Anne de Vries
- Category : 1904-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 2
Dutch Christian teacher and prolific writer of educational children's books, most known for "Bartje", "Reis door de nacht" and his children's bible.
Anne de Vries was the fourth child of the poor pipefitter Hendrik de Vries (28 Nov 1871, Bovensmilde - 8 August 1950, Assen) and Anna Mast (22 May 1868, Kloosterveen - 9 June 1933, Assen), who married 24 February 1897 in Assen. They got seven children, of which the only son Anne, was born on the birthday as his mother. It was an Easter Sunday.
His very principal Christian reformed father was unable to give and receive love, as is well described in his party autobiographical book Bartje. The father was described as a Demiurg like tyrannical person, that reacted with the whip (klabatse) when his young son Bartje said: "Ik bid nie veur bruune boonen" (I do not pray for brown beans, never, never) as he hated brown beans. But his Christian father, who had to work long days to sustain his family, had little mercy with the preferences of his son. The mother on the other hand was described as a soft and broadly interested woman, who tried to compromise between her husband the children and to give the children the warmth they lacked from their father.
In the Dutch educational system bright children with a poor background, could be selected by their teachers to become a school master. This would also become his faith. But his father was initially opposed to it, and sent him to a gardener. But after two years he could follow the Normaalschool in Assen to study for schoolmaster.
In 1923 Anne became a school teacher in Tweede Exloërmond. In 1926 he became a school teacher in the Christian institute for the blind and visually impaired children "Bartiméus" in Zeist. Having the dialect of the poor inhabitants of the province of Drenthe in the more mundane Zeist, he started to stutter and stumble again. Because of homesickness for his native region, he wrote his first children's book "Evert in Turfland" (1930, Evert in Peat Land). His mother reacted with: "Ach jongen, zou je dat nou wel doen? Tracht niet naar de hoge dingen maar houdt u aan de nederige, zegt de Schrift." In her eyes somebody coming from an irrelevant poor "Peat Land" background should keep his mouth silent.
But Anne had met in Zeist the adorable Alida Gerdina van Wermeskerken, coming from a more rich family, and had no wish to deflate himself. He had met her in the Reformed church of Zeist and was eager to proof his capacities. They married that same year. At that time he was a at working at "Groot-Emaus" (Great Emaus) in Ermelo, an "educational" institution for "backward children" where he became disappointed in the authoritarian climate. That reminded him too much of his father's parenting style. It resulted in the book on "Ratje, een jongen van de straat, 1934 (Ratje, a boy of the street), which reminds us to "Ciske de rat" (1942) of the schoolmaster Piet Bakker.
In 1932, Anne de Vries returned to Bartiméus. At night he wrote children's books, short stories, textbooks and pedagogical sketches. For the Dutch radio organisation NCRV he wrote a children's program.
His breakthrough came with the appearance of "Bartje" (1935). It was translated into German, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Czech, Hungarian and his own Drenthe dialect. In 1972 the book was made into the film "Bartje" in 1972 by Willy van Hemert. In 2014 500,000 Bartje books were printed, but the "high" Dutch literal circles still tend to deflate his inspirational (auto)biographical books as just being innocent "children's literature".
His for teenagers written book in four parts "Reis door de nacht" (1951-1960, Journey Through the Night) was unlike Louis-Ferdinand Céline's adult novel "Voyage au bout de la nuit" not a cynical book. He met during the war Johannes Post, helped like him Jews and wrote his biography "De levensroman van Johannes Post" in 1948. He remained a Christian writer and became Chairman of "Bond van Christelijke Kunstenaars" in times that atheism was the more common belief amongst intellectuals.
He died on 29 November 1964 in Zeist of an heart attack. Shortly before he had read with his wife the "Way of love" text of 1 Corinthians 13 in his own translation.
On 7 Augustus 1930 he married Alida Gerdina van Wermeskerken (7 December 1902, Zeist -23 June 1997, Zeist). They got five children. His youth book "Reis door de nacht" (Journey Through the Night, 1960) was partly autobiographical.
In 2010 his son PhD. Anne de Vries, junior, a lector youth literature at the Free University of Amsterdam and curator of the Dutch Literary Museum wrote his biography: "Een zondagskind. Biografie van mijn vader, Anne de Vries jr."