Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven Estate

Dr. med. Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven (1893-1961)


23 November: born in Helmond, the Netherlands (province of North Brabant), the second and last child of Pieter Zeylmans van Emmichoven (1861-1945) and Emma Malsch (1864-1929).


14 October: Ingeborg Droogleever Fortuyn born in The Hague, the eldest of three children. Parents: Pieter Droogleever Fortuyn (1868-1938) and Helene Bruinier (1873-1959).


August: Start of school in Helmond.


January: Zeylmans family moves to Amsterdam. Attends the Oberrealschule.
Autumn: Willem Zeylmans falls ill with typhoid fever.


July: Graduates from the 5-year secondary school in Amsterdam.
September: Enrolment at the Medical Faculty of the University of Amsterdam.


Summer: The Zeylmans family moves to The Hague. Willem Zeylmans continues his medical studies at Leiden University.
November: Military service in Haarlem.


August: First meeting with Ingeborg Droogleever Fortuyn in Vierhouten. Conscripted as an „aspiring medical doctor“.


September: Meets Jacoba van Heemskerck and Marie Tak van Poortvliet, in The Hague.


August: Marie Tak van Poortvliet enables Zeylmans to get out of his contract as a future colonial doctor. She finances his further studies.


March: Passes the medical „doctoral exam“. Internships at various clinics follow.
Summer: Colour experiments with Jacoba van Heemskerck with children of summer guests in Domburg (Walcheren).
September: Reunion with Ingeborg Droogleever Fortuyn in Leiden, where she studies law.
November: Deployment as medical officer for refugee relief at the Belgian border in Rozendaal.
15 December: Engagement to Ingeborg Droogleever Fortuyn.


Passes „second doctor’s examination“.


12 March: Doctorate from Leiden Medical School.
June-December: Stay in Leipzig, where he becomes a member of the Anthroposophical Society in October.
17-23 December: First meeting with Rudolf Steiner in Dornach (Switzerland), where he listens to his lectures on „The Bridge between World-Spirituality and the Physical of Man“ (GA 202).


January: Employed as a doctor at the municipal insane asylum „Maasoord“ in Poortugaal near Rotterdam. After a few months promotion to departmental doctor of four women’s pavilions („my 220 friends“).
26 February-2 March: listens to some of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures in Holland.
11-18 April: in Dornach, for Rudolf Steiner’s second course for doctors and medical students (GA 313).

29 August-8 September: in Stuttgart for the congress „Cultural Outlooks of the Anthroposophical Movement“, where he listens to Rudolf Steiner’s lectures „Anthroposophy, its Roots of Knowledge and Fruit of Life“ (GA 78).
27 September: Marriage to Ingeborg Droogleever Fortuyn.


January: First lecture on „Anthroposophy and Medicine“ to students in the hall „De Turk“ in Leiden: the beginning of a career as a speaker of about 2000 lectures, until his death in 1961.
7-13 April: „Anthroposophical-Scientific Course“ in The Hague, with the collaboration of ten Waldorf teachers from Stuttgart; Rudolf Steiner gives six lectures: „The Significance of Anthroposophy in the Spiritual Life of the Present“ (GA 82) and the branch lecture „The Teachings of the Risen One“ (GA 211).
26-28 October: in Stuttgart as participant in the „Medical Week“, where he hears Rudolf Steiner’s lectures for doctors (GA 314).
31 October-6 November: hears Rudolf Steiner’s lectures in Holland.
End of November: first child Johanna Veronica born.


10-17 June: in Dornach, for the „Delegates‘ Congress“. He hears Rudolf Steiner’s cycle „The History and Conditions of the Anthroposophical Movement in Relation to the Anthroposophical Society“ (GA 258).
September: Founding of the „Vrije School“ in The Hague.
Habilitation at the University of Amsterdam with the paper „The Effect of Colours on Feeling“.
October: Moves to The Hague and begins a psychiatric practice.
13-19 November: Rudolf Steiner in Holland.
Founding of the „Anthroposofische Vereniging in Nederland“. Opening of the „Prinsevinkenpark“ clinic in The Hague.
Rudolf Steiner gives two lectures for doctors, two on education and the cycle „The supersensible human being anthroposophically grasped“ (GA 231). Zeylmans becomes General Secretary of the new National Society.
23 December-9 January: in Dornach for the Christmas Conference to found the „General Anthroposophical Society“. Hears Rudolf Steiner’s lectures ‚World History in Anthroposophical Illumination and as the Basis of the Knowledge of the Human Spirit‘ (GA 233), Course for Young Physicians (GA 316) and ‚Mystery Sites of the Middle Ages‘ (GA 233).


23-27 May: in Paris, where he listens to Rudolf Steiner’s lectures and meets Edouard Schuré and Jules Sauerwein.
17-25 July: ‚Pedagogical Anthroposophical Summer Conference‘ in Arnhem, where Rudolf Steiner gives, among other things, the lecture cycle ‚The Pedagogical Value of the Knowledge of Man and the Cultural Value of Pedagogy‘ (GA 240).
8-21 September: in Dornach, where Zeylmans experiences Rudolf Steiner’s last major lecture cycles:
Course in Pastoral Medicine (GA 318),
Course on Speech Formation and Dramatic Art (GA 282),
Esoteric Reflections on Karmic Connections (GA 238).
Last meeting with Rudolf Steiner.


30 March: Rudolf Steiner’s death.
November: Beginning of many years of medical work in London. December: Lectures in Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Helsingfors.


Lectures in Jena and London, among others.
August: Son Johannes Emanuel born. Travels to Weimar and Tintagel.


Lectures in London, Jena, Edinburgh. Journey through Scotland and Ireland.
November: Foundation stone laid for the „Rudolf Steiner Clinic“ on the Parklaan in Scheveningen near The Hague (opened 1928).


Lectures at the „World Conference“ in London and in Dornach.


Lectures in Berlin, London, Jena, Prague, Brno, Vienna, Bratislava. Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Gnadenwald, Zagreb, Belgrade, London, Dornach, Berlin, Riga, Reval, Helsingfors, Dorpat, Hamburg, Berlin.
November: Twins born: Swanhilde Elisabeth and Adelbert Johannes.


Lectures in Berlin, Nuremberg, Dornach, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Jena, Edinburgh, Leeds, Berlin, Dornach.
Trip to Italy.
August: „Kamp de Stakenberg“.


June-November: Journey through „Dutch India“ (Indonesia).
December: Publication of his book on Rudolf Steiner.


Lectures in Stuttgart, Essen, Bonn, Cologne, Paderborn, Barmen; Bangor; Dornach.


Expulsion from the General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach.


December-January: trip to Egypt.


Lectures in London, Bangor. Trip through Ireland, with his wife.
10 March: Foundation of the „Institute for Colour Psychology“ in The Hague.
19 May: Founding of a „School for Spiritual Science“ in The Hague.


March-April: Trip to Sicily and Italy. Lectures in London and elsewhere.


Travels to Zurich, London. Summer holidays with his family in the South of France.


Lectures in London, Cambridge.
September: Outbreak of the Second World War. Holland remains neutral until 10 May 1940.


Lectures in Belgium.
10 May: German army invades and occupies the Netherlands. Voluntary dissolution of the „Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands“ on 24 May.


July: The Waldorf School in The Hague is banned.
November: Last public lectures on anthroposophy.


April: Confiscation of the „Rudolf Steiner Clinic“ by the occupying forces.


„The Human Soul“ printed in 30 copies.


5 May: End of the Second World War. The Netherlands liberated by the Canadian army.
19 May: first lecture after the war: „Pentecost“.

Christmas: Re-foundation of the „Anthroposofische Vereniging in Nederland“. Re-opening of the Rudolf Steiner Clinic as a general hospital.


First post-war trips abroad: to Switzerland, Belgium and England. „Conversations on the Hygiene of the Soul“ and „De Menselijke Ziel“ are published.


Lectures in London, Antwerp, Mechelen, Brussels and Arlesheim. Founded the „Institute for Folk Psychology“.


First trip to the USA, with lectures in New York, Washington, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco and California.


Lectures in Stuttgart, Dornach, Mannheim, London and elsewhere.


Second trip to the USA with lectures in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, S. Francisco, Chicago, Pittsburg, Cincinnati.


Founds the „Centre for Free Spiritual Life“ in The Hague.
Travels to Mallorca and Spain, among other places.


Lectures in Freiburg, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Järna, Göteborg. Berlin, Le Havre, Bedford, Antwerp.
Holiday trip through Ireland.


Lectures in Basel, London, Stuttgart, Zurich, Berne, Stockholm, Helsinki, Gothenburg and Berlin.

August: European Conference in The Hague.


World tour through USA, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Ceylon, India, East Africa, South Africa.


Lectures in Arlesheim, Basel, Bochum, Antwerp, Comburg, Stuttgart, Helsinki, Stockholm, Järna.
June-September: state of exhaustion, illness.


„The Foundation Stone“ is published.


Lectures in Antwerp, Dornach, Berlin, Arlesheim, Greece (Crete, Knossos, Rhodes, Patmos, Delos, Mycenae, Samothrace, Athens, Eleusis, Ephesus).


Lectures in Arlesheim, Ascona, Antwerp, Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Järna, Odense.


Lectures in Antwerp, Comburg, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Vienna, among others. Death of brother Peter Zeylmans. „De Werkelijkheid waarin wij leven“ published.


21 January: Death of Ingeborg Zeylmans. In this year about eighty lectures, among others in Arlesheim, Gothenburg, Stockholm, London, Dornach, Bruges and Antwerp, reconnection of the Anthropos. Vereniging in Nederland to the General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach.


In this year about 115 lectures, among others in Ascona, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Dornach, London. Last visit to Mallorca. Holiday trip to Italy and Sicily.
7 September: Departure for Cairo. Visit to Sakkara, Memphis, Pyramids. Onward flight to Nairobi.
13 September: Lecture in Salisbury, visit to Victoria Falls.
18 September: Start of the journey through South Africa with, among others, 54 lectures in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, where Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven dies on Saturday 18 November in the morning between 6 and 7 am. The cremation takes place on 23 November, his 68th birthday. The ashes are scattered one day later by his eldest son from Table Mountain.

Source: from „Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven. A pioneer of anthroposophy. His life told by Emanuel Zeylmans“. Natura Verlag Arlesheim 1979.

Selective bibliography

Works by Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven

  • Grundfragen der Hygiene I: über Krankheit und Gesundheit. II: Einiges über die Hygiene von Körper, Seele und Geist. In: Natura, 1926 u. 1927. S. 223 ff. u. S. 246 ff.
  • Die Bedeutung von Goethes Art der Naturbetrachtung für die Heilkunst. I: Die Sprache der Göttin Natura. II: Die Anatomie des Lebendigen. In: Natura, 1926–1927. S. 21 ff. u. S. 62 ff.
  • Geisteswissenschaftliche Betrachtung über Psychoanalyse. In: Natura, Aug. 1927, S. 47 ff. u. S. 118 ff.
  • Die menschliche Seele im Zusammenhang mit Wachen, Träumen und Schlafen. In: Natura, 1928–’29. S. 16 ff.
  • Das Ostererlebnis in Goethes Faust. Eine Betrachtung über Zukunftshygiene. Nach einem Vortrag zum 4. April 1929 in Dornach. In: Natura, 1928–’29. S. 274 ff.
  • Grenzzustände des Seelenlebens. Nach einem Vortrag in Dornach vom 29. Mai ’31 oder 7. Okt, ’31 (Irrtümlich: 4.10. ’33). In: Natura, VI. Jahrg. S. 271 ff.
  • Über das wahre Wesen der Gefühle. In: Mitteilungen aus der anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland. Stuttgart, Sommer 1949.
  • Europa zwischen Ost und West. In: Europas Aufgabe im gegenwärtigen Weltgeschehen. Hrsg. von F. Herbert Hillringhaus. Freiburg i. B., 1953.
  • Warum ich den Weg der Anthroposophie gewählt habe. übers. von EI. Knottenbelt. In: Mitteilungen des Ita Wegman-Fonds für soziale und therapeutische Hilfstätigkeiten. Arlesheim, Weihnachten 1974.
  • Rudolf Steiner in Holland. In: Wir erlebten Rudolf Steiner. Erinnerungen seiner Schüler. Hrsg. von M. J. Krück von Poturzyn. Stuttgart 19561 (19775).
  • Über das Wesen der Angst im 20. Jahrhundert. (Sonderdruck aus dem Buch »Hygiene der Seele«). In: Weleda Nachrichten, Ostern 1957.
  • Die Mysterien von Ephesos und Samothrake, die Kategorien des Aristoteles und der Grundsteinspruch. Deutsche Übersetzung von M. J. Krück von Poturzyn, in: Deutsche Mitteilungen Nr. 48, Sommer 1959.
  • Rudolf Steiner und die zukünftige Menschengemeinschaft. In: Mitteilungen aus der anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland. Stuttgart Sommer 1961.
  • Die Wirklichkeit in der wir leben. Die zentrale Stellung des Mysteriums von Golgatha in der Menschheitsentwicklung. Eine Einführung in Rudolf Steiners Anthroposophie. Natura Verlag Arlesheim, 2. Aufl. 1977.
  • Gespräche über die Hygiene der Seele. Natura Verlag Arlesheim, 3. Aufl. 1988. –
  • The Foundation Stone. Temple Lodge 2002.

About Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven

  • Selg, Peter: Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven. Anthroposophie und Anthroposophische Gesellschaft im 20. Jahrhundert. Verlag des Ita Wegman Instituts. 2009. (Siehe auch den Beschrieb auf der Verlags-Seite.)
  • Fiechter-Bischof, M.: Im Gedenken an F. W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven. In: Mededelingen van de Anthroposophische Vereniging in Nederland. Nov. 1962 (deutschsprachig).
  • Götte, Fritz: In Memoriam F. W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven. in: Mitteilungen aus der anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland. Weihnachten 1964 (S. 264 H.).
  • Knottenbelt, Elisabeth: Dr. F. W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven. in: Nachrichtenblatt Dornach 17. Dez. 1961 (S. 206).
  • Lehrs, Ernst: Zum Hingang von F. W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven. in: Mitteilungen aus der anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland. Ostern 1962 (S. 50 ff.).
  • Lievegoed, B.C.: In Memoriam Dr. F. W. Zeylmans van Emmichoven. in: Beiträge zur Erweiterung der Heilkunst 1962, Nr. 6 (S. 213).
  • Zeylmans, Emanuel: Bij de dood van mijn Vader. in: Mededelingen van de Anthroposophische Vereniging in Nederland. (S. 454 ff.) 1961.
  • Zeylmans, Emanuel: Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven. Ein Pionier der Anthroposophie. Sein Leben. Natura Verlag Arlesheim, 1979. -> via Sekretariat erhältlich
  • Zeylmans, Emanuel: Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven. An Inspiration For Anthroposophy. A Biography. Temple Lodge, 2nd edition 2002.