Information on prof. dr. mr. Hendrik Houwens Post alias mr. dr. W.L. Vreede (1904-1986)
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie

H. Houwens Post
H. Houwens Post


In 1941, Servire publishers in The Hague, NL, published the first, complete, Dutch edition of the Centuries, entitled De profetieën van Nostradamus; on this website indicated with "the 1941-Vreede-translation". Its price at that time was f 2,90.
Dr. mr. Hendrik Houwens Post, the translator of the Centuries, used an alias, like other authors and translators whose publications were published by Servire: mr. dr. W.L. Vreede. The name Vreede means peace; it might have been chosen in connection with the war circumstances in 1941. 
Houwens Post was born on September 18, 1904 in Surakarta and died on September 1, 1986 in Utrecht, NL. His parents wanted him to have a European education. Therefore, he lived and studied in the Netherlands from 1911 to 1934. In March 1929, Houwens Post got his doctor's degree in Romanist (French, Italian and vulgar Latin). After this, he became a teacher in French language for some years. His Romanist thesis, entitled La société des nations de l'abbé de Saint-Pierre, was finished in 1932.
In January 1934, Houwens Post went to the Dutch East Indies, where he worked as a teacher in French language in Surabaya for more than a year. In October 1936, he returned to the Netherlands and studied Indian Law at the Utrecht University. In July 1940, he got his master's degree. 
Because of the war, Houwens Post could not return to the Dutch East Indies. From December 1940 to July 1956, he taught French and the Municipal Grammar School in Breda, NL. Next, until 1974, he was professor h.c. in Portuguese language and Portuguese / Brazilian literature at the Utrecht University. His interest in Portuguese dated from 1921; in 1938, he began to study Portuguese language and literature.[1]
In 1982, the Dutch journalist Adriaan van Dis wrote that the 1941-Vreede-translation was made as a reaction on pro-Hitler Nostradamus translations which circulated in Germany[2] Dr. Benjamin Nicolaas Teensma, lusitanist, who in 1987 wrote a biography about Houwens Post, did not mention this. On page 11 of the 1941-Vreede-translation, Houwens Post referred to a photocopy of the 1668-Amsterdam-edition of the Centuries which many people had acquired. On this website, this remark is interpreted as (a) a reference to the Netherlands and (b) an indirect allusion to the national-socialist brochure Hoe zal deze oorlog eindigen?, published in April 1940, in which it is said that the quotes from the Centuries originate from the photocopy of the 1668-Amsterdam-edition, made in Paris in 1938 by P.V. Piobb. In other words: the 1941-Vreede-translation might have been meant to be a reply to Hoe zal deze oorlog eindigen?.
Two remarks in Teenstra's biography can be connected to Houwens Post's motives to translate the Centuries. These remarks deal with experiences of Houwens Post in the paranormal field.
The first experience deals with Houwens Post's political ideas. When Houwens Post in the '30's visited the Borobodur in Yogjakarta, Boeddha ordered him in a vision to become an "Eurosattva", a prophet of Eurpeanism.[3] In connection with the translation of the Centuries as a reply to Hoe zal deze oorlog eindigen, it is possible that Houwens Post's ideas about Europe differed from the Europe, dominated by Hitler's Great-Germany.
The second remark deals with the possibility of reincarnation. During his first visit to Lisbon in 1939, Houwens Post came to the conclusion that in one of his previous lives he must have been a 16th century Portuguese citizen. In Lisbon, he recognized the churches and palaces which were built in the 16th century. The moment he arrived, he knew the way. It was not necessary for him to learn how to speak Portuguese; he only needed to "remember" it.[4] Perhaps Houwens Post connected the paranormal nature of the Centuries in one way or another to this experience.
The question is if the initiative to produce the 1941-Vreede-translation came from Houwens Post or from somebody else like Carolus Verhulst, the owner/director of NV Servire publishers in The Hague, NL, which company published the 1941-Vreede-translation. Unfortunately, this question can not be answered. 
Back in the forties, Houwens Post also wrote a number of philosophical and political books: 

  • Bergson, de philosophie der intuïtie (The Hague, 1940, philosophy)

  • Montesquieu en de westersche geest (The Hague, 1941, history of jurisprudence)

  • Democratie op kwalitatieve grondslag - Naar een nieuwe Nederlandsche staatsinrichting (The Hague, 1945, politics,together with ir. H.J. Kolkman and mr. dr. Johanna Clementina Hudig)


The 1941-Vreede-translation, discussed on this website 

The 1941-Vreede-translation (NL) and the 1558-Lyon-edition
The 1941-Vreede-translation (NL) and World War II
Nostradamus De grootste ziener aller tijden (J. Vandervoort, NL, 1998) 


De Meern, the Netherlands, October 2, 2006
T.W.M. van Berkel
updated on August 10, 2007


The titles, places and year of issue of the mentioned authors are listed in the bibliography.

  1. Facts about the career and interests of Houwens Post originate from the biography, written in 1987 by dr. B.N. Teensma. [text]

  2. Van Dis: Nostradamus - een profeet voor duistere tijden. In: NRC-Handelsblad, Rotterdam, February 19, 1982. [text]

  3. Teensma, p.2. [text]

  4. Teensma, p.3. [text]



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