Kees Kousemaker (1942-2010) is Holland's most renowned comics expert. He was born in Steenbergen, Netherlands. He first arose to prominence when he opened Lambiek, the first comic shop in the world, in 1968. As a result of his work with exhibiting the early creations of young comic artists such as Peter Pontiac and Joost Swarte, he established many collaborations and friendships with a lot of national and international artists.
He was married to Evelien Kousemaker (Maria Willems) who worked on comics compilations with him; they had two sons and a daughter. Their eldest son took over Lambiek, a short time before Kees Kousemaker got ill.
Kousemaker died in 2010.
The Lambiek website features online exhibitions of art and a history of Dutch comics. Kousemaker's Lambiek Comiclopedia is an illustrated compendium of over 11,000 international comic artists.
The store has held exhibitions of art by comic creators, including Robert Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Erik Kriek, André Franquin, Tanino Liberatore and Chris Ware. The shop and the informational website both have a strong focus on underground comics, graphic novels and autobiographical comics. The exhibitions can be profit or non-profit, depending on the subject of the exposition.
Kousemaker also published books about Dutch comic culture. He died April 27, 2010.
- Kousemaker was the recipient of the Order of Orange-Nassau medal from the Netherlands for his special dedication to the history of comic books.
- In 2006, he was awarded a royal decoration for his work in comics.
- 1997: Won the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award
Although the lambiek.net is their main domain name, Lambiek started a website www.lambiek.com in 1996 when Kees started to store historical comic book info online. Throughout the nineties and zero's it kept its original blue design until after Kees' his death, when his son ordered a complete remake of the site while all existing information should converted into databases, which was launched in August 2012. The website has now next to its Comiclopedia, a webshop for comic books, eComics and original art.