Iconic Amsterdam poet and 'weed ambassador' dies

13th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Remembering a man who helped launch the Dutch Fifties Movement.

Amsterdam – Poet and author Simon Vinkenoog, a man who loved Amsterdam and its beatnik attitude, has died, his family said Sunday.

The 80-year-old Vinkenoog had been ill for some time, having undergone a leg amputation and suffering a brain haemorrhage.

He lost consciousness in the Revalidatiecentrum Amsterdam (a health revitalization centre) where he was recovering from his amputation, and died Sunday shortly thereafter.

His first volume of poetry, entitled Wondkoorts ("Traumatic Fever"), appeared in 1950.

In 1951, he edited the anthology Atonaal ("Atonal"), which helped launch the Dutch “Fifties Movement,” a group of artists and writers who rejected their predecessors perspectives on art.

Vinkenoog also focused on the American beat poets, publishing Jack Kerouac in Amsterdam in 1980.

One of his last works was a 2001 translation of Allen Ginsberg's poetry, Me and my peepee.

In 2004, Simon Vinkenoog was elected Dutch poet laureate. In that same year, he ended a decades-long run with Bres, a magazine that regularly published his articles, starting with an exploration of LSD in 1968.

Vinkenoog loved the city where he was born and where he lived, and published an ode to his native Amsterdam, Am*dam Madmaster, in 2008.

Drugs advocate
In addition to his purely literary work, Vinkenoog wrote profusely about his experiences with drugs, and published titles such as How to Enjoy Reality (1968).

Vinkenoog has been known as Amsterdam's "weed ambassador" since the 1960s.

In the 2006 general elections, he was a figurehead for a small political party which promoted the legalisation of cannabis. The party did not succeed in winning any seats in the lower house of parliament.

One of his most recent appearances was in 2007, when he lent support to a demonstration in Amsterdam against a proposed ban on magic mushrooms.

The 1960s continue to fade
Simon Vinkenoog represented the time when the Dutch capital gained its reputation as a drugs-friendly 'Magic Centre', which it has managed to retain to this day.

With his death, Amsterdam loses one more of its iconic throwbacks to the swinging sixties.

Earlier in 2009, performance artist Robert Jasper Grootveld also died.

Grootveld was known for his large-scale open-air ceremonies in the mid-sixties in which he mocked bourgeois hypocrisy.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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