Gerard Reve (1923–2006)

Writer and poet Gerard van het Reve (later Gerard Reve) was born in 1923 at Van Hallstraat 25 in Amsterdam. He lived in Betondorp as a child and on the Jozef Israëlskade when he was a grammar school pupil – the latter inspired the ‘Schilderskade’, which served as the setting for his debut novel De avonden (The evenings) published in 1947. In this book he describes the last ten days of the year in which Frits van Egters escapes from his parents and fills his evenings with mindless conversations with his friends. The book reflects the feelings of emptiness and pointlessness felt by many young people after the Second World War. Initially this nihilist tendency met with resistance. Later the book did find its way to a wider audience and Reve became a much-read author. From 1957 to 1963 Gerard Reve lived at Oudezijds Achterburgwal 55. This was the first time he lived with a male partner. During this period Reve converted to Catholicism, as he later described in his novel Moeder en zoon (Mother and son), published in 1980. He was introduced to religion in the church Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic) nearby on Oudezijds Voorburgwal, which was formerly a clandestine church. Reve’s later work was dominated by the themes of homosexuality and religion.

Photo: City Archive Amsterdam