Johan de Meester

Biographical information

Full nameEliza Johannes "Johan"•de Meester
Used nameJohan•de Meester
Born6 February 1860 in Harderwijk, Gelderland (NED)
Died16 May 1931 in Utrecht, Utrecht (NED)
NOC Netherlands


Johan de Meester was a Dutch journalist, literary critic, and author. He came from a family of politicians and later married the painter and art critic Augustine Hermine Obreen (1866-1953). One of the couple’s daughters was painter Annie Roland Holst-de Meester (1893-1987), and their son was the actor and director Johan de Meester Jr. (1897-1986). After the early death of his father, the family moved from town to town, eventually settling in Zutphen. There, de Meester worked in a registration office for a short time, before he got a job at the Zutphensche Courant newspaper. During this time, Kleingoed (Bits and Pieces), a collection of short stories, was published.

In 1883, de Meester moved to Amsterdam and became a member of the “Flanor” literary society. There he came into contact with young writers like, for instance, Lodewijk van Deyssel. Three years later, he became a foreign correspondent in Paris for Het Handelsblad. In Paris, he wrote his first novel Een Huwelijk (A Marriage).

In 1891, de Meester became editor and reviewer of the Arts and Letters section of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, a position he held until 1927. From 1903-08, he was a member of the editorial board of the literary magazine De Nieuwe Gids and from 1908-27 of De Gids. His main works were naturalistic, often pessimistic novels about human love and religiosity. He first became famous after the publication of his novel Geertje in 1917.

De Meester was a member of the Society of Dutch Literature, the Utrecht Association, and the Academy of Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam. His awards included Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau, Knight of the Legion of Honor, and Officer in the Order of the Crown of Belgium.


Games Sport (Discipline) / Event NOC / Team Phase Unit Role As
1928 Summer Olympics Art Competitions NED Johan de Meester
Literature, Dramatic Works, Open (Olympic) Final Standings Judge
Literature, Epic Works, Open (Olympic) Final Standings Judge
Literature, Lyric Works, Open (Olympic) Final Standings Judge