Hélène Serafia Haasse , known as Hella S. Haasse (bornin Batavia (today Jakarta ), Indonesia , and died onin Amsterdam ), is a Dutch writer . Author of theater, essays, cabaret texts and autobiographical texts, she has earned her great renown especially by her novels.


The Carpentier Alting Stichting frequented by Hella Haasse in the 1930s, today the B building of the National Gallery of Indonesia

Hélène Serafia (Hella S.) Haasse was born February 2, 1918 in Batavia (today Jakarta , capital of Indonesia ). His mother is the pianist Katherina Diehm-Winzenhöhler and his father Willem Hendrik Haasse, government finance inspector. Hella Haasse grew up in the Dutch East Indies, except from 1924 to 1928, when her mother attended a cure at the Dutch Sanatorium in Davos , Switzerland . Passionate about reading and acting, she writes at 11 years her first historical novel. During her high school years, she discovers poetry. In 1938 she moved to the Netherlands to study literature and drama in Amsterdam. She finished theater school in 1943, but already in 1944, when she married Jan van Lelyveld, editor of Propria Cures , she abandoned this path to devote herself full time to writing, first of all poetry ( Stroomversnelling , 1945), small plays and cabaret lyrics, but very soon she turns to prose.

Influence of the Dutch Indies

His new Oeroeg (1948, French title: Le Lac noir ), written for a competition, earned him the first prize and national fame. This news is located in Indonesia. The theme that emerges is the reciprocal influence between colonists and colonized. Oeroeg was adapted to the screen in 1993 by Hans Hylkema . His youth in India is also a rich source of inspiration for other books. The novel Heren van de Thee (1992, French title: The Lords of Tea ) received readers the 1992 Best Book Award and was nominated for the European Prize for Literature .

The lady of Dutch literature

Haasse (1970)

During her long career, Hella Haasse received a number of Dutch literary prizes: first secondary prizes – in 1958, the Atlantic National Prize, and in 1960 the Atlantic International Prize for De ingewijden ; in 1962 the Visser Neerlandia prize for Een draad in het donker , a play; and in 1977 the White Literary Prize for Een gevaarlijke verhouding of Daal-en-Bergse brieven . In 1992, Queen Beatrix decorated her with the Gold Medal of Arts and Sciences of the Order of the House of Orange . For all of her work, she receives the most prestigious prizes: in 1981 the Constantijn Huygens Prize, in 1984 the PC Hooft Award , in 1985 the Dr. J. van Praag Award , and in 2004 the Dutch Literature Award .

She holds prestigious university positions, obtaining in 1986/87 a professorship as visiting professor of literature at the Catholic University of Brabant in Tilburg ; then she is appointed honorary member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Linguistics and Dutch Literature in Ghent . She became an honorary doctor at the University of Utrecht in 1988, and in 1991 an honorary member of the Society of Dutch Letters in Leiden.

In 1993, the Hague Literature Museum dedicates an exhibition to Hella Haasse on the occasion of her 75 th birthday. Of his latest novel, Sleuteloog (2002) 200,000 copies were sold in just a few months and this book was awarded the 2003 readers NS prize . In 2008 opened the Virtual Museum Hella Haasse offered on the occasion of its 90 th anniversary 1 .

Hella Haasse and France

In 1949, Hella Haasse wrote Het Woud der verwachting (French title: In the forest of long wait ) on the prince, poet and prisoner Charles of Orleans . In this book meet three of his main interests: poetry, the historical novel and France . After the success of the translation of this book into French, the poems of Charles of Orleans were reissued. From 1981 to 1990, Hella and her husband live in France, in Saint-Witz , north of Paris. She wrote several novels and stories that are located in France, but it is especially the period of great historical documentary novels. She is already back in Amsterdam when the Ministry of Culturede France awarded him the decorations of first officer, then commander in the Order of Arts and Letters , and then that of officer of the Legion of Honor . She was compared to Marguerite Yourcenar .


The 1989 translation of Het woud der verwachting into English: In a Dark Wood Wandering brought Hella Haasse a worldwide fame. Since then, it has been translated into many languages ​​and is read all over the world.

Awards and Rewards

  • Constantijn Huygens Prize 1981
  • 1983 PC Hooft Award
  • Dr. JP van Praag Prize 1985
  • Annie Romein Prize (or Opzij Prize for Literature ) 1995
  • Dirk Martens Award 2003
  • Prize for Best Foreign Book (Essay) 2003 for La Récalcitrante (translation of the book published in 1978 Mevrouw Bentinck, of Onverenigbaarheid van karakter )
  • Dutch letters award 2004

Hella Haasse to heaven

Outstanding honor, Hella Haasse obtained on July 29, 2007 her star in the sky, where the planetoid 10.250 is now named.

This honor is bestowed upon the release of his latest book, Sterrenjacht , The Star Hunt . In fact, it is an unpublished text from 1950, which was serialized in a newspaper under the pseudonym of CJ van der Sevensterre ( van der zeven sterren meaning “seven stars”). She had lost the manuscript and forgot about this soap opera. At the beginning of 2007, cleaning up, she found the old cuts in the soap opera, which was published as a book in 2007 2 .

List of works published in French

  • Black Lake ( Oeroeg , 1948), published in French in 1991
  • In the forest of long waiting ( Het leven van Charles d ‘Orléans , 1949), a novel published in French in 1991
  • The hidden source ( De verborgen bron , 1950), novel published in French in 1998
  • The Scarlet City ( De scharlaken stad , 1952), novel published in French in 1997
  • The Initiates ( De Ingewijden , 1957), novel published in French in 2003
  • A thread in the dark ( Een draad in het donker, Een toneelspel in drie bedrijven , 1963), a play, published in French in 1993
  • A taste of bitter almonds ( Een nieuwer testament , 1966), novel published in French in 1988
  • The Bomarzo Gardens ( De tuinen van Bomarzo , 1968), published in French in 2000
  • Tenants and sub-tenants ( Huurders en onderhuurders, Een fictie , 1971), fiction published in French in 1999
  • The Master of “the descent” ( De meester van de neerdaling , 1973), novel published in French in 1994
  • A dangerous connection. Letters from The Hague ( Een gevaarlijke Verhouding of Daal-in-Bergse Brieven , 1976), novel published in French in 1995
  • Recalcitrant ( Mevrouw Bentinck, of Onverenigbaarheid van karakter , 1978), novel published in French in 2003, prize of the best foreign book (essay)
  • Roads of the Imaginary ( De wegen der verbeelding , 1983), novel published in French in 1996, Actes Sud, translated by Annie Kroon
  • News from the blue house ( Berichten van het Blauwe Huis , 1986) , published in French in 2000
  • Le Temps is a dream or Henri-René Lenormand and the Netherlands ( De tijd een droom of Henri-René Lenormand en Nederland , 1991), text of a conference published in French in 1991
  • The Tea Lords ( Heren van de thee , 1992), novel published in French in 1996
  • The genius of the place, followed by La Gloriette ( Twee verhalen: Genius loci, Het tuinhuis , 1993 and 1980), stories published in French in 1998
  • In transit ( Transit , 1994), published in French in 1995
  • Aiming the Swans ( Zwanen schieten , 1997), story published in French in 2002
  • A long weekend in the Ardennes ( Fenrir Een lang weekend in Ardennen , 2000), novel published in French in 2001
  • The Ring of the Key ( Sleuteloog , 2002), novel published in French in 2004
  • The hunt for stars ( Sterrenjacht , 2007), novel – soap opera in French in 2011

Notes and references

  1. ↑ ( nl ) Virtual Museum Hella Haasse offered on the occasion of his 90 th birthday  [ archive ] .
  2. ↑ ( nl ) Newspaper De Volkskrant , 29-06-2007