Nicolaas Beets

Nicolaas Beets (13 September 1814 – 13 March 1903) was a Dutch theologian, writer and poet. He published under the pseudonym Hildebrand.

Nicolas Beets
Portrait of Nicolaas Beets by Thérèse Schwartze Centraal Museum 8246.jpg
Born(1814-09-13)13 September 1814
Haarlem, Netherlands
Died13 March 1903(1903-03-13) (aged 88)
Utrecht, Netherlands
Pen nameHildebrand
OccupationProtestant minister
SubjectShort autobiographical stories
Notable worksCamera Obscura


Nicolaas Beets was born in Haarlem, the son of a pharmacist. From 1833 till 1839 he studied theology at the university of Leiden where he received his doctorate.

In 1840 he became a minister at the Dutch Reformed Church in Heemstede. In the same year he married Aleida van Foreest. In 1848 he became correspondent of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands, when that became the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1851 he joined as member.[1] In 1854 he moved to Utrecht where from 1874 till 1884 he was a professor in church history at the University of Utrecht.

He wrote prose, poetry and sermons. As a poet, Beets came under the influence of Byronism.[2]

His most famous work is Camera Obscura, which he wrote under his pseudonym during his student years.[2] Of his poems, "De moerbeitoppen ruischten" is well-known and popular;[3][4] it is heavily anthologized, and even called "immortal" by one critic.[5]

The archive of Nicolaas Beets is available at Leiden University Library and digitally accessible through Digital Collections.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Hildebrand Monument in Haarlemmerhout, Haarlem, with characters from the Camera Obscura.

Beets had a sister, Dora Beets, who was also a writer.

Beets died of a brain haemorrhage at age 88, in Utrecht.


  1. ^ "Nicolaas Beets (1814 - 1903)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ Hellman, Noor (22 November 2015). "Joost Prinsen: 'Mijn tranen zitten losser dan vroeger'". Trouw. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  4. ^ "De moerbeiboom". Friesch Dagblad. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  5. ^ Schutter, Freddy de (2000). Het verhaal van de Nederlandse literatuur: Verlichting. Romantiek. Realisme-naturalisme. Multatuli en Gezelle. DNB/Pelckmans. p. 161. ISBN 9789028416826. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  6. ^ ‘’Beets Papers’’, in Digital Collections (Leiden University Library)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Nicolaas Beets at Wikimedia Commons