Johannes van der Palm
|Johannes Hendricus van der Palm|
17 June 1763|
|Died||11 September 1840
|Occupation||Poet, theologian, politician, professor|
Van der Palm was the son of Cornelis van der Palm, a Rotterdam school-head and co-founder of the Rotterdam poets' society Studium scientiarum genetrix (IJver is the mother of the sciences). From 17 years old Van der Palm was also a member of this society and six years later was appointed a member on merit. In 1783 his father awarded him the gold 'erepenning' (medal) for his poem Het Oorlog (The War). By then he was studying at the University of Leiden and writing many poems – his 1784 poem de verheerlijking van Christus op den berg (To the glory of Christ on the mountain) won the gold award of the Hague poets' society Kunstliefde spaart geen vlijt, of which Van der Palm was a member.
In 1784 Van der Palm became a predikant at Maartensdijk. He was a member of the Patriot movement and in 1787 had to flee to Bunschoten when Orangism was in the ascendency. He was scientific advisor to Middelburg (1788) before becoming a member of the Provisional Board of Zeeland (1795), planting a Liberty Tree. In 1796 he became professor of oriental languages at the University of Leiden. From 1799 to 1805 Van der Palm succeeded Theodorus van Kooten as minister of education ("agent for National Education") in the Batavian Republic and Batavian Commonwealth, at first as minister for primary education then for schools too from 1806. Van der Palm called on the Leiden professor Matthijs Siegenbeek to establish a uniform system of Dutch spelling, that was officially introduced on 18 December 1804. In 1801 Van der Palm was also for a time the interim minister of economic affairs ("agent for the National Economy"). From 1805 he was a professor, this time in sacred poetry and rhetoric. In 1812 he was called to account for not paying tribute to emperor Napoleon in his speech at the start of the academic year.
Van der Palm was famous in his time as a writer and orator and in 1815 won a prize of 700 guilders, awarded by Jan van Kinsbergen. In 1818 he began a new Bible translation, completing it in 1830. He died in 1840 aged 77. Nicolaas Beets, who in 1840 married Van der Palm's granddaughter Aleide van Foreest, wrote a biography of van der Palm in 1842 entitled Leven en karakter van [Life and Character of] J.H. v.d. Palm.