Nienke van Hichtum (1860-1939) is the pseudonym of Sjoukje Troelstra-Bokma de Boer.
In 1888 she married the Frisian politician Pieter Jelles Troelstra (1860-1930), the leader of the Dutch social democrats from 1894 to 1925. Nienke and Pieter Jelles were divorced in 1906.
Nienke van Hichtum wrote countless children's book, including the very popular Afke's Tiental. Many older readers regard her as the author who depicted their carefree childhood years. Children today see her as a writer of family stories that give them a sense of comfort and safety and provide a counterweight to life in our harsh, affluent society.
In 2001, a popular motion picture – Nynke – was released in the Netherlands about Nienke van Hichtum and Pieter Jelles Troelstra.
The IISH has acquired two of her letters to Tom van Maanen (the chairman of the Hilversum chapter of the socialist youth organization AJC until the spring of 1934) via the Stichting Onderzoek AJC (see inventory AJC - number 1032). The letters complement the three letters from Sjoukje Troelstra Bokma de Boer already present in the vast archive of Pieter Jelles Troelstra.
Excerpt from the letter of 7 November 1935:
You must be surprised that I have not written to thank you yet for the lovely photographs and equally beautiful leaves from the Paasheuvel [Easter Hill, the nature reserve where the young Dutch socialists gathered]! I enjoyed both so much, especially your kind letter! Thank you for everything! I will stick the leaves in a grey passe-partout as soon as I can get one. They are next to me on a black piece of paper now and are a delight to me every day. Unfortunately, I can do little with the photographs yet, as my wretched eyes have recently become painful and unreliable – those scoundrels! I had to rest them and was unable to write to you for a while. I am better now but still need to be careful. These sudden handicaps are so inconvenient! Especially with four of my books being reprinted and the old copies sitting on my desk with blank sheets of paper inserted to indicate corrections and changes and – the new spelling of very many words indeed! My book was not exactly as I wanted it yet either, but I sent it off to the publisher anyway. He always retypes everything and will send me a carbon copy to scribble on. [..] After you left, I suddenly felt sorry that I had complained to you about the situation here. After all, lassitude settles nearly every summer, when Loosdrecht exudes its magnetic effect [...].
Here, she is referring to the lull in the activities of the young socialists during the summer, when they felt the ponds at nearby Loosdrecht beckoning them. Some undoubtedly discovered naturism there as well, as the following section reveals.
Text was taken from On the Waterfront - newsletter of the Friends of the IISH Issue 4 (pdf, 656 Kb).