The life of Frans Naerebout and Vlissingen in his time, by Prof. Dr. D.H.A. Kolff

Standbeeld Frans Naerebout

Everyone knows the statue of Frans Naerebout (1748-1818), the pilot who saved the lives of 87 people on board the VOC ship ‘Woestduyn’, which ran into trouble off the coast of Zoutelande, on 24 July 1779.

Professor D.H.A. Kolff, son of B. Kolff (mayor and first honorary citizen of Vlissingen from 1946 to 1967), has asked the Family Fund for financial aid for the publication of his manuscript about the life of Frans Naerebout and Vlissingen in his time. In the introduction to the manuscript Dirk H.A. Kolff beautifully describes why he chose this subject: “Frans Naerebout has remained a hero in our country. A multitude of boys’ books told his life story and presented him, reduced to a role model of sincerity, modesty and daring, to young readers for more than a century.

He has been sung about in the Zeeland national anthem, received a statue in Vlissingen and was proclaimed the ‘Father of the Dutch Pilotage’. Thus, justice has been done to him. But not completely. His life was intertwined with that of many others and above all with the city of Vlissingen, a society subject to drastic, violent changes of fortune, both before, during and after the Batavian-French era. The story of the Naerebouten cannot be told without that context. And the history of Vlissingen cannot be told any more closely than through their eyes. Together they provide a window on a period of time.”

Meanwhile, in view of the cultural-historical importance of this book, the Administrators have granted financial support for its publication. For more information see the Preface and Introduction (in Dutch) enclosed with the application.

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