint Nicholas church. On 6 October 1805 his father married Martha Liefsting in Sijbrandaburen and they got twelve children. Willems's elder brother Bernardus Doorenbos (18 April 1811, Deersum - 8 Jan 1871, Peins) became a theologian and Willem a man of letters.
After his father died age 50 on the 11th August 1827, his mother went to Groningen and Willem, age 7 visited the elementary school of master Rijkens. He was an extremely bright student, visited the Gymnasium at age 12, skipped 2 years and finished it age 16 to study theology (1835, Groningen), Semitic languages under Prof. T.W.J. Juynboll(1838, Franeker, later on 16 Sept 1840 also in Leiden), Dutch and ancient letters, Hebrew and Arabic (1840, Groningen). He was called "den knappen Arabier" (the bright Arab) by his peers. He left theology and graduated "summa cum laude, hora XII" on 21 December 1844 after 9 years of broad study of Philosophy and Letters on "De Moribus Creontis qualem descripsit Sophocles" in Groningen as a Doctor in philosophy and letters.
In 1845 he became rector of the Latin school in Zaandam. In 1851 he married Antoinette Pauw, and worked as rector of the gymnasium in Winschoten (1851-1861). Around 1855 he also was an editor of the "Nieuwe Winschoter Courant". In 1861 he moved to Den Haag, to become a contributor and later editor of the Liberal newspaper "Dagblad voor Zuid- Holland en 's Gravenhage". He also became a regular contributor to the cultural magazine "De Nederlandsche Spectator"; since 1865 he wrote book reviews (Bibliofagieën) for it under the pseudonym "Keerom" (change, turn), that attracted a lot of attention.
In 1865 Doorenbos moved to Amsterdam, to teach history and Dutch letters at the 5 years HBS course. His nomination was supported by the Dutch Liberal foremanThorbecke. It has been said that, because of his dislike of religious dogmatism, his liberal views and his sharp criticism, he was denied an academic career. But, in Amsterdam, the talented teenager orphan and poet Verwey became one of his favourite students, other students were Jacques Perk and Frank van der Goes. His influence was also visible outside the school: as an editor of cultural magazines, as a speaker and visitor of literary and student societies (Felix Meritis), he became the grand old man - stimulating the "Bildung" - of the independent thinking movement of the eighties.
In 1881 he retired as a teacher and stayed for some years in Ixelles, Belgium. Later he returned to Den Haag, where his spouse died 1900. He kept on writing till old age
On 2 July 1851 he married Antoinette Hillegonda Dorothea Pauw (4 June 1826, Nordhorn (Bentheim) - 21 October 1900, Den Haag) in Den Haag. They got seven children, including Johan Willem Alexander Doorenbos (1855-1932), Antoinette Hillegonda Dorothea Doorenbos (1864-1888) and Jacobus Martinus Doorenbos (1866-1907).
Doorenbos was not only an erudite man of letters, speaking old and modern languages, but he was also a gifted speaker and teacher, who was invited by students and adults to teach them history and to see "death" literature with other eyes. His biographer wrote: "modest in his display, he was an enemy of arrogance and external display, a friend of all that was true, simple and real."
He died 18 February 1906 in Den Haag.