C. Buddingh'

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Kees Buddingh' in 1967

Cornelis (Kees) Buddingh' (7 August 1918 – 24 November 1985) was a Dutch poet, TV-presenter, translator, and the father of Harry Potter translator Wiebe Buddingh'. Amongst others he translated A Clockwork Orange and the complete works of William Shakespeare into Dutch.


Kees Buddingh’ was born on 7 August 1918 in Dordrecht. He went to the HBS from 1930 to 1935 and in 1938 he got his MO-A in English in the Hague. He was in military service from 1938 to 1940, until he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He was treated for this for several years. In 1950 he married Christina "Stientje" van Vuren. They had two sons, Sacha and Wiebe.

After several publications in "Den Gulden Winckel" and "Criterium", Buddingh' debuted with his collection "Het geïrriteerde lied". These publications of surreal poems were illegal, due to the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Also his translations of four poems by W.H. Auden were issued clandestinely.

While in the sanitarium for his tuberculosis, he wrote his famous "gorgelrijmen", of which "De blauwbilgorgel" is the most famous. This particular poem was inspired by an English children’s novel titled "The bluebillgurgle" by E. Nesbitt. He published the "gorgelrijmen" in many different editions, among which "10 gorgelrijmen", a collection of which only ten copies were printed. He also worked for "Gard Sivik" and "Barbarber", two Dutch magazines.

Later in his life, Buddingh’ was a literary and a translator. He translated many English books into Dutch, including The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy and A Clockwork Orange, together with his son Wiebe.

Throughout his life, Buddingh' felt a strong connection to his native town of Dordrecht and the city features in many of his works including the poem "Ode aan Dordrecht". In 1975 he wrote the "Boekenweekgeschenk". Buddingh' published a translation of a volume of poetry by D.J. Enright, "Paradise Illustrated", in 1982.

He had a part-time job at the institute for translation studies at the University of Amsterdam. He was also chairman of publishing company "De Bezige Bij" and was made an honorary citizen of Dordrecht on his 60th birthday.

Kees Buddingh’ died while recovering from an operation on 24 November 1985.