Henrik Sillem

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Olympic medal record
Men's Shooting
Bronze medal – third place 1900 Paris Team military pistol
Henrik Sillem as a boy.
Henrik Sillem with the Dutch shooting team in Switzerland.

Henrik Sillem (12 August 1866, Amsterdam – 13 July 1907, Courmayeur, Italy) was a Dutch jurist, mountaineer and sports shooter.

Personal life and education[edit]

Henrik Sillem was the son of Johann Gottlieb Sillem, banker with Hope & Co. bankers, Amsterdam. His mother was Jkvr. Judith Catharina Henriette Hoeufft.

Henrik Sillem studied law at the University of Amsterdam. He graduated as Doctor of Law on May 8, 1891, with a thesis 'Het faillissement des verzekeraars' (Bankruptcy of insurance companies)' published by Roeloffzen en Hubner, Amsterdam in 1891.[1]

On May 28, 1891 he married in Arnhem jkvr. Susanna Catharina Beatrix des Tombe (born February 24, 1869, Arnhem - died November 6, 1948) the daughter of jonkheer François Joan Adriaan des Tombe and Beatrix Cruys. The couple had two sons, Francois Johann and Henrick (Boet) Sillem, before divorcing in 1897.

In 1902, in London, Sillem married Bertha Johanna Eva Reuser, (1879-1971), daughter of Johann and Katharina Anna Reuser Schmolck.

Henrik Sillem worked in Amsterdam as a lawyer, legal advisor and public prosecutor.

Olympic medalist[edit]

Together with his friend Solko van den Bergh and the Frenchman François Monod, Sillem initiated the first 'international shooting matches' (world championships in shooting) in 1897 in Lyon. These were the forerunners of the matches that were held in Paris in 1900, now considered to have been part of the Olympics. Sillem competed with the Dutch pistol team and won a bronze medal.

Mountaineer and explorer[edit]

When he was 19, Sillem climbed the Matterhorn from the northern side, with FG Waller. In 1902 he reached an altitude of 6,400 m (21,000 ft) on Nun in Kashmir. In 1905 he climbed the Aconcagua in the Andes. He also climbed Antarctica's Mount Kinsey and Mount Ellie.

In March 1906, Henrik Sillem made the first ascent of the West Ridge of Mt Cook in New Zealand with guide Peter Graham.

Sillem only reached the age of 41; in 1907 he fell while descending the Aiguille du Midi and was buried nearby, in Courmayeur.


  1. ^ Academisch proefschrift 'Het faillissement des verzekeraars', uitgave Roeloffzen & Hubner, Amsterdam, 1891. Herdruk: Kessinger Publishing, LaVergne, Tennessee, USA, 2010