Boekman in the 1930s
August 15, 1889
|Died||May 15, 1940
|Political party||Social Democratic Workers' Party (1921-1940)|
|Spouse(s)||Jansje Nerde (?-1940)|
Emanuel ("Manus") Boekman (August 15, 1889 in Amsterdam – May 15, 1940 in Amsterdam) was a Dutch social democratic politician, statistician, demographer and typographer. He is remembered for his activities as a municipal executive board member for education and culture (wethouder) in Amsterdam (1931-1933, 1935-1940) and his advocacy for an active state cultural policy.
Boekman was born into a dynasty of Jewish booksellers and was the eldest son of Maurits Boekman (1869-1942), initially a diamond cutter, and Heintje Peereboom. At the age of twelve he started working as a typographer. He was interested in politics and became a chairman of his trade union, the Typografen Jongelingen Vereeniging (Young Typographer's Society). Originally he was a follower of the early Dutch socialist Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis. Boekman's spare time was devoted to study and he qualified for various teacher's degrees including economy.
In 1911 Boekman obtained a position as head of the administration of the Amsterdam Harbour Authority and in 1916 became head of the department for statistics of the Rijksverzekeringsbank (nl), a state insurance bank. In this period he became a prolific author on various subjects, ranging from statistics and economy to unemployment and alcoholism. From 1921 up to his death in 1940 Boekman was a member of the Amsterdam city council for the Dutch Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP). In 1931 he became a municipal executive board member (wethouder) for education and culture at Amsterdam.
On 6 June 1939 Boekman obtained his PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam with professor H.N. ter Veen. His thesis "Overheid en kunst in Nederland" (Government and art in the Netherlands) investigated the 19th and 20th-century history of Dutch cultural policy and projected seminal plans for cultural dissemination by the state and municipalities, e.g., by incorporating art in new building projects and giving the worker class access to art. This thesis was influential and reprinted into the 1970s. When the German army invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, Boekman initially stood by his principle that executives should not flee. Later on, when he had changed his mind, the escape route via IJmuiden to the United Kingdom became intractable. On capitulation day 15 May 1940, Boekman and his wife committed suicide together with their friends, the family of the social democrat professor Bob van Gelderen.
In 1963 the Boekmanstichting (nl) was founded, named after him by the Federatie van Kunstenaarsverenigingen (federation of artist's societies). The Boekmanstichting is an independent center for the study of art, culture and policy.
Boekman by Meyer Bleekrode
- (in Dutch) Boekman, Emanuel: Overheid en kunst in Nederland, Thesis University of Amsterdam, 1939
- (in Dutch) G.W.B. Borrie, 'Boekman, Emanuel (1889-1940)', in Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland.
- (in Dutch) Van Dulken, Hans en Jansen, Tony (red.): Het leven als leerschool. Portret van Emanuel Boekman, Amsterdam, 1989
- (in Dutch) Jansen, Tony, Boekman, Emanuel, Biografisch woordenboek van het socialisme en de arbeidersbeweging in Nederland, op socialhistory.org maintained by the International Institute of Social History
- (in Dutch) Jansen, Tony en Rogier, Jan: Kunstbeleid in Amsterdam, 1920-1940: Dr. E. Boekman en de socialistische gemeentepolitiek, Nijmegen, SUN, 1983.
- (in English) Maas, Harro: A pragmatic intellectual. Dutch Fabians, Boekman and cultural policy in the Netherlands, 1890-1940, International Journal of Cultural Policy 12(2006)2, 151-170
- (in Dutch), C. e.a.: Van Boekman tot Schimmelpennink. De kleine geschiedenis van een boekhandel op de Weteringschans, 2003