WALDEN

Frederik Willem van Eeden (1860-1932), a psychiatrist, was the famous Dutch writer, who, with some friends, founded, In The Netherlands, in 1898, his colony named "Walden", after the book title of the American Henry David Thoreau: Walden, or life in the woods (1854). Van Eeden was painfully aware of many economic injustices in The Netherlands. Therefore, the idea was that the revenues of the land would be distributed equally among all colonists as to eliminate differences between the rich and the poor. Tens of colonists joined, but the outside world reacted hostile. Opponents mocked that the characters WALDEN stoot for: Waar Allen Luieren, Daar Eet Niemand (Where all are lazy, nobody eats). How different was my own 3 months expierience in the 70-ies in an Israeli Kibbutz !  Walden, however was dissolved already after some years, reportedly having been a great failure.

I am not sure wether the bakery (see picture of the share) was located in Walden and what it's specific history is. Who can inform me ?   The VVOF Catalogue of Dutch Stocks mentions that the bakery had been run by Dr. van Eeden until the firm was incorporated in 1911. Director became K. van 't Veer and Dr. van Eeden became one of the 6 members of the supervisory board. The company was liquidated in 1915, after the capital had been reduced already in 1914  from f 120.000 to f 30.000.

In Walden, Frederik van Eeden wrote his remarkable book "Van de koele meren des doods" (Of the cool lakes of death).

Some 100 years after Thoreau wrote "Walden", the famous American behaviouristic psychologist B.F. Skinner (born 1904) wrote his novel "Walden Two" in 1948, picturing utopian life, based to a large extent on the far-reaching social and ethical implications for human life of the psychological principles of operant conditioning. In his utopia human behaviour is no longer determined by punishment and threat of that. Everyone will behave as is expected of him or her, just because that is the most rewarding behaviour. Skinner outlines all these principles underlying his utopia in 1971 in his book "Byond Freedom and Dignity".

Sources and references:

copy from an unknow literature book, p.122-123

Crombach, H.F.M, (1990), De mythe van de innerlijke drijfveer, NRC, 28-8-1990.

Eerste Systematische Nederlandsche Encyclopedie, E.N.S.I.E.(1952) deel 10, p. 405; 1167

Misiak H. and Sexton, V.S. (1966), History of Psychology, an overview, New York, Grune & Stratton, p. 342.

Skinner, B. F.(1948), Walden Two, New York, McMillan.

Skinner, B.F. (1971), Byond freedom and Dignity, New York, Alfred Knopf (also in Penguin)

Thoreau, H.D., (1854), Walden, or life in the woods, ......

VVOF cat. no. NL H 104 a-b, maart 1994


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 update: January 6th 2016

Dr. Hugo H. van der Molen - Wederikweg 114 - 9753 AE Haren, The Netherlands
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