Dutch Language Blog

Who is Annie M.G. Schmidt? Posted by on Mar 5, 2010 in Dutch Language

I remember flipping through the pages of the books of Annie M.G. Schmidt as a kid, smelling the library scent of the paper, reading and thinking about the words and looking at the sometimes crazy pictures. The name Annie M.G. Schmidt didn’t mean much to me, even though I knew she was famous. For a long time I assumed this writer was a man! But whatever I did or did not know, I knew that the simple but engaging stories were what it was all about when I held her books close to my chest.

Maybe you are thinking: yeah, that’s all very nice, but who is this writer? As I admitted, for a long time I couldn’t answer that question, but now I can I will make up to Annie and give you a piece of Dutch history.

Anna Maria Geertruida Schmidt (I dare you to pronounce it) was born on the 20th of May in 1911 in Kapelle in Zeeland. After high school she went to Den Haag to study notary, which she quickly replaced for a course in steno and typing. In 1941 she became the head of a library in Vlissingen, after working there as a librarian.

Her next job was writing a weekly column for adults and simple poems for kids for Het Parool, one of the most famous newspapers in Holland. She got some more poems published, but it was not until after the war that her career started to flourish. In 1950 three bundles appeared: “En wat dan nog?”, “Het fluitketeltje” and “Brood en Mangelpers”, with “Het fluitketeltje” as her first childrens book.

After that her passion for writing for the tiny people seemed to evolve, because she started to write kids stories about Jip en Janneke, accompanied with typical images created by Fiep Westerdorp.

Before I continue talking about the life of Annie, you should know more about Jip en Janneke. This is one of her most famous creations about two kids who are next door neighbors. The adventures of the two got translated in several languages and even got accused of being racist by the English.

Now I’m sure you’re very curious to hear more, but that will just have to wait until the next time.  To be continued!

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  1. Paul Meijer:

    Before the war The Parool did not exists!

  2. noortje:

    Het Parool started in 1941 illegaly. Annie M.G Schmidt started working there in 1950. Sorry if I was unclear

  3. dahmen,carole-anne:

    I’m so happy to have found “friends” of Annie MG Schmidt! We left the Netherlands when i was a teenager in 67, I tried to recite “Dikkertje Dap “, the” Spider Sebastiaan to”my daughter, who is a kindergarten teacher looking for cute poems.. can anybody help us?