Carolus Verhulst (1982)
Carolus Verhulst, the
founder of Servire publishers
In 1921, Carolus Verhulst (1900-1985), at that time 21 years old,
founded the bookstore/publishing company Servire in The Hague, NL. The
name Servire is an allusion to Verhulst's wish that his publishing
company would be subservient to humanity.
About 1928, he married Elisabeth Duif (1901-1971). Together with his
managed the publishing company until her decease.
Verhulst wanted to run a company which published esoteric and philosophic
works. The '20's were not suited for such a policy. As a result, the Servire catalogue had a general nature and contained works
on various fields such as art, the Dutch East Indies, esotery, history,
nature, novels, philosophy and travelling.
Verhulst was a convinced pacifist. In the early '20's, he was one of the
first Dutchmen who resisted draft. This resulted in imprisonment. In the
years which preceded World War II, he also published idealistic
and pacifistic literature and leaflets.
The publication shortly before the invasion by the Germans in the
Netherlands of A.M. Meerloo's Homo militans - de psychologie van
oorlog, ziekte en vrede in de
mens, in which national-socialism was forcefully condemned, resulted in a conflict between Verhulst and the
Germans. They forbade him to publish; he
once was threatened with death. With the help of others, he could lay
hand on paper and managed to publish. As a security measure, his authors
and translators often used a pseudonym.
Logo NV Servire
After the war, Verhulst resumed his publishing activities. From 1967,
Servire publishers was seated in Wassenaar, adjacent to The Hague, at
the Zijdeweg 5a. In 1976, Verhulst ended his
work at Servire publishers. In November 1976, he founded an
publishing company, named Mirananda, a company which since 2004 carries
the name Synthese. The name Mirananda, a contraction of Mira
and Ananda, means: beatitude in love, and shines light upon
Verhulst's ideas and ideals.
For many years, Servire publishers remained an independent company. In
1981, Felix Erkelens became in charge of the company. Under his
Servire publishers became entirely devoted to the publishing of esoteric
literature. In April 1999, Servire publishers became part of Veen
publishers, Utrecht, NL.
H. Houwens Post
Houwens Post, also known as mr. dr. W.L. Vreede
In 1941, Servire publishers published the first, complete, Dutch edition
of the Centuries, entitled De profetieën van Nostradamus;
on this website entitled: "the 1941-Vreede-translation". The
price was f 2,90.
The circumstances in which De profetieën van Nostradamus was
published, were quite hard. Verhulst had a conflict with the Germans and
in the Netherlands, the political situation became aggravated. The
translator of the Centuries, mr. dr. Hendrik Houwens Post, used a
pseudonym, like other authors and translators whose works were published
by Servire. Houwens Post's pseudonym: mr. dr. W.L. Vreede (Vreede =
peace). Houwens Post (Surakarta, September 18, 1904 - Utrecht, September 1, 1986) lived
and studied in the Netherlands from 1911 to 1934. In summer, he usually
went to France. In March 1929, Houwens Post became a doctor in
Romanistic (French, Italian, vulgar Latin). Next, he worked a couple of
years as a French teacher. In 1932, he wrote his Romanistic dissertation.
In the beginning of 1934, Houwens Post emigrated to the Dutch East
Indies, where he worked as a French teacher in Surabaya for more than a
year. In 1936, he returned to the Netherlands to study Dutch East Indian
legislation at the Utrecht University. In July 1940, he got his master's
Because of the war, Houwens Post could not return to the Dutch East
Indies. From December 1940 until July 1956, he worked as a French
teacher at the Municipal Grammar School in Breda, NL; from 1956 to 1974 he
worked as an extraordinary professor in Portuguese language and
Portuguese and Brazilian literature at the Utrecht University. His
interest in Portuguese dated from 1921. From 1938, he studied the
Portuguese language and Portuguese literature.
The 1941-Vreede-translation consists of 205
pages. Its contents are as follows:
Biography (by Houwens Post).
Introduction to the
Prophecies (by Houwens Post).
The Preface to Cesar.
The quatrains 01-01
A not-numbered "warning
against inapt critics".
The quatrains 07-01
The Epistle to Henry
The quatrains 08-01
Notes (the French
source text of 29 quatrains which Houwens Post could not translate
publishers, Amsterdam, and the 1941-Vreede-translation
According to former
co-workers of Servire publishers, there was no reprint of the
1941-Vreede-translation in the period 1941-1945. After World War II, the 1941-Vreede-translation was not reissued, neither by
nor by another publishing company, until 1979, when Verhulst granted
Nico Schors, director of Schors publishers, Amsterdam, permission to
publish the 1941-Vreede-translation.
From 1979 to 1997, Schors
publishers made many reprints of the 1941-Vreede-translation (for some
years cloth-bound, later as a paperback). The title of these reprints
was the same as the title which was used back in 1941: De profetieën van
Nostradamus. On the cover, a chart was depicted, erected
for the Solar Eclipse of August 11, 1999, 11:17 GMT. The figure
contained the zodiacal longitudes of the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The cusp longitudes were calculated
by means of the Placidus system of house division. On the cover of the
first edition, the name of the publisher was printed underneath the
chart. In later editions, the publisher's name was replaced by
Houwens Post's translation of quatrain 10-72, a quatrain
which according to some Century-scholars refers to
the Solar Eclipse of August 11, 1999. In De Profetieën van
Nostradamus, the source of this chart is not mentioned. The study
upon which this article is based, showed that this chart previously was
depicted in Nostradamus - Prophetische Weltgeschichte (dr. N. Alexander
Centurio, Bietigheim, 1968, page 55). The horoscope analysis carries the name of
dr. Wilhelm Kestranek, Vienna. According to Centgraf, quatrain 10-72
indicated that in France, Henry the Fortunate would be crowned on August
11, 1999, which would mean the restoration of the French monarchy.
In 1998, Schors publishers published Nostradamus - de grootste ziener aller tijden
- een introductie tot zijn leven, werk en profetieën, written
by Jan Vandervoort. Vandervoort made a linguistic revision of the
1941-Vreede-translation according to modern Dutch grammar rules, he
wrote a biography and described predictions which, according to him,
were fulfilled, abused or in some cases interpreted in a hilarious way.
An investigation of Vandervoort's methods showed that in the chapter Wonderbaarlijke
interpretaties en "uitgekomen" voorspellingen, a lot
of material is included, previously published in the chapter Verleden, heden en toekomst op
wonderbaarlijke wijze voorspeld door den Franschman Michel
Nostradamus in zijn "Les vrayes Centuries et Prophéties"
in the national-socialist publication Hoe zal deze oorlog
Nowadays, the 1941-Vreede-translation and its reprints are out of print.
Sometimes, they are in the stock of second hand book stores. In the
Netherlands, they are also preserved in several university libraries and
in the Royal Dutch Library in The Hague. Vandervoort's book is still in
texts and illustrations
In the chapter Inleiding tot de Profetieën (tr.: Introduction
to the Prophecies), Houwens Post writes
that his translation is a complete, Dutch edition, in the same
order, of the 1558-Lyon-edition which contains the Preface to Cesar,
the Centuries 01 to 07, the Epistle to Henry II and the Centuries 08
On the back cover of their reprints of the 1941-Vreede-translation,
the back cover of Vandervoort's book and its online description,
Schors publishers referred to this remark.
However, a 1558-Lyon-edition of the Centuries never has been brought
to light. The research upon which Nostradamus, astrology and the
Bible is based, showed that Houwens Post used other source
The source text of the quatrains is the Xerox-copy of the
1668-Amsterdam-edition of the Centuries, made in 1938
Piobb and entitled Texte
intégral de Nostradamus - Réproduction agrandie en phototypie de l'édition
d'Amsterdam, 1668, précédée de la Lettre à César, son fils, d'après
l'édition de Lyon, 1558. From the chapter Inleiding tot de
Profetieën, it can be derived that Houwens Post knew this copy.
Further, the research showed that for his translation of the Preface
and the Epistle, Houwens Post not only used the 1938-Piobb-copy, but
also the German translation of the Preface and the Epistle, made by
dr. Christian Wöllner and published in Das
Mysterium des Nostradamus (Leipzig, 1926).
The 1941-Vreede-translation does not contain a complete, parallel
French source text. The source text of six quatrains is given in
the chapter Inleiding tot de Profetieën; the chapter Aantekeningen
(tr.: notes) contains the French source text of 29 quatrains, which Houwens Post
could not translate completely.
1941-Vreede-translation contains b/w reproductions of the cover of the
1668-Amsterdam-edition and of one of its pages. This page contains the
last two lines of quatrain 01-54, the quatrains 01-55 to 01-61 and the
first two lines of quatrain 01-62. Most likely, these pages were copied
from the 1938-Piobb-copy.
The frame on dust jack cover of De Profetieën van Nostradamus is
most probably a copy of the cover of 1938-Piobb-copy; the French title Les
vrayes Centuries et Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus is
replaced by the Dutch title De Profetieën van Nostradamus.
the 1941-Vreede-translation, an engraving of Nostradamus is depicted,
made by Jean Sauvé.
Underneath, a four-line verse is printed:
se sert icy de ma bouche
Pour t'anoncer la verité.
Si ma prediction te touche
Rends grace a sa Divinité.
to the Levensschets (tr.: biography), this engraving was copied from the
Actually, the first time this engraving was published, was in Balthasar
Concordance des propheties de Nostradamus avec l’histoire depuis Henry
II jusqu’a Louis le Grand – La Vie et l'Apologie de cet
Auteur. Ensemble quelques essais d'explications sur plusieurs de ses
autres Prédictions, tant sur le present que sur l'avenir (Paris,
1693, 1709 and 1712). In the morning edition of the Hague
newspaper Het Vaderland of August 29, 1937, this engravure
illustrated the article Toekomst-komkommers - Voorspellen van de
toekomst voorziet in een behoefte aan orde, written by Menno ter
Braak. In the 1668-Amsterdam-edition, a different engravure was
purpose of the 1941-Vreede-translation
Houwens Post translated the Centuries in order to counter-react
to national-socialist comments on the Centuries which were
published in Germany.
This remark cannot be connected with the remark on page 11 in the INLEIDING
TOT DE PROFETIEËN that many people acquired the photocopy of the
1668-Amsterdam-edition which, because of the presence of the authentic
texts of the Centuries as well as the non-authentic texts could
lead to wrong conclusions. With this remark, Houwens Post points to the
Netherlands, not to Germany.
In a direct sense, the mentioning of the "photocopy of the
1668-Amsterdam-edition" points to the 1938-Piobb-copy, but
indirectly, it might point to Hoe zal deze oorlog eindigen?,
the Dutch version of a national-socialist brochure, written in November
- December 1939 by order of Goebbels and published by W.J. Ort, The
Hague, in April 1940 with a circulation number of 5000 copies. On page 41 in Hoe zal deze oorlog eindigen?, it
reads that the (French, TvB) quotes originate from de uitgave der
"Editions ADYAR - 4. Square Rapp Paris (VIIe)" - ("Texte
intégral) de Nostradamus - Reproduction agrandie en phototypie de l'édition
d'Amsterdam, 1668", i.e. the 1938-Piobb-copy.
Taking this in consideration, it seems to me quite possible that Houwens Post,
by translating the Centuries, wanted to
counter-react on Hoe zal deze oorlog
eindigen? and that the design of the cover of the
1941-Vreede-translation was inspired by the cover and the title page of Hoe zal deze oorlog eindigen?.
Houwens Post's motives to
counter-react on national-socialist comments upon the Centuries might have resulted from his interest in the Centuries,
in paranormal phenomena and from his pan-European ideals.
The chapter Inleiding tot de Profetieën shows that Houwens Post
was quite familiar with the Centuries. He describes several researches,
among which those of Piobb and De Fontbrune. Houwens Post is quite
positive about the predictional value of the Centuries, which is shown
by his linking of quatrain 01-03 to the French Revolution, quatrain
08-57 to Napoleon Bonaparte and quatrain 08-76 to Oliver Cromwell.
Neither Houwens Post's biography, nor the chapter Inleiding tot de Profetieën
shows that he was acquainted with astrology or prophecy. In his
biography, it is described that he once had a vision. In the period
1934-1936, while visiting the Borobodur in Yogyakarta, he had a vision
in which Buddha ordered him to become an "Eurosattva", a
prophet of Europeanism. In 1974, he wrote in a French manuscript: "Être Européen est désormais une
religion, une fois religieuse, car tout Européen y aspire sans même
s'en rendre compte consciement." The Europe Houwens Post had in
mind, was entirely different from the Großdeutschland of the
national-socialists. This difference in ideas might have been reason for
Houwens Post to translate the Centuries.
According to his biography, Houwens Post also had an experience
regarding reincarnation. In 1939, when he first visited Lisboa, he
became convinced that in a previous life he was a Portuguese. He
recognized churches and palaces, built in the 16th century and knew the
way. He had no need to learn Portuguese, he only needed to refresh his
memory. His interest in Europe and Portugal blended in an interest for
the Kelts, who spread their Druid culture all over Europe in the pre-christian
era. For Houwens Post, this all culminated in feeling himself the
exegete of Luïs Vaz de Camoes, a Portuguese poet who lived in the 16th
century. In Camoes, Houwens Post recognized a twin soul; in 1942-1944 he
wrote a book about him. Before this, he translated the Centuries.
From a linguistic point of view, the Centuries fit to Houwens
Post's study of French and Portuguese. Old geographical names like
Pannonia, Illyria and Norica were also used in the Keltic era in which
he was so interested.
For the moment, the question if the translation of the Centuries into
Dutch was the initiative of Houwens Post or of somebody else, e.g.
Verhulst, can not be answered. It is certain that it was Houwens Post
who translated the Centuries into Dutch. Since further
information is not available, it is assumed on this website that Houwens
Post also wrote the introductory chapters (Levensschets and Inleiding
tot de Profetieën).
critics on national-socialist comments on the Centuries
Post did not comment the predictions in the Centuries. He did not
discuss the circumstances in 1940-41 of the Netherlands and/or Europe.
Post's critics on national-socialist comments on the Centuries
are not straight forward. He does not mention the titles of these
comments. During the literature study upon which this article is based,
it did not became clear which comments he read. His critics can be read
between the lines, for example, when he asks "Has it not always
been that people do not have the faintest idea about what future will
bring?" His answer is hidden in his comment on quatrain 01-47, a
quatrain which some Century-scholars have linked to the failure of the League
of Nations, founded in 1920:
it is generally accepted that Nostradamus had the League of Nations in
mind. One is advised to read the translation. Indeed, for us, people of
today, it is not such an effort to reach to this conclusion. But how
would an author, living in e.g. 1780, get the idea that after 1918, a
League of Nations would be founded, become settled in Geneva and would
fail in the way Nostradamus described? He does not mention a year and
the words "League of Nations" do not occur in this quatrain.
As for the quatrains which deal with the future, we deal with the same
problem. The year 3797 is extremely far away; who knows if by then people only shrug their shoulders for the airplane!
Post's answer means that talking things over afterwards is quite simple,
but that regarding the future, the explanation of the quatrains will
lead to nothing, because of the scarce hints. This was not only valid
in 1780 regarding 1920, it was also valid for his lifetime, 1940-41,
which means that this is also valid for the future, described in
national-socialist comments on the Centuries. His remark that in
3797 people would shrug their shoulders for the airplane, might be
related to the remark in Hoe zal deze oorlog eindigen?... that in
his visions, Nostradamus saw the Montgolfière (the air balloon), the
submarine and the heavy canons, used during World
War I, as well
as the zeppelin and the airplane.
In the chapter Inleiding tot de Profetieën, Houwens Post
discusses three groups of Century-scholars: a group of
scholars, to which
Piobb belongs, who base themselves upon mathematics and periods of
planetary revolutions; a group of scholars, to which De Fontbrune
belongs, who base themselves upon linguistics and symbolism, and a group
of scholars who base themselves upon the hypothesis of a Latin source
text of the quatrains. Piobb not only tries to analyze the quatrains by
means of mathematics, but also by means of deriving a Latin source text.
According to Houwens Post, the group of scholars who base themselves
upon linguistics and symbolism is on the right track. He writes that De
Fontbrune had the best result in elaborating the theories about
linguistics and symbolism. Still, Houwens Post argues that nobody
succeeded in realizing a perfect selection by which it could be determined
which quatrains were fulfilled already. He also concludes that people
always want to interpret towards their own ideas and that authors often
use the same quatrains, convinced as they are that these quatrains
contain elements which are present in their lifetime. He warns his
readers not to make the same mistake. By this, once again, between the
lines, he criticizes national-socialist comments on the Centuries.
Aupres du Rin des montaignes Noriques,
Naistra vn grand de gens trop tard venue:
Qui defendra Saurome & Pannoniques,
Qu'on ne sçaura qu'il sera deuenu.
Dicht bij de Rijn in de Norische bergen
Zal een groote geboren worden uit menschen, die te laat gekomen
Hij zal Saargebied en Pannonië verdedigen,
Zoodat men niet zal weten, wat er van hem zal zijn geworden.
In the 1941-Vreede-translation, there is a
remarkable translation mistake in quatrain 03-58. The source text of the
third line reads: qui defendra Saurome &
Pannonie (tr.: who will defend Sarmatia and Pannonia). According
to Winkler, Saurome is a name for the area between the Vistule and the
Wolga; according to Leoni, Saurome is an old name for Lithuania.
Pannonia is a former name for Hungary. In the 1941-Vreede-translation,
the word Saurome is translated in Saargebied (the Saar
After World War I, the Saar region, an area south-east of
Luxembourg, was governed by the League of Nations. In 1935, after a
referendum, it was given back to Germany.
Houwens Post translated the fourth line of quatrain 03-58 in Zoodat men niet zal weten, wat er van hem zal zijn
geworden (tr.: so that one will not know what will have happened to
It seems that Houwens Post, by his translation of the third and fourth
line of quatrain 03-58, wanted to make an allusion to the riseof
Hitler as well as to his inevitable fall.
De Meern, the
Netherlands, October 16, 2005
updated on July 9,
The titles, places and
year of issue of the mentioned authors are listed in the bibliography.
information about Servire publishers and its founder, mr. Verhulst,
was given by mr. F. Erkelens and mrs. M. Plettenburg, former
co-workers of Servire publishers, and Tony van Verre ontmoet
Carolus Verhulst - een radicale bruggenbouwer (Wassenaar, 1982). [text]
also: Information on prof. dr. mr. H.
Houwens Post alias mr. dr. W.L. Vreede. [text]
Nostradamus - De grootste ziener aller
tijden (J. Vandervoort, NL, 1998).
and 14; Van Berkel: The
Dutch 1941-Vreede-translation and the 1558-Lyon-edition. [text]
een profeet voor duistere tijden, in NRC Handelsblad,
February 19, 1982. [text]
(1939), p.38; Leoni,