Wall poetry

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The late Hendrik Jan Agterhuis immortalised by poem on mural

On the townhall in the centre of Hattem a mural can be found with a poem of Hattem citizen Hendrik Jan Agterhuis (1894 – 1980). The work of art, to be found on a wall near the city hall (address: Markt 1) was written by Agterhuis in the local dialect of Hattem and is about the "obbelkeien", i.e. cobblestones, the street pattern as it could be seen in former days.

Hendrik Jan Agterhuis has five grandsons who were named after him. Grandson Hendrik Jan (Henri) van de Vosse (53) is one of the initiators of the tribute to his grandfather. “I just love the idea that one of my granddad’s many poems is now immortalised on the wall of the townhall. My granddad has written many poems and stories about Hattem’s beauty and we are very proud of him and his work.”

Local dialect
Van de Vosse’s granddad was a true "Hattem citizen" and besides that a warm supporter of the local dialect. Thus he was the only respondent in the North-West Veluwe area who contributed conscientiously filled out forms to the Amsterdam Meertens research Institute for Dialectology, the institute that studies the diversity in language and culture in the Netherlands. Besides that Agterhuis was an ardent poet. Many of his poems have been preserved. His garden on the Hilsdijk was surrounded by a town wall built by himself and by the Dijkpoort (Dike Archway) of Hattem.

Extraordinary man
Van de Vosse’s granddad was, as he himself describes him "an extraordinary man". We have had a fantastic granddad. Not only me, but many more people regularly think of him. "It will all come full circle when next to Hendrik Jan van de Vosse another two of his cousins cooperate in this project. "My cousin Hendrik Jan Kraaijenhof from Harderwijk will apply the mural while cousin Hendrik Jan Agterhuis from Hasselt will enable my painting cousin to carry out his work safely by means of providing the necessary scaffolding."