Louis Couperus in The Hague

I like to curl up on the couch with a book. One of my favorites is ‘Old People and the Things That Pass’ by Louis Couperus. It’s a book I like to revisit regularly.

Louis Couperus

Louis Couperus – a descendant of a long line of Colonial civil servants and administrators – was born in The Hague in 1863. When he was 9 years old, he moved with his family to Batavia in what were then the Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia). He lived there for six years, the family returning to The Hague in 1878.

Louis Couperus geboortehuis
Birthplace Louis Couperus - Mauritskade 43 The Hague

In his later life he went back to the Dutch East Indies. He lived there for a year and travelled as a correspondent.

Louis Couperus in Den Haag 4
Surinamestraat - The Hague

Couperus’  upbringing and experiences clearly inspired him when he wrote his so-called Colonial novels.

Old people...

Strictly speaking ‘Old People and the Things That Pass’ is not a Colonial novel, because the story takes place in The Hague. But everything the main and other characters in the book do and think is influenced by events that occurred in the Dutch East Indies.

Bruggetje van Takma
Takma's bridge*

The book offers interesting insights into the complicated family relations and the sometimes oppressive social structures people were experiencing during the 19th century. Besides that, the book (often described as “psychological  novel”) is quite thrilling – a real  “page turner”. Although I think that this phrase was not yet in use in Couperus’ days…

Bruggetje van Takma
Takma's bridge*

If anything…

Couperus can be quoted as saying: ‘If anything, I am a Hagenaar’. He was born in The Hague, lived there and his ashes are buried at Oud Eik en Duinen cemetery. But perhaps he expressed his roots best in the wonderful descriptions of this city in his book ‘Old People and the Things That Pass’.

Zoo ik iets ben..
Lange Voorhout - The Hague

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of Louis Couperus, schedule the Willemspark or the Archipel walk.

This book is available as an Ebook (free)

* You will know the significance of this picture after you have read the book


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Blogger Jacqueline Alders
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