Estate of Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven

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: Begins school in Helmond.


January: The Zeylmans family moves to Amsterdam. He attends secondary school there.

Autumn: Willem Zeylmans falls ill with typhoid fever.


July: Graduates from the 5-year secondary school in Amsterdam.

September: Enrollment in the Medical School 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. He is drafted as a „medical doctor in training.“


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


August: Marie Tak van Poortvliet enables Zeylmans to be released from his contract as a future colonial doctor; she finances his further studies.


March: Passes the medical „doctoral exam,“ followed by internships at various clinics.

Summer: Color 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; in October, he becomes a member of the Anthroposophical Society.

17-23 December: First meeting with Rudolf Steiner in Dornach (Switzerland); he attends Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on „The Bridge between Universal Spirituality and the Physical Constitution of the Human Being“ (GA 202).


January: Employed as a doctor at the municipal mental asylum „Maasoord“ in Poortugaal near Rotterdam. After a few months, promotion to departmental doctor of four women’s centers („my 220 women friends“).

26 February-2 March: Attends several lectures by Rudolf Steiner 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 Perspectives of the Anthroposophical Movement“ where he attends Rudolf Steiner’s lectures „Anthroposophy, Its Roots of Knowledge and Its Fruits for Life“ (GA 78).

27 September: Marriage to Ingeborg Droogleever Fortuyn.


January: Offers his first lecture („Anthroposophy and Medicine“) to students in the hall „De Turk“ in Leiden, marking the beginning of his career as a lecturer. Before he died in 1961, he he had given about 2000 lectures.

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), along with a lecture for the Branch,“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: Attends Rudolf Steiner’s lectures in Holland.

End of November: First child born – Johanna Veronica.


10-17 June: In Dornach for the „Delegates‘ Meetingh.“ He attends 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 Colors 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 Anthroposophical Understanding of the Supersensible Human Being“ (GA 231).

Zeylmans becomes General Secretary of the new national Society in Holland.

23 December-9 January: In Dornach for the Christmas Conference to found the „General Anthroposophical Society.“ Attends Rudolf Steiner’s lectures “World History and the Mysteries in the Light of Anthroposophy” (GA 233), “The Course for Young Physicians” (GA 316), and “Mystery Sites of the Middle Ages” (GA 233a).


23-27 May: In Paris, where he attends Rudolf Steiner’s lectures and meets Edouard Schuré and Jules Sauerwein.

17-25 July: “Anthroposophical-Pedagogical Summer Conference‘ in Arnhem, during which Rudolf Steiner offers the lecture cycle “Human Values in Education” (GA 310).

8-21 September: In Dornach, where Zeylmans hears Rudolf Steiner’s last major lecture cycles:

The Pastoral Medicine  Course (GA 318),

Speech and Drama (GA 282),

Esoteric Observations on Karmic Relationships (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 is 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 in 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, and Berlin.

November: Twins born: Swanhilde Elisabeth and Adelbert Johannes.


Lectures in Berlin, Nuremberg, Dornach, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Jena, Edinburgh, Leeds, Berlin, and Dornach.

Trip to Italy.

August: „Kamp de Stakenberg.“


June-November: Trip through the „Dutch East Indies“ (Indonesia).

December: Publication of his book on Rudolf Steiner.


Lectures in Stuttgart, Essen, Bonn, Cologne, Paderborn, Barmen, Bangor, and 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 for the duration of the war.


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


„The Human Soul“ printed—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: Refounding 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. „The Anthroposophical Undertanding 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; lectures in New York, Washington, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and elsewhere in California.


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


Second trip to the USA; lectures in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Pittsburg, and Cincinnati.


Founds the „Center 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.

Vacation trip through Ireland.


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

August: European Conference in The Hague.


World tour, including the USA, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Ceylon, India, East Africa, and South Africa.


Lectures in Arlesheim, Basel, Bochum, Antwerp, Comburg, Stuttgart, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Järna.

June-September: State of exhaustion and illness.


The Foundation Stone is published.


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


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


Lectures in Antwerp, Comburg, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Vienna, among others. Death of brother Peter Zeylmans.

De Werkelijkheid waarin wij leven (The Reality in which We Live) is published.


21 January: Death of Ingeborg Zeylmans.

During this year, he gives about eighty lectures—in Arlesheim, Gothenburg, Stockholm, London, Dornach, Bruges and Antwerp (and elsewhere).  Reconnection of the Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands with the General Anthroposophical Society in Dornach.


About 115 lectures—in Ascona, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Dornach, London, and elsewhere. Last visit to Mallorca. Vacation trip to Italy and Sicily.

7 September: Departs for Cairo. Visit to Saqqara, Memphis, and the pyramids. Onward flight to Nairobi.

13 September: Lecture in Salisbury; visit to Victoria Falls.

18 September: Start of the journey through South Africa with 54 lectures in various places including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town—where Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven dies on the morning of of Saturday, 18 November between 6 and 7 am. The cremation takes place on 23 November, his 68th birthday. One day later his ashes are scattered from Table Mountain by his eldest son.

Source: Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven. A Pioneer of Anthroposophy. His Llife 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.