- Category : 1835-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 1
Dutch satirical romantic poet and minister.
Piet Paaltjens was the pseudonym of François Haverschmidt, who first used this pen name as theology student in Leiden. The family name was also spelled as HaverSchmidt, referring to his great-grandfather, named Haver (oats). His son was raised by an uncle named Schmidt. In gratitude he adopted the named HaverSchmidt.
François was the second youngest son of the pharmacist, wine handler and bank director Nicolaas Theodorus Haverschmidt (29 September 1801, Leeuwarden - 11 January 1879, Leeuwarden) and Geeske Bekius (28 April 1803, Eppenhuizen - 21 April 1878, Leeuwarden). They married 20 May 1823 in Rinsumageest and got six children. He had an elder brother, who died after three weeks: Nicolaas Theodorus Haverschmidt (24 May 1829, leeuwarden - 13 June 1829, Leeuwarden). Seven years later, the poet François Haverschmidt was born.
François admired his grandfather François Bekius, a preacher in the rural Frysian area of Dantumawoude. As a child, he imitated his grandfather. He wrote his first poetry and stories in his teens and remembered his youth as quite happy in "Familie en kennissen" (1876).
He visited the Gymnasium in Leeuwarden till 7 July 1851 and graduated in Augustus 1851 in Delft for the State Exam, which allowed him access to the Dutch universities. But as he was only 16, his parents kept him at home in Leeuwarden. During that time he read Heine, Goethe, Schiller, Hugo and Dickens and held speeches for the Gymnasium students of "Minerva Nos Jungit".
On 21 September 1852 he started the study of theology in Leiden. He had a room in the Hogewoerd, just above the "doodbidder" Van Ewijk in Leiden. Van Ewijk's job was to announce to neighbours and friends that someone had died, and that happened often in Leiden. Even among the rich, death rates were high.
François became a member of students society Minerva. Here he made fun with friends, but in the University city of Leiden he met modernistic professors of theology like J.H. Scholten and A. Kuenen, who tried to interpret and demystify Christian Faith in accordance to new scientific and historical insights. Jesus was not the son of G'd and the bible was not the rock solid wisdom of G'd. One had to rely on one's own consciousness. So his childish interpretation of psalm 23 "The Lord is My Shepherd" as the pastor and his bible are my guides, broke into pieces. He went into a spiritual crisis, he never really got over. He stayed a timid and uncertain person, used poetry and humor in his sermons, but was not a charismatic preacher.
On 4 July 1858 François left Leiden after a "summa cum laude" graduation and went to Leeuwarden, where he stayed with his sister Adriana. On 7 October 1858 he got his ecclesiastical examination, and from that time on, he could be called to duty as a minister. But he felt miserable under it an longed for his student time in Leiden. His first jobs as a minister were in the rural villages Foudgum and Raard, near Dokkum (3 July 1859 - 7 December 1862). He felt lonely in the rectory, far away from city-life. On 25 December 1862 he accepted a post in Den Helder, but already before Pentecost 1863, he wanted to resign. Colleagues convinced him to stay.
On the wedding of his friend Adriaan van Wessem, he met his future wife Jacoba Johanna Maria Osti (2 April 1841 - 14 June 1891). They engaged in 1862 and married 6 Augustus 1863 in Utrecht. She was a mentally stable woman, and important for his support. They got one daughter and two sons. The eldest son died October 1869 of meningitis.
On 17 July 1864 he held his last sermon in Den Helder and went to Schiedam (31 July 1864), to follow up a former student friend of his, F.C.A. Pantekoek (1832-1878). The melancholic and liberal François HaverSchmidt never got that popular under his community, but stayed here till his death by suicide on 19 January 1894, after 6 months of depression and two and a half year after the death of his spouse.