Annejet van der Zijl

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Annejet van der Zijl
Annejet van der Zijl in 2008
Annejet van der Zijl in 2008
BornAnnajet van der Zijl[citation needed]
(1962-04-06) 6 April 1962 (age 58)
Oterleek, Netherlands
Notable worksSonny Boy

Annejet van der Zijl is a Dutch writer and historian. Born in 1962, she studied mass communication at the UVA in Amsterdam and earned an MA International Journalism at City University in London. She worked in magazine journalism until 2000 while writing her first book Jagtlust, about a ramshackle villa that was a meeting place for many artists and poets in the 1960s. Annejet van der Zijl lives in Amsterdam with her husband, a journalist.


Jagtlust (1998) was the debut novel about a villa where young artists gathered and rejected the established society of the 1950s.[1]

Jagtlust was followed by Anna (2002), the widely praised biography of the legendary Dutch children's writer Annie M.G. Schmidt. 'The book was nominated for several awards. This book was adapted into a TV mini-series called Annie M.G., directed by Dana Nechushtan.[2]

2004 saw the appearance of Sonny Boy, a reconstruction of the forbidden love between a Surinamese student and a married Dutch woman against the backdrop of the 1930s and the Second World War. Based on a true story, the book became immensely popular, selling over half a million copies in the Netherlands alone. Also, it was published in six other countries. The film version, which was directed by Dutch filmmaker Maria Peters and premiered in January 2011,[3] was the opening film of the Stony Brook Film Festival in New York in July 2011.[4]

Van der Zijl's fourth book, Bernhard – a hidden history, appeared in March 2010. With this detailed reconstruction of the unknown early life of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, the German-born husband of queen Juliana, she obtained a doctorate in History at the University of Amsterdam. Like its predecessors, this book was nominated for several historical and literary awards. In March 2011, Bernhard was given the M.J. Brusse Award for Best Journalism of 2011.[5] The thesis on which the book was based earned her a doctorate in history at the University of Amsterdam.

In 2014 Van der Zijl published Gerard Heineken, a biography of Gerard Heineken, the little-known founder of the Heineken brewery and brand.

Her latest book traces the life story of Allene Tew, an American socialite during the Gilded Age who made her way into European aristocracy in the 1930s. De Amerikaanse prinses ('The American Princess') was published in November 2015. The book was highly praised and became a huge bestseller in The Netherlands, topping the Dutch bestseller list for multiple weeks.[6] An English translation by Michele Hutchison, An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew, followed in 2017.


  • 2003: Zeeuwse Boekenprijs – Anna
  • 2006: Littéraire Witte Prijs
  • 2010: M.J. Brusseprijs – Bernhard[5]
  • 2012: Gouden Ganzenveer
  • 2016: Amsterdamprijs voor de Kunst[7]


  1. ^ "Jagtlust – Book by Annejet van der Zijl". Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Anna – Book by Annejet van der Zijl". Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  3. ^ Beekman, Bor (20 January 2011). "Finesse ontbreekt in verfilming 'Sonny Boy'". De Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Sonny Boy". Stony Brook Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b Journalistiek, Voor Diepgravende En Tijdrovende. "2012 en eerder". Fonds BJP (in Dutch). Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Winnaars Amsterdamprijs voor de Kunst bekend". NU. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2019.

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