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Willem Wilmink ['ʋɪləm 'ʋɪlmɪŋk] (Enschede, 25 October 1936 – 2 August 2003) was a Dutch poet and writer. He was best known for his the large number of songs he wrote for popular children programs and his simple poetry.
Wilmink was born in Enschede and studied Dutch and history at the University of Amsterdam. From 1960 to 1978, he taught modern literature at the same university. He wrote many songs for musicals and wrote a number of youth books[disambiguation needed]. At first he mainly wrote for adults, but later mainly for children.
His first publication was in 1966: Brief van een Verkademeisje (letter from a Verkade girl). From 1970, he formed a writers collective, together with Karel Eijkman, Hans Dorrestijn, Ries Moonen, Fetze Pijlman and Jan Riem. It contributed a lot to television programs like De Stratemakeropzeeshow, Het Klokhuis, De Film van Ome Willem, Sesamstraat and Kinderen voor Kinderen.
He received numerous prizes:
- Louis Davids Prijs (in the seventies)
- Zilveren Griffel (in 1983 and in 1994)
- Gouden Griffel (1986)
- Theo Thijssen Prijs (1988)
Wilmink never became really famous as a performing artist (he did sing and played accordion), but a lot of Dutch people know his songs. He performed regularly with his group in the nineties.
Many Dutch artists have performed Wilminks poetry. Among others, those are Herman van Veen, Wieteke van Dort, Joost Prinsen and the cabaret group Don Quishocking. Many of his texts have been put into music by Harry Bannink and Frank Deiman.
In the last period of his life, his health declined because of a number of strokes. He found that he could not leave Enschede (his birthtown) anymore, because he was too afraid to do so.